If you were to walk into my home office the first thing that you might notice is that I have a collection. Oh yes, I have the standard collection of tourist tchotchkes and travel photos, but I also collect a word…BELIEVE. Right now as I glance around my office, I smile at my collection. The most noticeable is a carved wooden sign that sits seven inches high and sprawls across the top of my desk that spells out “BELIEVE”. Over the years good friends started noticing my fondness for this word, so I have been sent various gifts including the word believe, such as an engraved notebook, a rock, a picture frame…okay you get the picture.
Why do I have a passion for this word? One of the definitions is “to have faith”. Anyone who starts or has a business has to have faith that it will succeed. I will share my favorite word with you, and hopefully it will make you a believer.
Believe in yourself and the reasons why you got into the travel business. Many times I see agents who have set lofty expectations for the income or growth of their business only to get discouraged when they don’t materialize. By setting attainable bench-marked goals and reasonable time frames, you can accomplish the goals that you have set for your business growth. A more attainable goal, for example, would be selling one group on an Alaskan Cruise Tour in 2018, rather than setting out to charter an entire ship.
Evolve. Few industries see the changes and challenges we face. The agents who remain in business and grow have found ways to stay one step ahead, and continually monitor their own business model and how it fits into the current marketplace. There was a book that was given to me titled “Who Moved My Cheese – An amazing way to deal with change in your life and work” by Spencer Johnson, which tells a simple tale of two mice chasing cheese that keeps moving. The summary of this story:
1). Change Happens
2). Anticipate Change
3). Monitor Change
4). Adapt to Change Quickly
6). Enjoy the Change.
It boils down to “If you don’t change you will become extinct”. Find a new direction and answer the question “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” You cannot grow unless you are willing to change.
Love what you do, and the money will follow! I believe this is true, but only if you work really, really hard, be patient, be persistent, be open to the possibilities, and then work really, really hard some more. If you are willing to put in the time and stay determined, you will be able to achieve your goals and earn the money that you deserve.
Inventive and creative. Try for just one month to remove the word “can’t” from you vocabulary and start saying instead “How can I…?” This can be anything, like coming up with a new marketing idea or business plan. If you get stuck, read a magazine to find articles about other successful home-based agents and try implementing one of their ideas. You can always find excuses why you “can’t ” do something. Be proactive, and start finding ways to make things happen.
Energetic and excited. When talking with clients about their upcoming travel plans, do so with lots of enthusiasm. You want the excitement that you portray to be contagious, and create an anticipation of what their trip may bring in the way of memories, fun and enjoyment. Start with the tone of your phone message greeting. Sad to say, but I have listened to many messages that sounded like I was calling a funeral parlor and not a vacation planner.
Visualize success. What makes some agents more successful than others? The successful agents that I have met have an innate confidence in their abilities, and continually picture what their business will look like in the future. These agents also don’t let one failure stop them. They will find a way to readjust and move forward.
Enjoy! No matter what challenges we face, I BELIEVE that this is still the best business in the world to be in. I am reminded of this every time I mention to someone that I am in the travel business. They invariably say things like “How lucky!” or “It must be great fun to learn about different destinations and help people travel all around the world.” And to be able to say that you truly love what you do for a living. As a home-based agent, there is nothing better than being the captain of your own fate.
Anita Pagliasso is the author of “How I Made A Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel Agent” “From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE” and “Anita’s Toolbox for Home-Based Agents CD” (www.redticketproductions.com), President, Host Agency Ticket To Travel (www.travelagentathome.com), Travel Agent Forum Conference Director, and PATH President & Executive Board Member.