I don’t like most game shows. I’m a high-functioning introvert, but the bright lights, noise and screaming frighten me. With one exception. I really enjoy Jeopardy. When I happen to catch it on television during an evening of channel surfing, I like playing along at least for a minute or two. In the no-stress environment of my living room, I am really good. Especially when I discount categories like “Broadway Musicals.”
What I really like about Jeopardy, though, is the format. Alex Trebec gives you the answer and the object is to provide the correct question – forcing me to think backwards. That little bit of a twist on my mental hardwiring engages an ability to dig a bit deeper for each challenge. Jeopardy teaches us to think differently.
Thinking backwards makes the mind focus on the outcome first, and only secondarily on the process. Limitations, objections, obstacles all take on secondary importance to the result. The process becomes more clear the better defined the desired end result.
Indeed, thinking backwards is a good way to achieve results. I heard not long ago about an employee for a metal drill bit company who realized his company was in all reality NOT selling drill bits. What the company’s customers really wanted were holes. The employee suggested that the company start thinking about how to make better holes. Two years later the company launched its first laser drill.
Let’s think backwards about your career as a travel consultant. Let’s don’t start with how you do your job, or prospect for clients or educate yourself. That’s starting with the process. Instead, let’s start with the end result.
Imagine the world’s greatest travel consultant. How would the world’s greatest travel consultant do the things you do each day? I’m pretty sure when you entered our profession, the end result you envisioned was you in the role of the world’s greatest travel consultant. No one gets into business thinking “someday I’m going to be so average!”
Join me in thinking backwards for a moment. Let’s start with the image of the world’s greatest travel consultant.
How would the world’s greatest travel consultant choose, and interact with, their supplier partners? How would the world’s greatest travel consultant deal with a difficult client? How would the world’s greatest travel consultant think about time management, sales and marketing? How would the world’s greatest travel counselor dress? What would their web site look like? How would the world’s greatest travel counselor train on an ongoing basis? How would the world’s greatest travel counselor speak to their clients, deliver presentations and orchestrate meetings?
Here is an interesting experiment. As you go through your routine today, ask yourself about each task “How would the world’s greatest travel consultant do this?” Before you make that important phone call to the client ask yourself “How would the world’s greatest travel consultant make this call? What would they say? How would they sound? What kind of result would they expect?” Then, resolve to make the phone call just as you imagine the world’s greatest travel consultant might. Projecting yourself into the role of the end result might just help you better realize how to achieve the result.
Envision the travel consultant you want to be and become that image. Reclaim the vision you have of the travel industry and your role as a part of it.
Anything less places you and your career, maybe even the whole of the profession, in jeopardy.