“In today’s business climate we need to turn to one another, partner in every area, and depend on our associates to help us find solutions to meet our business needs.”
Zap The Gaps! by Ken Blanchard, page 10
I remember like it was yesterday, the adversarial relationship travel agents once had with each other. This was when I first entered the industry in the 80’s. Competitive agents would not talk to each other in fear of losing clients.
Then came commission cuts, suppliers going direct, and the Internet. The agent attitude began to change slowly as they began to realize who the enemy was. (In fact, there was no actual enemy other than self-imposed lethargy.)
To be candid, the agency community back in those days, according to me, did not understand the true meaning of competition, or maintaining a competitive advantage. Agents were just beginning to realize that their contribution was more than simple order taking. At the time, they were self-serving and not yet familiar with the concept of “entrepreneurship.” Times have changed. The travel agency community has come to “play” and they have come to “win.”
Today’s business environment demands that smart people come together with other smart people to collaborate and support each other. Going it alone may sound heroic, but it just doesn’t work today.
I am regularly communicating with my two primary competitors while we support one another and share what can be shared both ethically and legally. We actually feed off each other when times get rough and when we need some creative stimulation. This is as it should be.
And so it should be with you. I am not suggesting you become an “open book,” but I do believe you “need” somebody who understands the ups and downs of this business. You need to connect with people who can lift you up in time of need.
To me, that is a good reason to attend industry functions in addition to becoming more comfortable with the subject matter. A good meeting objective is to find another agent who “speaks your language.” Once you manage to do this, your life, business and personality with begin to improve exponentially.
Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive monthly invitations send Mike an email with the words “business training” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version.
For information on Mike’s Fourth Annual Training Cruise, email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “cruise” in the subject box.