One of the most positive, freeing, and considerate words in the English language is “no.” And yes, you read that correctly! Learning to say no is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your business. Saying “yes” to the wrong clients takes an emotional and financial toll, while saying “no” frees your time so you can focus on more enjoyable and profitable business.
Highly productive and successful travel advisors cite “busy burnout” as the most challenging and frustrating part of their business. Having “too much business,” is a problem many travel advisors would love to have, until they find themselves covered under mountains of tedium from the “wrong kind of business.”
So, as you prepare for the New Year, take time to master your gracious no and avoid dealing with clients that just aren’t the right fit for your business.
Build Your “YES” Checklist
Create a list of traits, qualities, trip types, and destinations that ignite your passion. Before accepting any new client or trip request, consult your check list. If you check the majority of the boxes on your list, you are ready to do what you do best – develop and design unforgettable travel experiences. If not, it’s time to bring out your “gracious no.” Before we dive into “no,” let’s take a look at what your “YES Checklist” might look like.
- I am looking forward to working with this client and anticipate a positive experience
- This client values my service and respects my fee structure
- This trip type (eg: adventure, sustainable, multi-gen) is one of my specialties
- I enjoy developing and designing trips in this destination
- I have strong relationships with trusted partners I can rely on for this trip
- I anticipate that I will be compensated equitably for the amount of time I spend on this trip
Build Your “NO”
Luxury Travel Advisors are entrepreneurs, do-ers, and people pleasers. “No,” doesn’t typically come naturally. It may help to look at the anatomy of a “no.” Each “no” you deliver should come with 4 parts.
1. Say “thank you,” and mean it. Travelers have thousands of ways to plan and book their travel, and they have chosen you. That is an honor and deserves a sincere acknowledgment of gratitude.
2. Deliver the no. Beating around the bush, or saving the “no” to the very end of the conversation will surprise the client, and not in a good way. Rip off the band-aid in the beginning of the conversation.
3. Redirect with a solution. Offer an alternative for the client’s needs. You could refer them to a colleague or point them to other booking or information resources.
4. Offer well wishes. You want every traveler to have a great experience whether you act as their travel advisor or not.
Do you know what is NOT part of the anatomy of a “gracious no?” I’m sorry. Keep in mind that you have committed no crimes, misdemeanors, or even social faux pas! Instead, leave it with something positive like, “Thank you for your time.”
4-Part Gracious NO Scripts
Having a formula for “no” makes it much easier to deliver. And remember, practice makes perfect. Write out your scripts and practice with a friend.
Sample 1: “1. Thank you so much for reaching out. It is great to hear from you. 2. I can’t take this family trip to Las Vegas right now because I don’t have the resources to add the value you are looking for. 3. For this particular trip, OTAName, is probably your best bet. 4. I know you guys are going to have a great time. Enjoy it!”
Sample 2: “1. I am honored you would like to work with me; thank you for getting in touch. 2. No, I am afraid I am not the right advisor to help you plan a cruise. Cruises are very specialized, and I am just not up to speed on the options. My expertise is really in vacations on land. 3. I would love to recommend my colleague, he is a cruise guru. 4. Enjoy working with my colleague and bon voyage!”