As the economy is in a state of flux and many experts are predicting a recession in the near future, we are all poised to be placed into another rough patch for your businesses. The time to take action is now when we can be proactive and not play catch up. OK, since I said there were 20 things to do to survive, shall we continue?
11. Have a good website
There is no excuse for a crappy website today. With offerings from TRO’s own Voyager Websites , Square Space, Wix, and WordPress, why look elsewhere. Just make sure it is easy to navigate (ask a friend), offers good information, and is easy for you to update!
12. Use your tech
There is so much power in our hands. Your phone. Are you using it to its potential? Your clients want answers now, so you had better be responding as soon as it is safe or practical. Email, text, voicemail, messaging, tweeting, snapping—all doable from pretty much anywhere in the world.
13. Improve your processes
Look at all of your processes in the office. Scour them and find ways to do things faster. Can you spend an hour developing a template with formulas in Excel to analyze your preferred sales instead of trying to re-figure it out every quarter? It can be as simple as moving an in-basket to a different location. Find ways to be more efficient.
14. Know when to ask for a fee
I know many agents do not charge fees. I disagree with 100% of them, but that is a different conversation. However, there are times when fees should be mandatory; so make sure you are charging them. Airline tickets are the obvious one. Why spend 30 minutes on an airline ticket to earn zero and allow a commissioned sale go to voicemail setting you up to look unresponsive? Got a PITA client? You know you need to charge a fee.
15. Engage with social media
This probably needs to go without mention, but…. If you are not on social media, get there. At a bare minimum you need a Facebook Page for your business and you need to engage with your “likes”. Do not constantly sell them. Engage. Ask questions. Have them share favorite travel memories. And if you do group trips, I highly recommend creating individual Facebook Groups for each trip to allow group travelers to engage prior to the trip—just make sure the permissions of the group are set appropriately—searchable and discoverable, but membership needs to be approved.
16. Partner to get new leads
If this economy tanks, leads will be critical. Get out there and network and get your lead generators in place. What’s a lead generator? Past clients, group pied pipers, chambers of commerce, those “leads” groups.
17. Improve your writing
And this particularly includes email. Yes, I know email is a quick means of communication and not nearly as formal as a letter—and slightly more formal than a text. BUT, you are a professional. Leave the emoticons for your kids. Use spell check. Make sure if you ever use the word “public” that the “L” is in there—spell check will miss it all the time! Impressions matter and this one is a big one! Many community colleges offer classes on this for continuing education. Check them out.
KTHXBAI ßsee how crappy that looks and sounds?
18. Sharpen your pitch
First impressions count. They may be in writing, on the phone, or (egads) in person. In any case, make sure you now how you want to introduce yourself and do it eloquently and with authority.
19. Sell yourself, not the deal of the day
The old adage “how bad does a cheap vacation need to be to make it worthwhile?” holds true. Clients are not coming to you for deals. Trust me, they can screw up their own vacations with more expertise than you know. Do not sell deals. Sell yourself and your expertise along with their experience!
20. Be ready to zig….or zag
The only constant in this industry is change. Be ready for it. It may come in the form of reduced or eliminated commissions. It may come in the form of some crazy disease no one has ever heard of. Or a series of mysterious deaths on a Caribbean island. Or a war. Or a recession. When the industry throws you a fastball, you need to be prepared to take a swing.
And finally, as I end this list, remember we are all in this together. We are competitors and colleagues alike. But we need to be here for one another and for those who follow us. Yes, none of us will be doing this forever! Help a brother or sister out. Help a youngster get started on the right path. And as ne of my favorite artists from New Orleans says.. Be Nice Or Leave.
OK there are the second ten actionable areas to help move your agency forward. Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment!