Luxury Coach & Transportation

July 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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12 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION JULY 2018 PUBLISHER'S PAGE I JULY 2018 I f you chose "luxury," then you need to fully understand that unlike commodities, luxury is never about price. Luxury is about branding and the ability to sell authenticity and truthfulness. Luxury must pro- vide the right experience. Sophisticated customers want the "wow factor." This means touching the heart and dazzling the senses. As corny as it may sound, your service should strive to enhance the lifestyle of your clients. Yes, I know as if a ride to the airport has the power to transport a person into a fantasy neverland. However, experiences act as triggers, can alter perception, and instill a sense of inner and outer peace. LUXURY GOES BEYOND JUST BLACK CAR Luxury service is not sold the same way as black car service. Expectations are higher on luxury brands. In today's economy, service has become a core competitive advantage. Hiring the right people and training them to sell properly to increase sales and retain the brand's luster is non- negotiable. The attitude and overall delivery/presentation by the person selling for you is critical in dif- ferentiating your service from that of a black car company. Be sure your staff has great commu- nication, a high level of presentation skills, and a customer-first mindset. Charisma is an asset. Beyond hiring good people, training and retraining them is vital. Look around at other luxury brands for role models. Take the time to stroll through a Gucci or any high-end store and take notes. Try booking a trip with Emirates or the Four Seasons, or take cues from luxury car dealers. Note how the salespeople treat you. Luxury has one consistent trait: Exceptional service for the ultimate client experience. All of your team is part of the sales process and must be well trained to include in-depth indus- try knowledge, a complete understanding of your company, and buy-in to your brand's message. Your sales team should really know your clients, including their likes, motivators, and preferences. One thing is certain: Training ought to be based on specific brand requirements. CUTTING PRICES TAINTS YOUR BRAND Most importantly, luxury is about exceeding expectations by delighting and surprising your clients. Under no circumstances should luxury brands be discounted. They need to stick to their true sense of the meaning and heritage. By cutting prices, you confuse your brand message (and the customer's perception of you). Truth be told, people deal on price when they lack confi- dence in what they are selling. In order to trust in your pricing, your "luxury" story must have true merit. Consistency in service levels is hard in this business. Training and developing your staff should be an ongoing process. Moreover, brands should be an enemy of the status quo. One easy way to check in with your company's overall performance is to employ mystery riders. They can gauge the total sales cycle approach and report back their experiences, thus giving intel for training purposes. Another part of your training program I recommend is to shadow your salespeople regularly. As owners mature, what goes on (or doesn't) on that ever important front line can be overlooked. You have to stay involved with your service and sales teams. That includes listening and watching how they interact with your clients. In sum, luxury brands must be defended by consistent over-the-top service. Your brand will be believed when it can be trusted. It can be trusted if it's reliable. It will be reliable if you hire the right personality for you mission, impose the right training, commit to ongoing training forever, and do the unexpected for your clients. All worth the price — which again I say, is non-negotiable. Are You Selling Luxury Or A Commodity? Sara Eastwood-Richardson, LCT Publisher As corny as it may sound , your service should strive to enhance the lifestyle of your clients.

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