Selling what you love is the key to doing it well, according to
Pearl Lang of Cleveland Travel in Boston.
"I started selling Israel after living there for three years,"
she says. That was 12 years ago, and she has been sending clients
there ever since.
She began with Cleveland Travel three years ago and now is the
in-house expert in tours to the Holy Land.
Knowing the destination thoroughly is the first critical step to
an initial sale, she says, and success leads to happy clients
coming back. "I know Israel very well and have developed a personal
following of first-time and return visitors," she says.
The next step, especially with returnees, should be to look for
clients' particular interests and to zero in for individualized
treatment, she says.
Keeping information updated is the next step, Lang says, so she
goes to Israel about once a year.
Local advertising seems to work, so her firm is currently
running ads in the local Jewish newspaper for a Unitours
(800-621-0557) plan that honors Israel's 50th birthday.
Knowing that honesty is the best policy, Joanne Skehan of
Adventure Travel Superstore tells all her clients that her own
acquaintance with her dream destination started with a
After six years in the business, she decided to go on a Tal
Tours fam trip to Israel only to face warnings from people close to
her about it being a dangerous trip.
"I fought with my family and friends who said I shouldn't go,"
she remembers, and faced an interrogation by an El Al security
guard that scared her into almost turning back. But once she
arrived, she found "everyone takes care of you; they all made us
She shares the story because it's important to hit the security
subject head on. "The number one thing people want is to feel
safe," she says.
"They need to be more prepared for security procedures. They
need to say, 'Thank God [Israelis] are that thorough. That protects
all of us.'"
Then she assures them, "You will find more concern about
security and protection in Israel than anywhere else in the world,
and that balances out the threats."
After addressing security, Skehan says, "clients need details
explained" by the agent. "Show them printed itineraries and
pictures of hotels and motorcoaches," she says.
Then "share your own experiences. People want to know if it's
really possible to float in the Dead Sea or to be pampered at its
spas or to visit the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were
Skehan, part owner of her agency, is organizing her first groups
to Israel, one from the Fraternal Order of Police and another of
Seventh Day Adventists, and finds that the enthusiasm with which
she remembers her experiences easily convinces people.