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Take Winnie the Pooh’s Advice on Prospecting for New Business

I recently had the pleasure of reading a famous quote from a Winnie the Pooh book (I believe the best business leaders are inspired by quotes found in these types of classic stories!), it says… “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”.   It got me thinking about how we prospect for new business.

If you’re still prospecting for new business like you always have and NOT getting the results you want then it’s time to change it up and DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.  Without making a change, your chance of growing your business, and survive for that matter, is severely limited.  Planning and preparing to prospect are just as critical as all of the steps in your sales strategy, yet they are usually not discussed and are overlooked in traditional sales training.   Not sure how to start planning and preparing?  No problem, read on…

To begin, you should know that the main difference between a prospect and a customer comes down to a relationship.  A prospect has not yet bought from you, has little expectation, and has provided limited contact information.  A customer has bought from you, expects attentive service, and has provided up-to-date contact information (for your database!).   When it comes to prospecting for new business, you need to prepare and plan differently then when selling again to a customer.

Here are three suggestions to help you plan to prospect that will get the different results you need to grow your business:

1). Prospect with Purpose.  Stop telling people you sell travel and begin to describe what you do with more purpose.  If you want to prospect and grow into a more premium and luxury travel advisor, describe your travel services using a consulting based approach.  Example:  Walk the talk and dress the part when you are in specific circles of influence you want to penetrate.  Educate your prospect by letting them know that your 5 STAR travel service will cater to their needs before, during and after their vacation experience.

2). Prospect with Passion.  As the saying goes, “light attracts light”.  Work with groups, people, associations and business that you are passionate about.  I believe connecting with people who you have an emotional connection with is so much easier, more comfortable, and ultimately more profitable.  Example:  Combine your passion for fund-raising and travel by helping your local charity or not-for-profit association/group with a travel group idea.

3). Prospect with a Plan.  Literally write out your step by step plan on how to get in front of your target market.  Brainstorm and diagram out your circles of influence that make sense to you and your brand.  Example:  Combine your travel services with your love of seniors who are passionate about cruising together on groups.  On a piece of paper, write out all the possible ideas you could combine together to create an opportunity (senior’s centers, cultural centers, senior ball-room dancing clubs, bingo halls, and casinos, medical centers with doctor’s that would speak to groups at sea).

The opportunities are endless for those of you who are willing to try to do things differently than you have in the past.  If you don’t, and stay stuck, then those prospects WILL find a hungry travel professional that is willing to try!  It’s your choice…

Cory is a passionate travel entrepreneur and highly specialized business coach to independent agents, HOST agencies, Travel Associations, respected travel suppliers, and the TRO community. Learn more here.

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