CJ White of McCabe World Travel tells us the secret to his success — $3 million revenue last year — “is truly not a secret at all.” Indeed it’s something very basic: “You must be able to clearly listen to the client’s expectations.” Easier said than done, but White has made an art of it.
“You must first invite the client to … tell you about themselves, [and their] lifestyle,” he says, adding that asking open-ended questions is key in order to “gather enough information to qualify their request” and “be relatable with their answers with your own experiences.” One example he cites is his planning for a sweet 16 birthday holiday in London.
“The client mentioned that her daughter was becoming an accomplished clarinetist. I was able to secure a private lesson with renowned U.K. clarinetist Emma Johnson,” he says. The client was more than satisfied, sending him two profitable referrals.
This and other successes, White says, have been achieved in large measure thanks to the relationships he has created and nurtured with his travel partners, throughout his 24 years as a travel advisor. In this regard, he emphasizes that, “It is imperative to meet them and introduce yourselves to them as often as possible” or at the very least attend their webinars.
Always let your partners know who is sending them the business, he adds, “and when they do something extraordinary for you, don’t just thank them, copy their boss — raise them up as they have helped raise you to your clients.”
Speaking of clients, White says that he is on his third generation of his favorites “and 80 percent of my loyal client base has entrusted me with their travels for 15 years or more.” He adds that he is having the most fun with Gen Z, “who continually tell their elders where the next family trip will be.”
White is not resting on his laurels, however. He believes that to continue growing his business, he must “stay relevant to travel trends and clients’ sudden interests, never lose contact with [them] and seize a sales moment whenever possible.”
White, who grew up in a small New England town, dreamed of traveling to far off places ever since his third grade class took a field trip to Boston’s Logan Airport where TWA hosted a mock flight. The experience “opened my mind, heart and soul for my future travel escapades,” he says.
Before dedicating himself to travel, however, White honed his customer service and sales skills in the retail banking industry. He enjoyed success in that field but “it did not fulfill me.” On the recommendation and support from his husband, he took a year off, traveled, “and found joy in the adventures I experienced,” he says.
He accepted a position with a major travel company in their foreign exchange department and soon transitioned to the role of travel advisor with great success. “I was with American Express for 20 years and reached the status of Pacesetter,” he tells us.
In his four years with McCabe World Travel, White has earned the title of Virtuoso Member Specialist in the Art of Travel and is also “proud to be, year over year, a Classic Vacations Star Performer.” Beyond such achievements he enjoys coming to the office each day “to work with the two biggest rock stars in the travel industry, Damian McCabe and Anne Scully” and a team of professionals he calls “the cherry on the sundae.”