3 Tried and True ways to connect with clients

3 Tried-and-True Ways to Connect with Clients

By: Sandy Saburn

Recently, I have focused on money and how to make more of it in your travel business. While all those strategies are sure to work, there is one key thing you must have to use any of them: clients.

Client attraction is a big hurdle for many travel entrepreneurs. Today I want to share 3 ways to connect with clients and potential clients that have worked for travel entrepreneurs for years. They are a bit old-school, but they have endured because they are effective.

But first, I need to ask you to do something: step outside your comfort zone. For many of you, these are going to be different than what you normally do. I’m asking you to try something new. Venture out a bit and see what happens. These are exactly what many of you – and your clients – need right now.

Why do I think these ideas will work really well for you right now? First, they tap into what we are all really craving right now: connection with others. And equally important: very few people are doing these things, so it helps you stand out.

Here are my three suggestions:

  • Make a phone call
  • Write a note
  • Drop off a gift

Not too revolutionary, right?

These ways of connecting with clients have been around for a long time, but they are old-school methods that still work. They aren’t pushy or about selling something. They are all about connecting. Let’s dig into each a little and I’ll give you some thoughts on how to make the most of each.

Make a Phone Call

Sometimes I think we forget these amazing devices we carry around with us can be used to make a call. It almost seems a waste of all their wizardry! But it is one of the most powerful things you can do to connect with an existing client or a prospective client. You are not calling to try to sell anything. Your purpose is to connect in a different way and to remind them you are available when they need you.

You have probably been in communication with many of your clients who have future travel credits. If you have been in touch with them on a regular basis, you can leave them off this list. (Quick word of caution here: there are a lot of online travel agencies trying to book those future travel credits for your clients and are offering them amazing rebates and discounts. They know about these credits because of lists they bought from credit card companies. Don’t be out of touch with clients too long or you could lose that business.)

So, who do you call? I’d start with everyone who has booked with you in the past who doesn’t have a future travel credit or that you haven’t been in touch with in the past 3 months. When I say “in touch” I mean connected one-on-one with. Not that they are on your email list or liked a social media post. If you haven’t “chatted” with them in one form or another over the past 3 months, put them on the list.

But before you start calling, be clear about what you are going to say. You may find it helpful to have notes or even write it out. For some of you, this is as natural as breathing, but for others, a bit of preparation will make all the difference.

The reality is that you will probably end up leaving a voicemail for most of the people you talk to, so write that out. Here’s what I would probably say:

Hello, Melissa! It’s Sandy Saburn with Gifted Travel Network. I’m calling to say hello! I hope you and your family have made it through the past few months without any issues. If you’re like me, you are ready to get back to normal and enjoy the summer. If I can assist you with any travel plans, just let me know. You can reach me at 704-585-7732 or sandy@giftedtravelnetwork.com. I look forward to hearing from you again.

A few notes about leaving voicemail. First, don’t sound like you are reading a script. Try to sound as natural as possible, and make sure you have an upbeat tone. Your tone conveys 80% of the meaning in a message – far more than what you actually say. If you can, include information specific to the caller like names of spouse or kids, or even the destination they were hoping to travel to this year. Next, don’t speak too quickly because it makes you harder to understand. Finally, don’t start with your name, but start with theirs. Two reasons for this: first people love to hear their own name (really, it’s true); and second, saying your name a few seconds into the call increases the likelihood they will hear it. People don’t usually really pay attention until 2 or 3 seconds into the message.

The most important thing about calling is to show genuine interest in the other person. Remember that people do business with people they like. If you come across as likable then you will be halfway there!

See, that wasn’t so hard! You can breathe a sigh of relief because the next tip doesn’t involve the phone.

Write a Note

Getting a note in the mail instead of a bill or advertising you didn’t want, is a treat for many people. It is so unusual, and people really respond to it. It is often the first thing they open because they are so intrigued. And handwritten (yes, you have to handwrite it) notes are so personal. Yes, there are services like Send out cards that you use as a substitute, but it isn’t the same.

You don’t have to write a letter. You don’t even have to use notecards. I love buying lots of postcards when I travel for this very reason. It doesn’t matter where the postcard is from, it is so unusual sitting in the mailbox that will get their attention.

The purpose is the same as the phone call: touch base and remind them you are ready to serve.

Drop Off a Gift

This really works best for your local clients. If you serve a local market – and especially if you work with a lot of your neighbors – this is a great way to stand out. Stop by your local farmer’s market and pick up a flat of blueberries or strawberries or some other in-season produce and leave a basket for a neighbor with a little note (not just your business card). You are sure to win points with that!

So, I pulled out all the old-school ideas today, didn’t I? It’s because they work. It’s like fashion – the classics never go out of style. You don’t have to try all three but try one or two and see how they work for you. The idea is to reach out and show your clients you are thinking about them and that you are still here ready to serve!