Paying for Time? Yes, Please!

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice President/Editorial Director

It was one of those mornings. I thought my phone had been charging all night, but the charger was acting wobbly again — a common occurrence ever since I’d plugged it in to my Kindle over Christmas. Just as I clicked on my e-mail to see if I had a morning meeting, the phone shut down right before my very eyes.

Which is why, at 8:45 a.m., I found myself at the Verizon store on 34th Street in Manhattan, buying a new charger so I would never be in this unbearable situation again.

“You have a choice of two models,” the young man told me. “There’s a $5 difference; one charges fast and the other charges at the regular rate.”

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Was he even asking me this? “I’ll take the faster one,” I said.

In this case the value proposition was a no-brainer. For a tiny amount of money I’d be saving untold amounts of time. As I strolled up Broadway past Macy’s, I marveled, what if I could pay nominal amounts of money to save time in other ways? I’d be in a state of constant bliss, I decided.

The experience made me realize how easy it could be to upsell a trip if the value proposition easily spelled out the amount of time saved. Say, for a few hundred dollars you could propose that a cruise client hire a private car and driver to see a city’s highlights in two hours, rather than the four hours the motorcoach tour with 40 other passengers would take. And say, you could recommend your client take those additional two hours to have lunch in a special little restaurant that only the locals go to? Priceless.

Our personal time is at a premium these days. We find ourselves feeling relieved if a business trip gets cancelled because that gives us back a huge chunk of hours to get other projects done. When our heavily scheduled days face unexpected interruptions, it’s easy to feel angry and upset, because we’ll never get that time back. But imagine the joy if you could buy it back for a nominal fee.

As luxury advisors you can really “go big” with the time-saving proposition. Suggest private jet over scheduled air to the client who wants to take a long trip in a short amount of time. That $50,000 might be to them what that $5 in Verizon was to me. Bring up the name of the photographer who can accompany your family clients on their African safari, and who will have an amazing series of photo albums ready for viewing just a week after they get home. Tell your clients about suppliers who ship luggage that will already be unpacked when your client arrives at their hotel and explain how paying extra for butler service at that same hotel will save them hours of trying to get laundry done and dinners booked and private city excursions reserved.

Be sure you’re saving time for yourself while you’re at it.

Karen Schragle, owner of Wayland Travel, who is featured on our cover this month, says she has given those in her office the opportunity to do some of the things only she would have once done, such as dealing closely with top clients every step of the way. That strategy has helped her construct a $25 million agency. “I never could have done it without building up around me the strong, caring, qualified people that love this business as much as I do. Enabling them has enabled me,” she says.

It might seem counterintuitive to hand over some of the important tasks you feel only you can do, but consider how liberating it will be for you in the long run and how getting all that time back will enable you to build bigger and better things.

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