MIAMI -- Earning commissions may be counterproductive if consumers
view commissions as a conflict of interest, a speaker told agents
at Cruisefest here.
At a seminar on "Thriving in a Zero Commission World," Nolan
Burris, president of Visionistics Enterprises, said agents
shouldn't be afraid to go commission-free -- on all products -- and
charge a fee for their services.
Burris suggested setting out a menu that explains, in detail,
what the customer gets for the fee. This arrangement sends the
signal that the agent is working for the client and eliminates any
lingering doubts about the agent's loyalties.
Burris, a former travel agent, urged agents to think: "I can
sell the pants off any agency in town, because [other agencies] get
paid to find a higher price."
Agents who do work on commission should strike preferred
supplier deals and tell clients about them, Burris said.
"Examine every decision from the customers' point of view," he
As for setting fee levels, Burris said the key is for agents to
know their costs per transaction by product type, and their
One agent at the seminar, Dan Gordon, manager of Morris Travel
in Augusta, Ga., agreed, "We have to start charging what we're