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How a handshake can determine if you’re hiring a salesperson

David Staughton’s sales tips

David Staughton, a self-made millionaire responsible for major business turnarounds, spoke at the recent Travellers Choice Annual Shareholders’ Conference in Hobart, offering Travellers Choice members tips on how to do that thing we’re all supposed to be doing, but often forget or just get lazy and sort of skip over: sell, sell, sell.


Don’t be a premature price presenter

How often do you get a call asking a simple price question? According to David, if someone calls up with a simple question, don’t give a simple answer. In fact, you should take over the question by asking a few important ones of your own.


So, instead of blurting out a pat response, ask this: “Just before I answer that, do you mind if I ask you a few quick questions?”


Make love (first), not sales

Your eyes meet across a crowded nightclub dance floor. He sways towards you. You toss your hair seductively. As he leans in, he whispers, “Will you marry me?” Run. Run now.


Like love, in sales, David says, it’s best not to jump the gun. You will have more success if your client feels like they can trust you. Remember, the people most likely to buy from you are the ones that know you or have dealt with you in the past. For those just getting to know you, make love to them first. Not literally.


Be a doctor and diagnose

Thanks to the internet and WebMD we’re in a world where people self-diagnose. Got a sore arm? Is it cancer? Is it a weird rash? The internet will tell you. And when it comes to travel we are competing with the internet. But while your clients are asking Google where is the best place to eat in Rome, you can, using the right questions, not only tell them where is a good place to eat in Rome, but also why they need to hop a plane and eat at a fantastic restaurant in Lisbon. And why you should be the one to book it.


“The ultimate travel consultant is the one who can diagnose the perfect holiday,” says David.


Ask The Source question at the beginning of your conversation

“May I ask how you heard about us?”

You want to pick up referrals very quickly so you need to have this information as early as possible; never save this question for the end.


Use question softeners

“Do you mind if I ask..?”

“Is it okay if I ask..?”

“May I ask..?”

David says questions softeners like the above proves you are a gentle person – and when it comes to selling, gentle but assertive beats pushy.


Positivity sells (as does passion)

“Be a beacon of positivity, optimism and love,” says David. How you answer the phone can determine if you are this beacon. Answering your phone with an upward intonation makes you sound more approachable. Try this answering you phone like this:


“Thanks for calling XXXX. This is XXX.”


Do you want fries with that?

The easiest upsell is to sell the thing most related to the main product purchased. The travel industry’s fries are insurance.


Also ask clients where they’re planning to go next, or who else they might like to take with them on the holiday.


Point and nod is Jedi mind control

As part of the upsell, putting up a sign and simply pointing at it and nodding, according to David, will lead to a ten percent higher conversion rate.


After all that, do not be an information vendor. Ask for the order.


Tips for travel agents specifically

Baby boomers, those with health issues and the ‘do it for me’ crowd are good business. It also helps if you become an expert so that you are known as the go-to person in your area.


David also suggests helping people with bucket listing so that you can lock in future sales.


And how a handshake can determine you’re hiring a salesperson

David says that supposedly those who literally come out on top of a handshake make more sales. Try it at your next job interview.

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Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 3 December 2013

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