Who saw a pandemic coming? Not I for sure! But here we are and the good news is that the latest variant may be receding and more people are being vaccinated. All of that adds up to a collective us being able to manage this virus a lot better moving forward. Travel took a big hit on the chin back in March of 2020 and most of us are still standing today. Congratulations, pat yourselves on the back. But did we learn anything?
Everyone’s lessons will be different, but here are mine!
Adversity Begets Possibility
This industry has never faced this type of adversity. Ever! But after the initial shock and shutdowns, we began to see the possibilities. We figured out a way to remain relevant and survive. I made sure that all of my technological tools were up to speed, trimmed costs, cut working hours, took on a side hustle, and made sure my clients and prospects knew I was still alive despite not being able to sell them travel like I used to.
This was kind of a no-brainer for me since I have been working from home (remotely) since I sold my brick-and-mortar agencies back in 2005. But as I looked to other industries, I realized that remote work is here to stay. I also realized I was thankful to not be in commercial real estate. But in a sense, that realization for other industries elevated us “home-based agents” a bit. We were always looked down upon without a “real” office. But now, we all know that real business can be done in a coffee shop, a car, on a beach, in the kitchen, or in a real office as well.
Adapt to Survive
Some agencies closed in March of 2020 and never reopened. The ones that are here today adapted. If you sit back and wait for things to return to normal, you will be hanging the “going out of business” sign-up sooner than you realize. Moving forward, there is no normal. There is a new normal (a phrase I despise) that will be constantly changing. The survivors will be ready for it and will adapt accordingly.
Customer Are Number One
I have written in the past about how customers are not always right. I have suggested you fire some of them. But without customers, we do not exist. We need to keep them alive and returning. It may be tempting from a bottom-line perspective to sell a product that was a dream trip for that elderly customer. But we can’t let a dream turn into a nightmare. Honesty, despite your bottom line, will keep them coming back. Your customer should always be ichi ban. Once they are safe, focus on the second most important priority—the survival of your agency.
A Digital Priority
Imagine if this happened in 1992 when we were doing business on the phone, by fax, and maybe a pager or beeper? To get here today, the technology we had was critical—email, social media, smartphones, laptops, tablets, apps, Zoom, and Teams. None of this is going to change in the future. Ignore advances in tech at your own peril. The next greatest thing will come along, and no one ever wants to be playing catch up.
Whatever it is that you are doing right now in your business, it will define the future trajectory of your business. Be proactive and keep your eye on the ball. And make sure that the lessons learned over the past few years can be put to good use as we move forward!