Not long ago, I received an unsolicited e-mail from a travel agency who wanted my business. Interestingly, the only question they asked was whether or not I paid commissions? I responded with one request, “please give me three references from clients in the same rate category.” I haven’t heard from them since.
If you’re operating at the mid-price level with a run-of-the-mill offering, there’s probably little danger in making the net as big as possible in order to snag the most fish, whether their willing, or just unsuspecting. However, if you have a wonderful experience, better than most in at least one respect (and that’s really the audience I speak to), then you could really hurt yourself by aligning with third parties who don’t have enough sense to determine whether their client base even matches yours. Notwithstanding wasted commission dollars, the real problem lies in your lack of control over the sales message and the target audience. The result is a mismatch between you and your prospective guests. They are likely lured in once, never to return. Or, more importantly, they are not compelled to go out and rave about you.
So, before aligning yourself with any third party, ask some questions like these:
1. How will they help spread the word? Do they have a marketing plan?
2. Are they reputable? How long have they been in business?
3. How do they grow their business? Referrals or Advertising? Do they build long lasting relationships?
4. Why do their clients buy through them? (They flunk if they respond with something like…we get our clients the best price)
5. Do their clients trust them (get references)?
6. Do their clients fit the profile of our audience?
You are more likely to spread the word about your business with fewer, well aligned partners which will send guests who want to experience exactly what you are offering.
Less is More!