As a travel advisor you know how important it is to stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry. Do you also share that information with clients? It’s a great tool for your newsletter (you do that, right?) that goes out to clients. You can educate them about the latest greatest cruise ship that is coming out, exciting developments at your favorite destinations, or changes to the Real ID rules. That’s all important, but it isn’t the only type of education you need to do with clients.

How often do you have a client who reaches out to you and seems to know exactly what they want? Do you ask them questions to make sure what they think they want is really what they want? Asking questions doesn’t have to come across as doubting their choices. Saying to a client, “That’s a wonderful cruise line! Have you sailed with them before?” is simply clarifying. If they tell you that they chose it because their neighbor just sailed with them and loved it, you know you need to do some further questioning to make sure it is a good fit for them like it was for their neighbor.

Another time when it is important to ask questions if the client comes to you asking for a product you either don’t sell or isn’t one of your preferred vendors. If a client comes to you looking for a resort they say advertised on TV, what they are really saying is that this is the experience they want, not really that vendor. You are the expert after all! They are coming to you for your guidance and expertise – not just because they need someone to book something.

How do you have this conversation? Start by asking good questions of the client to find out more about what they want from their vacation. If you have a product that you think is a better fit than what they initially asked for, you will have the information that they need. They may end up choosing the product they initially came for, but they will appreciate the fact that you

Of course, this is one of those times where effective listening is of critical importance. You have to pick up on the vibe you are getting from the clients. Are they appreciative of the questions you are asking and eager to answer them? Are they not understanding why you are asking questions or hesitant to answer? Then don’t move forward. You never what to make the client feel uncomfortable. Most clients will be appreciative of the attention and feedback.

The result of all this is that you will have happier clients because you will better understand what they want and can match them with the best products. A happy side effect is that your sales with your preferred partners will increase as well. Truly a win-win.