The travel sector, ever since I’ve worked in or been associated with it, is an arena where success comes through relationships, conversation and connection. It’s because of this that businesses in the travel sector are well placed to both embrace and maximize the concept of ‘social selling.’
It seems what may prevent this is, potentially, a misnomer of what ‘social selling’ really is. You can’t avoid it and simultaneously it doesn’t’ mean turning purely to an over reliance on digital. In consulting with several successful travel businesses facing the challenge of a changing landscape, 3 common themes I’ve seen that help them transform are:
- Acceptance that ‘social’ and digital is now a part of the landscape
- Having an actual digital ‘strategy’, or road map, rather than just winging it
- Making sure your ‘social’ strategy blends and integrates with existing strengths and an end to end sales process – online to offline
There are 2 sides to ensuring your social selling strategy will be effective. First I’ll share 5 pillars my own digital collaborators, ‘Digital Eagles’, use as their bible.
- Be Found– Bolster your presence in places your audience/market are to be found. In the same way grandparents or kindergarten kids aren’t best candidates for a Contiki tour, target audiences within platforms that are your tribe.
- Be Chosen– Identify the unique qualities of your product, service or brand? Or what problems do you help people solve? Then ask yourself honestly: is it clear? What would others perceive? Social isn’t a ‘product’ push. It’s a platform for storytelling and engagement to get your tribe into conversation. Get great reviews from others to help you be chosen.
- Be Contacted– The best presence in the world becomes less relevant if there’s confusion or friction in being contacted once the intrigue kicks in. Are your calls to action clear? Iron out a smooth process for both initial contact and follow up.
- Conversion– The best social strategy falls apart if the skills and real world presence in your businesses aren’t in place or aligned.
- Track And Measure – You wouldn’t throw money away to relive the same terrible holiday time and time again. Make sure you can measure what’s working and what isn’t. Where are the dollars, percentages, numbers or time improvements coming from? If they’re not, rethink and rework the strategy.
The second side of your ‘social selling’ strategy has nothing to do with digital and everything to do with you.
- Expand & Leverage Your Networks– Who doesn’t love a great networking event (this is travel we’re talking about!) Keep doing that and be on your A game when doing so. Treat new contacts the way you’d treat a great first date: find common ground and values, be genuinely interested in them (don’t just talk about yourself) and forget trying to score after one glass of champagne, endeavoring to land a sale!
- Be Memorable – Work on your personal presence, personal brand and potentially your presentation skills. Create enough intrigue that would make someone want to speak with you again.
- Personable Responsiveness – When you do reconnect, show you were listening first time round. Personalise the experience or follow through. Be your word or be accountable where you fall short.
- Procure Partnerships – Continually up skill yourself, or your people. Have a thought out sales process that is based on value, not victory, in the sale. Lead with value. Tailor and bespoke value. Close with value. Then add value outside of the expected. Treat every contact as a potential long-term partnership, even if there may be gaps in such contacts.
- Growth Mindset– Breaking fixed mindsets, being adaptable and open to change is a lifelong skill that is a part of transforming your personal approach and business processes.
In closing I’d say this: think about your digital presence the way you would that perfect destination you would revisit time and time again. Your digital presence is the equivalent of the perfectly located hotel people want to visit, socialize and play in, yet ultimately, there is still the real world experience of the surrounding city, that being your business, that ultimately delivers the total experience.