Last month I had networking events, a FAM, and some industry meetings. In shooting the breeze with fellow agents, there was a recurring question– how do you let people know you are here? Now I am going to preface this diary entry with that I can only share what has worked for me in my short time in the industry. Anything I do, I like to take the “organic” approach. We are who we are and I believe that by the things I do, people will get a genuine feel of what I am all about. Specialties and niches are great because things flow naturally when you work with clients that have similar interests in the types of experiences you like to put together. It makes things simpler on your day to day bookings and your clients can naturally gravitate towards you.
Before actually meeting prospects, every piece of communication has stampings of who I am. My greetings on emails, the way I compose my quotes or proposals, the descriptive words I use when proposing a location or property, call to action, voicemail greeting, what I say when I leave a voicemail and my posts on business and personal social media accounts. I think people that I come into contact via email, phone or Internet get a sense of how I can assist them with their next travel experience. If we are somewhat the same wavelength I believe I have a good chance of having that prospect book with me.
Now when I actually come face-to-face with someone, I take a gravitational approach. Some agents have told me that they have difficulty attending networking events and approaching prospects at these functions. I see any gathering as an opportunity. No need for pitchy or sharky antics, just in the natural course of conversation it happens–“What do you do?” Once they know I am an actual live travel agent, we have all heard the comments of “Wow, you guys actually still exist?!?!” That is a great opportunity! I love what I do, so when someone asks I tell them all about my job, and that is the best foot in the door. If I see someone is asking more questions than the norm about what I do, I just simply reach into my pocket and hand them my card and say, “If you ever need any assistance with your travel needs, feel free to call me.” That’s it! No need to go around from circle to circle introducing yourself and forcibly handing out business cards.
All my friends and family know that I am a travel agent, but many didn’t know what exactly that entailed. I have explained to them in detail what it is I do and how I help people go from trip to experience. They get it now so I have been blessed to get referrals from close friends and family too. Even my more remote circles know from my postings on social media and have booked through me or have referred me people because they see I actually travel and the passion I have for it. They see trips… the really cool ones, are a reality not just a stock photo or background on their computer or phone screen. If you are in travel then we should BE travel, I think that’s the best way to let people know you exist.
Mary Jo Salas is a 3-year veteran of the industry working for Alamo Travel Group. Alamo is a full service agency with government, business and leisure travel divisions based in San Antonio, Texas. Mary Jo specializes in honeymoons, family vacations, and couples’ getaways.