For as many years as I want to remember, I have been suggesting to travel professionals that their biggest problem, issue, and concern is simply that “not enough people know they are alive.” Visibility was their top snag.
When asked if they are still seeking their first paying customer, the vast majority (99%) of those in the audience giggle as if to say, “of course I have customers!” That tells me that they must already provide a valuable service to somebody; and in giving them the benefit of the doubt, they know what they are doing. This is the good news.
But I still stuck to my guns and inferred that there were more people to meet; more people to help; more people who needed to benefit from their expertise and guidance.
Yet these “new” potential business sources could never choose them as an agent if they didn’t know they were alive. My message was to get up; get out; and make more people glad they know you. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Ad-nauseam!
In hindsight, this may have been inaccurate advice. I still endorse this message as a practical and fruit-bearing activity; but I am not quite so sure that it is their biggest problem.
As I approach the twilight of my career, I feel myself changing my view. I believe the travel professional’s biggest problem has slowly become an issue of self-confidence.
Self-confidence is the internal belief that you have something of value to “bring to the party.” It’s knowing that you’ve done your homework, trained and studied appropriately, failed along the way, paid your dues, took your lumps, and have developed the skills, experiences, and knowledge necessary to actually contribute to your clients’ well-being.
I might add that lacking self-confidence is not just a travel entrepreneur issue. I see it as an adult issue in just about every walk of life. It may have something to do with playing hooky in high school or the fact that many adults deep down know that their efforts in school really did not deserve an “A.” Many adults may have taken a shortcut to entrepreneurship. Just as you can’t fool Mother Nature, apparently you can’t fool yourself either.
Self-confidence does not infer that you are always right. It does not give you permission to be cocky, pushy, arrogant, or self-serving. It simply means that you know your stuff and you have become, over time, better than good at what you have chosen to do for a living.
For my money, the Internet as an information tool is right up there with the invention of the wheel—which I believe was invented to move suitcases through airports more expeditiously. Yet I believe the Internet has hurt the agents’ belief in themselves since anybody with a “mouse” can glean most of the information the agent can. The failure of “some” people to readily agree to paying a fee for travel assistance and advice also plays a critical role when it comes to shattering the confidence dome.
I could go on and on but in the interest of word count; but I want to leave you with a few nuggets to think about.
- If travel is your full-time business, you should know more about the nuances of the business than non-travel professionals.
- You are not competing with the Internet. If you feel that you are, let me save you a lot of time, stress, and sleepless nights: You will lose.
- You are in position to help people make better travel-related decisions.
- Not everybody is going to buy your act—nor should they.
- Visibility is still important. They have to know you are alive before choosing to work with you.
- Self-confidence may be your biggest issue. “You gotta believe.”
- If you don’t believe, perhaps it is time for you to consider joining my Inner Circle Sales and Marketing Club. (Shameless plug. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mike Marchev writes business-related articles when he can’t sleep. This is why he has written so many articles and he has bags under his eyes. Maybe his new nickname should be “Bagman.” In any event, everything he writes could be wrong. Read at your own risk, and be sure to request a copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan. email@example.com