Remember when you first decided to become an independent travel professional. You were so excited to be embarking on a new career, one that could take you all over the world, live a lifestyle others only dream about, and heck -you were even going to get paid for it! The thought of associating yourself with a trusted brand, or finding a business model that worked for you made the decision that much easier. Regardless of the reason–you jumped in with both feet.
Fast forward to today. You are lost. You feel like the pumpkin that was once Cinderella’s beautiful carriage. You are going through the motions and don’t know what to do next, or in some cases- even where to start? Sound familiar? You are not alone, this is very common among small business owners, regardless of industry.
In hindsight, you may have asked yourself these four questions, but it’s not too late.
- “What is it that gets me out of bed each day?” Maybe its supplemental income, to provide a college education for your kids, or my favorite “I love to travel so I thought it would be fun to be a ‘travel agent’”. Whatever the reason – is it a valid one? If you can’t answer this, you need to step back and quickly figure it out. An overwhelming sense of purpose – the “why” you do something is one of the most important factors to your success.
- “Do I have the necessary skills?” Do I have, or am I willing to acquire, the skills needed to build a successful sales business? Management guru Peter Drucker defines the purpose of a business as this, “to simply create & keep customers.” This is a sales business. You can’t rely on marketing to provide enough customers to sustain a viable enterprise. Do you have the prospecting and sales skills to create customers for your company? Are you willing to invest your time and money to learn the skills & gain the knowledge needed to perform at a high level?
- “Do my daily habits contribute to or get in the way of my success.” A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. Our primal motivators are pain and pleasure. Everything we do is to avoid pain or gain pleasure. Do you fear calling 10 prospects a day? If so, this is considered pain – a habit to avoid. However, if you were to frame those same calls as potential income which will help provide the freedoms a business can provide, they will bring pleasure and reward. The key is to develop habits that positively contribute to the success of your business.
- “Do I have the ability to manage my business and by extension – myself?” How well do you understand the “Business of the Travel Business?” There is a saying that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Do you know how to calculate breakeven, cost of sale, or return on investment? Are you measuring the right numbers for example, commission revenue and profit margin are much more important that sales volume?
Everyone will answer these questions differently. Some will come to the realization that being in the travel business is not really something you want to pursue. That’s ok – it’s best to figure it out sooner than later. But for most of you, the clarity that comes from this exercise will allow you to again see your “why”, to become more engaged, & to pledge the resources to grow your business. Everyone wins – you can focus on building a successful travel business that matters to you and your customers. It’s your choice.
Dan Chappelle is a professional sales coach, business advisor, author, and speaker. His specialty is Sales Acceleration.
His training and consulting firm helps develop sales oriented business leaders. In addition to working with individual salespeople and entrepreneurs, his corporate clients include AAA, Cruise Planners, Ensemble Travel Group, and Travel Leaders Group. His best-selling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com. For information on Dan’s Sales Acceleration programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com