Depends on who you ask. Think about where you spend most of your time and money. My bet is that you spend a significant amount of effort figuring out how and where to market – not to mention how much it will cost.
In fact, most industry experts, coaches, and executives will be the first to say that you are in the marketing business. Why else would virtually all of the industry learning and promotional programs be based on building out marketing plans and advertising budgets?
I’ll tell you why: Marketing is sexy. How many television shows have been made about sales, not many? But we all know about Don Draper and the hit series Mad Men. What most people don’t realize is that marketing executives tend to be salaried employees – even those with your suppliers and consortia.
The answer is simple. It doesn’t matter if you are a business owner, independent contractor, or employed as an agent or manager. You are paid commission – you are in the sales business.
Fact: The travel agency channel is the commissioned sales force of the travel and tourism industries.
Suppliers are in the business of building brand awareness, it’s our job to sell those brands.
Don’t believe me? When was the last time you received a commission check for marketing? I have been in this business twenty-five years and have yet to receive one. On the other hand, I have earned millions for the sales I have made.
The sooner we start operating as sales focused businesses (which happen to sell really cool products), the more control we will have over our earning potential.
Here are three proactive things you can do to ensure a steady stream of buyers.
- Learn to prospect: There is that word. It conjures up the notion of cold calling and telemarketers; but really, it’s about talking to people and asking the right questions to see if they are a good fit for what you offer.
- Have a systematic referral process: That line many have in their email signature, unfortunately is not going to provide the steady stream of prospects you need to thrive. You will need a proactive, systematic process to regularly reach those and only those people you want as customers.
- Make time for 1 and 2 everyday: These are not one-time activities; they should be a part of your daily routine. If you practiced regularly, you should have more than enough qualified prospects.
There is a place for marketing but focus the bulk of your efforts on selling and you can spend more time doing what you want than worrying when the next commission will come.
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor and best-selling author. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry.
His book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com. For information on the Wealthy Travel Agent Academy’s business transformation programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com
Get Your SHIP Together, will soon be available as an audiobook on Audible.com.