It’s funny how life works sometimes. It seems that mine has now come full circle. It seems that not too long ago, I was an independent contractor working for a couple of host agencies. Not happy with the status quo, I made a business decision to become fully independent. I obtained my own CLIA number and ran my very own agency. Now, as the IC Team Sales Leader for a retail agency, I find myself instructing, mentoring, and guiding people who were just like me.
I have been blessed to represent TRO at various trade shows throughout the US. I talked to a lot of new agents who stop by the booth. A lot of them were confused, intimidated and a bit afraid. Some common questions they asked were, “I signed up to be a travel agent now what do I do?” “How do I make money?” “How do I find clients?” There is only so much you can do or say at a trade show to help fledgling agents. I usually gave them my card & told them to email me if they had questions. It’s amazing the number of emails I received after a show from agents needing help.
I am very passionate about standards & training for agents. One of my pet peeves in the travel industry is the lack of entry requirements to be a travel agent. Anyone with a pulse and a checkbook can be an agent. I am pretty sure I can sign up my dogs to sell travel. The public is confused as to what agents really do. Do we really need untrained agents muddying the waters?
In this point & click world we need to strive to be better. We need to be consummate professionals in all aspects of running our businesses from how we answer the phone to dealing with complaints. Being a nurturer by nature, I have a genuine passion for helping travel agents not only to compete in this high tech world but also to become better agents. And it was exactly those frustrations that have closed my circle and landed me where I am today!
From independent contractor to IC Team Sales Leader—my life has come full circle. I am very fortunate I get to do what I love for a great company.
Mary Stephan is the IC Team Sales Leader for Preferred Travel of Naples. Preferred Travel is a Signature member and is owned by Wilma Boyd who founded the Wilma Boyd Career School in Pittsburgh which trained flight attendants, reservation agents and travel agents. Mary can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.preferrednaples.com