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    12 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2009 3:48 PM by Iwrite

    Does anyone here travel on business?

    dcmarik Wayfarer
      Perhaps I have been approaching this from the wrong angle (see post "How do we get through to Sales Managers).

      We offer corporate business travelers a new concept in travel support service that can reduce the cost of a typical business trip by 20% to 40% without reducing the quality of the hotels, car or flights.

      Given the present state of the economy it would seem that this is something that most companies that need to travel on business would be eager to learn about. Yet when approached by phone or e-mail our success rate in attracting new clients is almost zero.

      Contrast that with the fact that when an existing client recommends us to someone they invariably join and our client retention rate is 100%. I can understand that personal referrals will be a stronger source for new business than cold call solicitations, but I can't comprehend the total lack of success in getting through to prospective clients with an offer that will save them so much money.

      Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get our message through to decision makers at small to medium size companies?

      Don Marikovics
      myinhousetravel.com
        • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
          DomainDiva Ranger
          Have you ever thought about attending trade shows? You could set up a booth, make some brochures (use IWrite, wink), take names and information and then start the calls after the trade shows. That way you can be assured that the people you are contacting are really interested. It is important to present your message, IWrite will help you do that.

          Perhaps the reason cold calling is not working is because these days ther are so many internet travel sites that are hard to deal with and its just easier in some cases to use a travel agent or aa.com, or whatever frequent flyer program they use.

          I travel a lot and it looks like 2009 is going to be really busy as well.....
            • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
              dcmarik Wayfarer
              Re: Trade Shows. Living in NYC I have taken several opportunities to attend various trade shows at Javits Center. I have met with and discussed the travel needs of those attending the shows (taking a booth would be counter productive on two levels. First, it is extremely expensive amd second, the visitors are largely from NY while the exhibitors are the ones who travel) but literally hundreds of meetings have resulted in only one small client.

              Re: Travel agents and internet travel sites. This comment (and don't misunderstand me, I do appreciate your feedback) is indicative of what I am up against. You see, you have categorized our service as being one and the same with these other services when in fact we are completely different and totally unique. No other service or internet site offers business travelers the personal service that a travel agent offers together with the deep discounted rates that are available on the internet. If you take a minute to look at our web site you will see that no other company does what we do and offers business travelers the 20% to 40% savings (over typical travel agent rates) that we do. www.myinhousetravel.com

              You say that you travel on business a lot. If you could lower your travel budget by 30% why would you not want to take advantage of the chance to do so?

              By the way, I visited the local SCORE office this morning. Very disappointing. After explaining our concept and problems for 45 minutes the only thing the counselor could come up with was... "Maybe you need to change the name of your company". When I asked what he thought we should change it to he said he had no idea.

              Anyway, thanks for your on-going interest and attempts to assist us.
              • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                dcmarik Wayfarer
                Dear Diva,

                Thanks for your insights last year. The new year begins exactly where the old one left off. Another "failure to communicate". I tried advertising on Facebook targeted at individuals profiled as business travelers, corporate travel, etc. Got almost 400,000 impressions, 28 click throughs and zero new clients.

                Allow me to role play with you for a minute. Perhaps the answers will reveal some insight as to why our marketing message is not getting through to our potential client base.

                Let me ask you this: You say that you travel extensively on business. Have you reviewed our web site yet? http://www.myinhousetravel.com* If you have, and if you travel on business, what reason do you have (as a business traveler) for not being interested in contacting us to learn more about our service? Why would you not find the prospect of reducing your business travel costs by up to 40% appealing?
                Maybe if I understand why our messge is not resonating with you, I will understand why it is falling flat with others.

                thanks,
                Don
                  • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                    Iwrite Pioneer
                    Don,

                    I don't travel as much as I used too, but I hope as I grow my agency I get back to traveling a lot more. I prefer meeting and presenting work in person. I said that to say this: "Maybe it is not the method of delivering the message as much as it is the structure of the message?"

                    Hear me out. I go to your website and I see your message, and instantly I thought, "isn't this what American Express does for me?" I may be wrong, but think about the position the reader is in now. He or she doesn't understand how what you do is any different from what they are used to. I am not saying that is the reality. I am saying that is the perception. And that is as good as being the reality.

                    Everyone tells me they can save me money on my travel.

                    How are you different?

                    Really, How are you different?

                    No, I mean it, really how are you different?

                    (Please, those who don't like the mixing of religion and business - chill. There is no preaching in this response. I am using Scriptures as an example.) There is a Scripture where Christ asks Peter if he loves Him three times. Although the English word is love in the three questions, in the Greek and Hebrew the first two times love is the same word but the third it is a different, deeper meaning of love - provoking Peter to a more sincere and heart-felt answer the third time.

                    How you answer the questions should get deeper and deeper each time.

                    Crafting a message that resonates with others is more than listing benefits, it is making a connection, touching an emotion, fulfilling a desire or showing an understanding. Look at the bolded headline on your homepage, and ask yourself if it wasn't your product would it be enough to spark your interest?

                    I really think your message is not tuned into your audience - it doesn't stand out. But it is fixable and I think you are close.

                    I hope this helps.

                    derek (Iwrite)
                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                        dcmarik Wayfarer
                        Derek,

                        Now we are getting somewhere. I have been aware for some time that this is the problem but as yet have not found a way to correct it. The difficulty lies is breaking through the stereotyped concept of a business travel agent; once you mention business travel the listener (or reader) automatically assumes that they know everything there is to know already and that we must fall into a pre-existing category, most likely a travel agent. At that point their mind is closed to learning or hearing what we really can do for them.

                        Your experience is typical. Once you read the first three headlines of our web page you assumed you knew what we could offer and that we were no different than American Express Travel for instance. If you read the first three paragraphs with an open mind however, I think that the differences are made clear.

                        As I have said before, in face to face meetings we have an extremely high close rate. Given five minutes to explain what we do in person (and how radically different it is from say, American Express) we almost invariably sign on a new client. AMEX may offer some nice services (for a nice fee) but low cost fares and hotel/car rates are not among them.

                        The exceptions to this rule are when their travel agent is somehow related to someone at the company or if one person's job depends upon doing the travel and they don't want to let her or him go.

                        What I am seeking is probably as simple (and difficult) as a way to convey what we do at the onset of our communication (be it a web site, e mail or telemarketing pitch). How can we hold the reader's interest past the first mention of the "T" word? Once they hear "travel" they shut down their receptors.

                        Last week we presented our concept to 15 medium size companies at a corporate networking meeting in the midwest. Of the 15 companies eight traveled on business and to date we have signed up five of them already.

                        Thanks for your input and let me know when you travel again so I can show you how very different we are from other travel companies.

                        Don
                        • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                          dcmarik Wayfarer
                          Derek,

                          I have not heard back from you since our last exchange. Do you still not understand what it is we do that is radically different from American Expresss Travel or other travel agents?

                          Don
                            • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                              Iwrite Pioneer
                              Don,

                              I understand but you are asking too much of a reader. I should not have to keep an open mind or read two or three paragraphs deep. I should be able to get the difference immediately. Right now, your story is not engaging enough to hold my attention. As a traveler, you have not said enough upfront for me.

                              "Radically" is a huge claim, I don't get a radical difference between you and other services.

                              Every business person swears they are different, new or better. People have become jaded to that claim. Prove it, don't say it - show it. A visitor to your site is there by choice, give them a reason quickly to decide to stay. I didn't get that from your main message. I should not have to work to understand how you are better, it should be clear to me immediately upon coming to your site. It wasn't for me.

                              Instead of addressing why I don't want to search through the information for the message, you are trying to tell me to work harder to understand it. What's wrong with this picture? I'm a potential customer, not an employee.

                              Do you understand what I am saying? I just went back to your site again - I still think there is a better message that you can put forth that will do what you need it to do. I'm trying to help, honest.

                              derek
                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                                  dcmarik Wayfarer
                                  Derek,

                                  Thanks for your input. I agree that we need to catch the reader early or lose him altogether. Check out the site and see if the new header is any more enticing, educational, informative or inviiting.

                                  If I understand you correctly, the whole web site and all the information therein is basically useless because people are only interested in headlines and what they can glean from them. This is probably true based on the lack of success we have had in attracting new clients with our site using what we regard as informative text (which nobody take time to comprehend even if they do read it).

                                  Or at least it is true in instances, such as ours, where we are offering a "radical" departure from the way this service has previously been offered to business travelers. Being innovative in a field that has gone unchanged for decades is not the easiest path to success.

                                  Don
                                    • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                                      Iwrite Pioneer
                                      Don,

                                      No, you don't correctly understand me. A headline is part of the solution to engaging visitors and getting them to stay on your site, so are arresting visuals, compelling copy and a professional design. This is about getting the message out as easily and as effectively as possible. Nothing else.

                                      There are more factors that influence your response rate - the use of the internet to conference, phone technology, the economy, competition and people's aversion to switch from one provider to another, and most importantly awareness of your site and your services. The last one is huge. How do I know about your site? Where else are you talking to me at? I'm mainly on advertising industry sites when I leave the forum, so how do you reach me and the other advertising professionals who do still travel? What about when I am offline, how am I exposed to your message?

                                      I think your response rate improves when you find a way to better reach them when they are not on your site. Your site can handle the heavy lifting if you have convinced people to come to the site.

                                      Check your email from your site. Look at the difference I am talking about.
                          • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                            WannaDevelop Wayfarer
                            Don, you should look into PPC advertising if you are looking to expand your business... You can't rely only on word of mouth advertising this days if you are serious about your business. Gotta pay.... PPC advertising on Google or Yahoo is a sure way to get the best ROI.

                            Good luck.
                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Does anyone here travel on business?
                              Newbie
                              Hi dcmarik,

                              I'd reccommend a couple of things; you mentioned referrals but not if you have a program in place to maximize referrals and one of the best books that I've read on going from cold contact to the sale is "You Can't Learn to Ride a Bike at a Sales Seminar" by Sandler.

                              Best of Luck