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Saying ‘No’ Can Fuel Business Growth

By Toni McClelland, Director of Hosting Development

A couple of years into building my travel business, I hit the point where demand for trips exceeded my capacity, but not in the way I had expected. It wasn’t the high-end luxury trips that took most of my time but the smaller, less lucrative ones. I realized I was allowing myself to be weighed down by clients who ran me in circles and needed a lot of phone time for unproductive conversations. It was not until I said no to this type of client that my business took off.

As a new entrepreneur or a businessperson working to grow their client base, one of the biggest mistakes a travel advisor can make is saying yes to anyone who wants to hire them. Understanding and identifying who your target clientele is crucial, and just as important, as being able to recognize potential customers who are not your ideal buyer.

Travel advisor’s greatest resource is their time and time equates to money. This important commodity should be spent on prospective clients who match the consumer base you are working to grow. As travel continues to ramp up, remember the wrong clients will consume a fair amount of your energy and hold you back from accelerating your business towards positive growth.

When to say YES!

  • The trip is within your minimum budget.
  • The trip fits within your expertise or specialty.
  • You expect this client will come back to you for other trips and will refer you.
  • You know you will meet or exceed the client’s expectations.
  • They have reasonable expectations of your time.

When to say NO!

  • Clients and/or trips that don’t meet your minimum budget or revenue.
  • The client’s expectations are unreasonable.
  • Trips that will be very time-consuming and are on the low end of your acceptable budget.
  • They care more about price than value.
  • Trips that are out of your wheelhouse.

Look Out for Red Flags!

  • The client is showing a lack of trust in your expertise or your process.
  • They require more handholding than most of your other clients.
  • The client wants to micromanage every step of the way.
  • They procrastinate, don’t respond to you in a timely manner, or resist taking action when it’s imperative that they do so such as paying for a deposit.

When there are signs that point in the direction that a potential customer will consume valuable resources know a portion of a travel entrepreneur’s success will depend on them saying no.