Editor’s Note: Point to Point is a column reserved for gurus, instructors, icons, and other big wigs that can influence the travel industry. Sometimes we can learn a lot from those who do not have all the experience. It is not meant to be an ad for Mike Marchev–the advice is valid! This piece was written by Joe Santoni, a student of Mike Marchev who regularly writes for Travel Research Online.
At first I thought “what could I possibly have to offer the readership of TRO that would interest those who probably know as much, or more, than I do about the travel business?” I soon came up with the answer–probably a lot.
A year ago this past September 2nd I joined a host agency that specialized in cruises. After all, I won’t have to “sell” anything to anybody. This should be a walk in the park. Cruises sell themselves!
All my “marketing” was going to be done for me. All I had to do was get people to join an online travel club, and everything else would come as a result of a fine-tuned autopilot.
I was a moderately experienced cruiser. I’d been out to sea on nine cruises in six years. I knew port from starboard, and I was no longer dismayed, surprised or caught off guard by the lifeboat drills. I could fit everything I needed into one small bag for the entire week and I was as familiar with the Caribbean and Central American coast as anyone. I also had a deep and abiding interest in the Maya … their history … and their culture. I was a natural. Let the games begin. I am in the cruise business.
I continued moving toward Western Caribbean Cruises and land-based resorts with guided tours. I was all set and prepared to pay lots of taxes when I filed next year. But nothing happened. I couldn’t understand how such a nice guy who knew so much about the area with such a popular subject could have such a quiet phone.
While feeling sorry for myself one afternoon I spotted a guy in one of the trade rags who sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Mike Marchev entered the picture with his Spinnaker Marketing Club. All of a sudden, I began to see my business from an entirely new and refreshing perspective. I saw that marketing is a 24/7 pastime, and that the ONLY thing wrong with my “innovative” plan was that “not enough people knew I was alive,” or had anything of value to offer them.
The answer was just that simple! Of course, correcting these tiny oversights is a work in progress. Marketing, after all, is not a stop and go endeavor. Marketing is a daily “thing.”
Here are a few of the important lessons I have learned in the past year. A clear understanding of these simple lessons has made all the difference in the world for me. You might want to take a few notes.
- There are only 2 kinds of people in the whole world. Those I can help, and those I can’t help. I must learn to spend my time on the right kind.
- I’m not here to sell anything to anybody. I’m here to help people find solutions to their problems; Help them to buy and to make good choices
- When I pick up the phone to call a prospect I begin with “nothing.” If I book a trip, I’ve gained; since I started with “nothing,” I had nothing to lose. I either win or break even. There is no reason to feel rejected.
- It is SO much harder to gain a new client than it is to lose one! Take care of your clients and always remember they are someone else’s prospects. This is a major point. Read it again.
- The early bird catches the worm. If you return a call a day later, you are telling the caller that they are a 2-day day priority. If it takes a week to get back to a caller, you are publically labeling them “not too important.” But if you call NOW, you are clearly announcing that they are important to you. People like to feel important.
- If you want to totally realign your paradigm, I can honestly recommend that you call Mike. I hate to admit it, but he is smarter than I am! You’ll either “click” or you won’t… but if you do, you will soon be qualified to be paying more taxes. Tell him Joe sent you.