We provide a lot of content and training at Gifted Travel Network, but one of my favorite webinars is all about numbers – and I am NOT a numbers person. WHAT? It’s true. It is because our COO, Jen Cochrane, breaks down the numbers in such a straightforward way and shows you how to make significant improvement in your bottom line by focusing on 7 key areas.
One of these areas is your closure rate, that is the number of people you have a conversation with that actually book with you. The example Jen uses in her training is an agent with an average sale of $4,000 (to get this number divide your total amount of sales by your total number of bookings), and a closure rate of 45% (meaning she booked 45% of the 230 people she provided quotes to). This fictional agent had booked 104 bookings at an average of $4,000 leading to sales of $416,000. Not too shabby, but it can be better. If you increase that closure rate to 55%, you will end up with 127 bookings. Keeping everything else the same your sales increase to $508,000. That’s an increase of $92,000! You didn’t spend one penny – you just made more money! So, how can you do this? Here are 3 ways
First, focus on and improve your client communication process. Specifically, make sure these prospective clients get to know you and why they should book with you. Don’t just jump right into providing quotes. Ask questions. Why did they pick this destination? What are their hopes for this vacation? You aren’t second-guessing their choices but learning more about what’s important to them. If they are celebrating a milestone you need to know that. If they are foodies who want to sample local cuisine, that all-inclusive they picked because their friends enjoyed it may not really be a good fit. Don’t hesitate to provide input. That’s why you go to a professional! If people get to know you and the expertise you offer they are much more likely to do business with you
.The second way to improve your closure rate is to improve your follow up. To be effective in that you need to understand the client’s timeline. Ask your client, “How soon do you want to get this trip booked?” That’s a VERY important question. If they want to get everything decided on and booked within the next week, that’s a different follow up plan than if they are looking at booking a month from now.
I know you don’t want to be a pest or feel like a pushy salesperson but following up is critical! Look at it from the other side: If you don’t follow up, the client thinks you aren’t interested in working with them. They don’t want to harass you either! So, keep the responsibility of follow up on you. Set that first follow up based on what you agreed on when you last spoke with them. Do they want 24 hours to talk about this? Great! Add it to your calendar and follow up then. That is the first of your 7 (yes, 7!) follow up steps. Put each of these 7 follow ups on your calendar so you get a reminder and follow up! Hopefully they will book before you get to 7 and you can cancel those other reminders!
Finally, the last way to improve your closure rate is to use effective closure tactics. You CAN do that without being pushy or obnoxious! One of the easiest ways is to just ask for the sale. Ask, “Are you ready to book this great vacation?” After you say this, STOP TALKING. Let them respond. I have seen so many agents pose that question and then fill the space with chatter because they are uncomfortable. Let the clients answer. If you did a great job connecting with them and demonstrating your skill, you will be far more likely to succeed here. But if they have questions or raise objections, listen and answer!
Another way to do this is to ask, “What credit card do you want to use for the deposit?” You can also put a complimentary hold on the trip with vendor and tell the client that after that expires (typically within 24-48 hours) the pricing can change (or the cabin might be gone, etc.). These aren’t lies, we all know that happens every day! How often have you had a client pick out the perfect room category or stateroom on a cruise and call back a week later and it’s sold out? Share that story if it feels appropriate to do so.
The point is to ask for the sale. Come up with what feels right to you but do something proactive to close the sale. And keep in mind, if you institute professional fees you change this dynamic completely. Because once they have paid the fee they will book with you 95% (or more) of the time. But that’s another article!
Recognize that no matter what you do you will probably never have 100% closure rate. It just doesn’t happen. But even a small improvement in your conversion rate makes a big difference. In this example just going from 45% to 55% increased revenue by $92,000. That’s worth paying attention to!