At the heart of Chappelle’s series was the notion that travel advisors need to be laser-focused on selling, not marketing. He asserted that in the travel industry lexicon, marketing has become confused with selling.
He did not mince words: “I want to be crystal clear…the travel agency is the commissioned sales force of the travel and tourism industries. Not the commissioned marketing force; the commissioned sales force. You can spend as much as you want on marketing but you’re not going to get paid unless somebody buys something.”
During an in-depth Q&A with Chappelle, one KNOT member asked how she might recognize whether she’s spending too much time marketing. Here is what Chappelle said.
KNOT member-submitted question:
“How can I identify if I’m in "the wrong business?” In other words, how do I know if I have been spending too much time marketing instead of selling? Is there a line in the sand I can pay attention to – to make sure I don’t cross it?”
Answer: “If you’re in sales, marketing shouldn’t be doing all the work for you.”
According to Chappelle, the answer to that question is simple. “Are you relying on your marketing to do your selling for you? If that's the case, then you can identify what [doesn’t work] right away.”
He explained further: “If you're putting out Facebook ads, advertising in your local market and [engaging in] e-mail advertising, and expecting someone to react and book from that, well, that's not working.”
He then suggested advisors examine how frequently (or infrequently) they perform prospecting activities.
“I think most people aren't spending any amount of time prospecting in their business,” he said. “…Prospecting is a function of selling. It’s a good indication that you’re in the marketing business versus a sales business [if you’re not prospecting.]”
Chappelle prescribed an hour each morning dedicated to prospecting and “calling 10 people on your prospect list.”
“And when I say call, if you've got their phone number, call them,” he emphasized. “Don't text asking to call. Try not to e-mail because people tend to ignore e-mail, but they tend not to ignore [a telephone call or voicemail]."
ROI RULE OF THUMB
Chappelle said when it comes to marketing, he follows a simple rule of thumb. His return on investment (ROI) needs to yield three times the marketing budget.
“If you're only putting 10 bucks into it [and earning] 30 bucks, that's no big deal. But if you're spending $1,000, you need to expect a $3,000 return – at least – on that type of investment,” he clarified.
What’s the rationale behind a three times factor?
“Three times [the ROI] is kind of a break-even because you've spent the money. But think about the time you put into that as well, whether it's sitting on social media or using Adprep,” said Chapelle. “If marketing is not your game, if it's not what you're trained in, it's a lot of money and it's a lot of time to invest in it.”
Ultimately, Chappelle noted, it’s all about what delivers the greatest return. Is it your marketing or your sales efforts?
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