Recently, I asked my Facebook followers, “What is your biggest challenge standing between you and your 2020 goals?” The answers were pretty much what you would expect.
By far the biggest challenge was “a lack of qualified clients.” This is not surprising considering most independent contractors are responsible for sourcing their own clients.
A number of folks chimed in with their opinions on how to overcome the various challenges that were posted. To many, their only outside connection to their fellow agents is via social media.
A word of caution: Before taking their advice as the gospel, consider the source.
In my experience, many of the more frequent posters / “experts” have very little experience selling travel or even business in general. What they do have are a lot of opinions and time to establish an online persona.
When someone says they have “a lot” of a certain type of client, sell “a lot” of a certain product, or get “a lot” of their clients via social media and other sources, you have to ask the question, “How much is a lot?” If you consider the average annual sales for an independent contractor is only about $50,000, “a lot” really isn’t much.
But I regress. Digging deeper, I asked what they are doing to find new clients. The answers ranged from word of mouth, advertising in local flyers, social media, and Facebook advertising. In other words, marketing.
Not even one person mentioned any form of prospecting. They are simply investing time and money waiting for new clients to come to them. It is no wonder why so many independent contractors fail to meet their own expectations and eventually lose interest in the business.
Finding new clients is relatively easy, if you actively and consistently engage in prospecting.
Travel agents are the commissioned sales force of the industry; yet, we teach them how to market themselves (and not very well in most cases) like a much larger business, instead of concentrating on the basic, fundamental skills needed to achieve success in the role. But changing behavior is an uphill battle.
I sound like a broken record, but until we start embracing the proactive skills that define our role as the sales people of the vacation travel industry, we will continue to underserve the vacationing pubic and leave the door open for suppliers to grow their direct sales channels.
Dan Chappelle is a sought-after sales performance and management expert specializing in the travel and tourism industry. His best-selling book “Get Your S.H.I.P. Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales” is available on Amazon and Audible. To learn how Dan can help you accelerate your sales, visit www.WealthyTravelAgent.com
© Dan Chappelle / CCI, Inc.