Does it often seem that the only time people contact you is when they are in a jam? When they have a problem? When they need help? Never when things are going smoothly? Congratulations. That is exactly how you want it to be.
Although I am a better than average swimmer, I am comforted when I see a lifeguard present and on alert. I don’t remember ever approaching a lifeguard stand to just “shoot the breeze.” In most cases, lifeguards are summoned when something goes wrong, and usually without advance notice. Then, a highly trained professional springs into action with an efficient, thorough, and polished display of expertise — and without an attitude.
The same analogy pertains to firefighters. They are on active duty for long and, often, boring shifts. And like the lifeguard, they are only asked to participate when there is a problem. But once a problem surfaces, they too respond with great alacrity and never do they appear disinterested or put-out.
Firefighters are professionals who are comfortable with the associated stresses, frustrations, and demands placed on them from the public… this is what they have been trained to do. They do not appear to resent having to watch over us while remaining prepared and braced for an unexpected emergency. For the most part, firefighters take great pride in “watching and waiting” for the opportunity to be of service.
The common denominator is that lifeguards and firefighters clearly understand the purpose of their existence. Their job is to help when help is required. So, what does all this have to do with you and your career? Just about everything. You, too, are in the business of helping people. Nothing more and nothing less. Think of your role as that of a lifeguard or firefighter… to offer your talents, skills, and experience in a time of need… whenever called upon.
Being the person clients and prospects call on when the going gets tough — what I call being the “Fixer” — is a compliment of the highest order, and how you perform when called upon will determine whether you win clients and prospects over for life, or whether your tenure with them will be relatively fleeting. That performance boils down to two dimensions: (1) your attitude when the “fire alarm” is pulled, and (2) whether you actually put out the fire or just hose it down a little, while your prospect/client slowly chokes on the smoke you are blowing his way.
And for those of you still reading, there is one more analogy I’d like to share. During the “downtimes,” these professionals don’t waste their time. They use the time to strengthen their skills so they will be better prepared when it is time to perform.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. Send for details.