You’re in your moment; you have a prospect in front of you who seems eager to book. You’ve determined, through questioning, that the product you’re about to offer is the perfect fit for them. Now, it’s time to present.
This is the first major opportunity in the sales process to lose the sale.
What makes this moment so critical is that it’s the culmination of everything you’ve done thus far; all of the questions you’ve asked and
all of the information on the prospect you’ve gathered. If you present your client with something completely out of line from what they’re looking for, they’ll feel they’ve wasted their time, or worse, that you didn’t listen to them; no matter what you offer after that, they’ll have already checked out.
We’ve all spoken to sales people who start showing or pitching us things that we’ve already said we don’t want or even like. I know nothing gets on my nerves faster than feeling like I’m not being listened to by a salesperson, and book- ing travel is no different. In fact, because of the intensely personal experience of travel, I’d argue that if you miss on the presentation, the odds of being able to redeem yourself to that prospect are dramatically lower than in the case of other products and services.
So how do you go about making sure you don’t miss the mark? Address each one of the things they need and want using Features, Advantages and Benefits (FABs). Let’s break down each one using the example of a resort property:
This is the item or service that you’re going to present. Think of the lists you see in brochures – number of restaurants, room categories, kid’s clubs, butler services, snorkelling, transports, etc.
The advantage is what that item or service does – pretty basic stuff. An ocean view room, for example, gives you a view of the ocean. Transport services will get your client to and from the airport. A kid’s club may have nanny services, and snorkelling availability will, well, allow your clients to experience snorkelling.
Brochures often offer a list of features and services with a brief description. Many travel professionals will mimic this approach and simply list off features of a property to their prospect; aiming to impress them with the array of options and activities that will be available to them. But in doing this, you’re missing the most important step.
Now we’ve arrived at the real gold of the FAB method; this is where you’ll show a prospect that they’ve made a good decision in choosing you.The benefit is why each feature matters to your client, which should respond to something they’ve mentioned they either need or want. I like to think of it as the “so what?”
The kid’s club has a nanny service. So what? Well, your client told you they want a vacation where they could enjoy time with the kids but also have time alone; nanny service ensures they can leave the kids, knowing they are being well cared for.
Snorkelling is available to clients right there on the property. So what? They said they wanted to go somewhere and not have to worry about leaving the resort for activities so with this option, they don’t have to book with an outside company or deal with arranging transportation elsewhere for unique experiences.
An ocean view room gives them a view of the ocean. So what? They said that they wanted to be surrounded by breathtaking scenery, so they’ll wake up every morning to the sunrise over the ocean.
See what we’re doing here? Bottom line: a list of features means nothing to your prospect. Explain- ing how those features are going to help them make their dream trip a reality is the true power.
Always bear in mind, the prospect in front of you has been inspired in some way to travel – maybe through a picture, a book, a travel story, a historical event.
Whatever it is, they’re saving money, booking time off work and have an idea in mind of the experience they want to have. You need to figure out what that experience looks like to them before you propose anything. Trying to sell a product or tour before truly knowing what they want will usually result in a lost opportunity.
How can you stay ahead? Start by making a list. Think of the products and suppliers that you sell most often – or some that you’d like to sell more of. Write down the features that are most interesting or that you find your clients are often looking for, and then answer the so what?
If there’s something that you’re unsure of, reach out to appropriate sales managers and ask them to explain the value of various elements — the “so what?” Then keep those things in mind for when you’re presenting to a prospect.
One last thing to remember, which can’t be stressed enough: make sure you tailor
the positioning of the benefit to what your prospect is looking for. Say the resort has 15 pools (feature). This gives them plenty of choice (advantage). Delivering the benefit by saying, “So you can spend each day at a different one” sounds very different than saying, “So you can have the big resort amenities in the evening while spending your days relaxing in a quieter and secluded area, which is what you’re looking for.” See the difference? This is the same feature and same advantage but positioned in two different ways; the first would work for someone wanting variety and excitement, the second for someone wanting quiet and relaxation during the day.
Use this method when speaking to your clients and prospects, and watch your close rate climb and your client satisfaction increase.
Because, after all, you’re a travel professional, offering professional advice and booking services, so your clients can make all their travel dreams a reality. Happy selling!