As a travel industry professional, I have seen the following scenario unfold countless times—always with one of two endings.
When you first decided to become an independent travel professional, you were excited to be embarking on a new career that could take you all over the world, doing what others only dreamed about, and heck—you were even going to get paid for it! The thought of associating yourself with a trusted brand or finding a business model that worked for you made the decision that much easier. Regardless of the reason—you jumped in with both feet.
Now you feel like the pumpkin that was Cinderella’s beautiful carriage until the clock ticked past midnight. Your host agency provided many of the tools & training you need, but you still feel lost– like you really don’t know what to do next or, in some cases, even where to start? Sound familiar? You are not alone, and these feelings are very common for any small independent business person regardless of industry.
You probably did not think about them too much when you made the decision, but in hindsight, you need to ask yourself these four questions. Remember, it’s not too late.
- “What is it that gets me out of bed each day to build my business?” Maybe it’s to help put the kids through college, a second career, a part time retirement income, or my favorite, “I love to travel; so, I thought it would be fun to be a travel agent.” Whatever the reason—is it a valid one? If you can’t answer this, you need to step back and quickly figure it out. An overwhelming sense of purpose, the “why” you do something, is the most important factor to your success.
- “Do I have the necessary skills?” Do I have, or am I willing to acquire, the product knowledge needed to be considered an expert in my field? Management guru Peter Drucker defines the purpose of a business as this, “to simply create & keep customers.” Do you have the prospecting and sales skills to create customers for your company? Are you willing to hire a business coach or sales mentor to help you develop the skills you need and focus your business where it can be most profitable?
- “Do my daily habits contribute to or get in the way of my success?” Our primal motivators: Pain vs Pleasure. How you view each of these influences your daily habits. For example, if you view calling 10 prospects a day as a negative – that they will probably say “No” or hang up on you, then this is seen as pain – a habit to avoid. However, if you frame those 10 calls as potential sales, you will see it as a good habit that brings you pleasure and reward. The key is to do the things both personally and professionally each day to positively contribute to the success of your business.
- “Do I have the ability to manage my business and myself?” Do you have short- and long-term goals? Are they written down; do they have a date attached? How do you manage your time? This is the one thing we can never get back so we must plan the most efficient use of it and embrace the tools available to do so. You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” What are the important things to measure for your success?
Each of you will answer these questions differently and, as I mentioned earlier, one of two results will occur. For some, you will come to the realization that being the owner of a travel business is not really the line of work you want to pursue. That’s ok – it’s best to conclude this sooner than later before you and your host invest too much in your business. But for most of you, the clarity that comes from this will allow you to again see your “why”, to become more engaged, and to pledge the resources needed in your business.
Everyone wins – you can focus on building a successful travel business that matters to you and your customers. It’s your choice.
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.