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The 5 Objection ‘Types’ Your Travel Agents Must Be Ready to Handle

“Money objections are almost never about money…”

Selling travel services is a beautiful thing.

Not only do people want what you’re selling, in most cases, they’ve already decided they’re going to buy and are anxious to book their trips!

Given this, selling travel services should be a slam dunk. In reality, however, that’s not the case.

In fact, while your agency’s numbers might be different, the law of 80/20 says 20% of your agents drive 80% of your company’s revenue.

Which raises an interesting question:

Given your prospects have already decided they’re going to spend money on a trip – and are open to working with an agency (otherwise they wouldn’t be talking to one of your agents) – why do so many deals fall through the cracks?

Don’t Blame the Usual Suspects

On the surface, it’s easy to blame the usual suspects:

  • The prospect found a better rate with one of your competitors
  • They couldn’t justify spending the extra money on an agency
  • They’re dreaming / can’t even afford to camp in their backyard

In reality, however, money issues are almost never about money.

In fact, as you’ll see below, money objections are the “Go-To” excuse when your prospects are afraid to tell you the REAL reasons they’re scared to move forward.

Which means, by understanding their deeper hesitations, your agents will be much better equipped to close the deal.

The 5 Categories of Objections

As I learned from a very savvy mentor, there are only five categories of objections on the planet. Those categories are as follows:

Time, Identity, Money, Effort, and Reputation.

Let’s break them down one-by-one.

Time-Related Objections

As you might expect, time-related objections have to do with how much time your prospect can save by hiring your company.

Given “saving time” is one of the most common motivations for hiring a travel agency, it’s unlikely your prospects think they’ll save time by handling things on their own.

With that said, travelers with smaller budgets are definitely weighing your fee against how much time it will take them to book the trip solo. Meaning, your agents need to be ready to show them just how much time they’ll save by working with you.

Identity-Related Objections

The identity level is where selling starts to get complicated. The easiest way to understand identity-level objections is to consider how your prospects see themselves.

As an example, imagine two multi-millionaires. And let’s say both need to book a one-week vacation for their family of nine.

On the one hand, millionaire #1 identifies as a lavish spender. Nice car, nice house, etc. For someone like this, it’s unlikely they’d ever book a trip themselves. Why?

Because for someone who identifies as a big spender, doing so would be beneath them. In fact, to maintain their big spender identity, they’ll probably hire the first agency they speak to regardless of how much it’ll cost them.

The Tight Wad Millionaire

On the flip side, imagine multi-millionaire #2 identifies as a spend-thrift. They earned their millions as a result of their tight-fisted money management, and refuse to waste one red cent.

In this case, every dollar your agency charges in fees will be weighed against the cost of them doing this themselves. And you can bet your bottom they’re talking with competitors to find the best deal.

Meaning, despite the fact both of these people have more than enough money to afford your fees, the “objections” each of these people might have are completely different.

Money-Related Objections

Unlike other industries, most inbound leads in the retail travel world have already decided they’re going to buy. But more importantly, they’ve admitted they’re open to working with a travel agency (otherwise they wouldn’t be talking to your agent).

Meaning, unless their expectations regarding your fees are unreasonable, odds are they’ve built some extra into their budget for hiring an agency.

Because of this, it’s unlikely money objections are the “real” reason a traveler would hesitate to move forward.

But because the topic of money is so awkward for most people, and because shaming people for not having enough money isn’t acceptable sales behavior, your prospects know they can squirm out of most any interaction by playing the Money card.

Don’t let your agents fall for this.

While I’m in no way saying they should shame anyone for not having the budget to hire your company, odds are your prospect’s real objection falls into one of these other four categories.

Effort-Related Objections

Often confused with time, effort-related objections are about how much work and energy your prospects will have to put in if they hire you.

Fortunately for travel agencies, avoiding all that hassle is probably the #1 reason your prospects are even considering hiring your company.

But just like time, travelers with smaller budgets are weighing your fees against just how much hassle it would be for them to handle everything on their own.

Meaning, your agents will need to drive home the (mind-numbing) effort involved in making all those calls, filling out all those forms, getting everyone’s passport info, etc.

Reputation-Related Objections

Unlike identity-related objections, which have to do with how we see ourselves, reputation objections are about how other people see us.

In particular, our family, friends, and colleagues. Meaning, if someone hires your company and their trip goes to hell, guess who’s getting blamed for hiring “that good for nothing travel agency”?

Because of this, it’s critical your agents communicate an air of trust and responsibility. More important, they absolutely must drive home the fact they’re available to help should anything go wrong – including being available on weekends.

In addition, testimonials, satisfaction rates, and other “social proof” elements can help put your prospect’s pre-booking jitters to rest.

Conclusion

As you can see here, there are only five overarching reasons a qualified traveler would ever say to “No” to hiring your agency:

  • They don’t think your fee is worth the time they’d save relative to doing things on their own
  • Their identity doesn’t match your company’s pitch (money savings, no hassles, etc.)
  • They truly can’t afford your fee / don’t see how working with you will save them money
  • They don’t believe your fee is worth the hassles they’d avoid by hiring you
  • Or they’re afraid of what their spouse / kids / colleagues will say if the trip goes to hell in a handbasket and no one from your company takes responsibility

As you can see here, money-related objections are by far the least problematic. Compared to the other four categories, the emotional pull of saving a bit by doing things on their own is negligible.

On the flip side, people go to great lengths to protect their identity and reputation.

And considering studies have proven us humans prefer the path of least resistance, it’s unlikely your prospects believe they’re better off booking their trip on their own.

So while your prospects may play the Money card out of convenience – and because they know it works – don’t let your agents fall for it.

Because in most cases, there’s something deeper holding them back. And by identifying the real problem – and overcoming it – your sales staff is much more likely to close the deal.