Agents ask me all the time “How do I market my agency?” In my opinion, the best way is to get out of the house, and go talk to people. How lucky we being home based? We can go out at any time of day, and attend the function of our choice.
As Mike Marchev often says, this is a people business. And as exciting as social media is, I want to do business with people I see each week at my networking meetings, each month at the various social and “special interest” groups and organizations I belong to, and at non-travel workshops and events where I can learn something and meet new people.
On this last topic, often, we only go to travel events for education, but one great group is the AMA (the American Marketing Association) – a wonderful organization to learn marketing ideas from the best of the best, and meet people who travel. Check out a chapter near you, and go as a guest.
Choose special interest groups that interest you…whether it’s a wine tasting group, a garden club, a golf club or ballroom dancing…you will be much more inclined to attend meetings of people similar to you with similar interests. And that is also where you will find potential groups to create interesting trips for group travel. My suggestion is to narrow it down to 3 interests, create 3 folders for those interests on your computer, and every time you see an article from one of your trade journals about that topic, put it in there. So when the opportunity arises for you to have a conversation with a potential group leader or president of that organization, you will have a great library of fun trips to explore.
We often hear how important it is to market ourselves, and one easy way for you to do that is to get a name badge. I noticed recently that every business function I attended, every Realtor in town had a name badge; I ordered the “Engraved Name Badge” immediately from Staples for $10.95. Now every time I wear that badge, I have a conversation with someone about travel; it is a constant reminder of who I am and what I do. It also reminds people I do business with…the doctor, the dentist, my dry cleaner… exactly what I do, as often we forgot to tell them.
And the other piece of the puzzle is, to look your best. That may seem obvious, but I see agents attend events not looking their best. I assume that every time I walk out my door, I’m going to meet a potential client. And as Mary Kay (of Mary Kay Cosmetics) reminded me 20 plus years ago, always wear make-up and look your best, because the day you don’t, will be the day you will run into that client you’ve always wanted to meet, and be too embarrassed to introduce yourself. If you wear your name badge, you had better look your best.
So go find some fun organizations to join, proudly wear your name badge, look your best, and you’ll always have a steady stream of new clients.
Karen Dawson, CTC is the owner of Southlake Travel, highly-personalized travel concierge service that arranges memorable trips, cruises, exotic vacations and travel for those with discriminating taste. She is also a Master Cruise Consultant, a Certified Caribbean Specialist, and a Certified Travel Industry Executive. Professionally, she has held various roles with with Sabre, Virtuoso, American Express, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Travel Agents International, Uniglobe Travel and several independent agencies. She has been a Corporate Travel and Meetings Manager for a major investment firm and has taught travel agency management, tourism, Meeting planning and the Sabre GDS at a college-level.