Creating dream trips around the world sounds like a dream job, right? And, it is, as long as you also are working with dream clients. In this episode, we are talking all about the unfortunate situation where you find yourself working with, or beginning to work with, someone who doesn’t jive with your business model.
Now, we recognize that everyone has a different idea of a target audience, so please note that these are our red flags and they may or may not be concerns of your own. However, we are going to discuss some behavioral patterns that could tip you off that the client/ advisor relationship may not be mutually beneficial.
Circumventing Your Process
We are really passionate about having an intake process, which starts with having a client inquiry form on the website. This applies to when people text, Facebook message, Instagram DM, or whatever there approach may be. We recommend having a canned response that directs the (potential) client to the inquiry form. By asking the client to complete the intake form, you are asking them to be responsible for a piece of the process. This sets the tone that the process will be both mutually beneficial and collaborative; it also reinforces that you are a professional service that has a defined process.
Questioning Fees = Doubting Value
When a potential client questions your fees, it could be a huge red flag. However, before you jump into a defensive stance, it’s important to do a little self-reflection and ask yourself (honestly) if you’ve done everything possible to articulate what value you bring to the table. If an individual has not worked with an advisor before, they may not understand the benefits of the relationship.
If you know that you’ve gone above and beyond, yet you find your fees are being questioned, it may be cause for concern. We’re giving people their time back, and the ability to outsource research and the management of the itinerary logistics. When someone questions the value in this opportunity to have peace of mind, it may be an indicator that they are going to continue to question the process. In addition, those who are willing to pay a planning fee tend to have a higher budget than those who will not. By requiring a fee, you are ensuring that the client sees you as someone who can enhance their travel planning process, while also positioning yourself to be working with clients that are willing to invest more in their experience.
Straight To Voicemail
We don’t prescribe to a phone call-based philosophy, which can feel very extreme. However, most of us don’t have a receptionist to triage our calls. Every request for a call can derail us from servicing our other clients or performing other business tasks.
If someone is asking for additional phone calls that fall outside of your planning inclusions, it may be a sign that the client expects to be prioritized over others. This can feel as though they are disrespecting your time, or indirectly disrespecting others by commandeering your time. We recommend clients to provide questions by email and ensuring that you are thoroughly answering their questions and concerns in a timely way. We recommend utilizing Loom so that the process still maintains a personal touch, without demanding too much of your time.
Break Out Pricing
Many newer clients may not understand how pricing is presented to advisors. While some advisors do provide broken-out quotes, most provide bundled rates. The way that we approach this is by saying “I know that this may not be the traditional way that you see pricing, but it is the way that advisors are provided with rates since these packages are based on contracted and negotiated prices with their partners. We aren’t privy to the specifics as that’s like a confidential contract to protect their position with their suppliers.”
This states that you understand that this is not something they may be comfortable with typically, but it is for the benefit of our partners and our clients that we work this way. Ultimately, what you really want people to understand is these are negotiated rates and that there are legal limitations to what you may be able to share.
Doin’ It For The ‘Gram
Have you ever had a client come to you and request to visit the most Instagrammable spots? We have! In fact, the type of clients that tend to ask for the most photogenic places also tend to crowdsource their ideas on social media. Not only have we run into clients that will post asking about hotels, dining, and city recommendations, but they are getting ideas that may have nothing to do with their specific tastes, wants, and needs for their trip. In my mind. If they’re going to go and ask their second sister-in-law/ twice removed about their Italy trip, it means that they’re not trusting the person that they’re paying (YOU). This is another situation where you’ll need to either “bless and release” the client since they sound like a classic DIY’er or change their tune by showcasing your knowledge and how you are going to match them to the perfect trip better than their random Facebook friend ever could.
Alright, your turn! What are your client red flags? Did we hit on them? Share yours in the comments below!