This past month, the goal was to gain some clarity on my objective, service, and message. It’s actually harder than it seems! After much wrangling and really focusing on the language for a mission statement, it’s absolutely going to become the foundation for how I currently do business and guide my future growth. Looking back, I wish I had done this much sooner! It is never too late, and I feel that creating a clear emphatic statement in writing to guide any business can only be helpful.
There are so many examples, some include management policies, values for the company, a vision – it’s a very personalized and dynamic expression of how you do business and the type of client you serve. Quite honestly, one challenge I did have in creating the mission statement was that there are some parts of my business that do not necessarily align with the goals I would like to put in place to conduct or grow my business as an independent travel advisor. It was like looking at a map and realizing the need to head in a slightly different direction, but better to find out sooner than lose your way!
Another amazing resource I tapped into this month was the book, “You Inc.: the Art of Selling Yourself” by Harry Beckwith. Beckwith’s book is incredibly practical and an entertaining read. Many of the tips are basic, like make a good first impression – then there are more specifics on exactly how people form impressions and how to increase your ability to make a lasting and positive impression. Since most of my interactions are via email and telephone, I’ve honed those initial impressions to include attachments introducing myself, stating credentials and outlining services (including fees). As many times as I’ve given the spiel when a potential new client calls, I really want it to have the maximum effect 100% of the time, so I have some flexible outlines laminated near the phone for reference to be sure I’ve covered everything or adequately handled any impediments to doing business. Other useful ideas of the book are a bit more sophisticated in nature, such as how to project sincerity and the importance of adaptation in the sales business. Growing and improving in sales will always be a work in progress!
Lastly, I took some time to research credentials in the travel business and was very surprised! There seems to be a lot of different views on the importance of actual educational credentials to qualify to be a travel advisor and a more open approach that enthusiasm, on the job training, and destination knowledge are critical to success. While it is reassuring that there are many different ways to enter, grow, and become successful in the professional travel arena, I would still like to present my clients some way to gauge the level of education and professionalism that I would offer. For the luxury market especially, they are used to seeing degrees and titles for the professionals they hire, and if they are entrusting large amounts of money, it would only secure the idea that they are working with a dedicated professional. I would love to hear any feedback and direction on that! Thank you and have a great month, next month the focus will be the sales process!
Marti Litwin is an independent Virtuoso travel advisor with En Route Travel in Southern California. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Marti shares her value of sharing unforgettable family experiences with her clients. In addition to travel, she enjoys yoga, health and wellness, her 2 children, and an adorable rescued Golden Retriever, Cookie.