Author Archives: Mike Marchev

There are 1721 articles by Mike Marchev published on this site.

Beware of What You Read

“All Indications Point Toward a Banner Year For Travel Professionals According to James T. Bigelow”

How do you feel after reading this good news? How do you feel after reading any favorable forecast depicting a promising future?

You don’t know the writer, and he or she doesn’t know you. Yet, I am quite certain that you are feeling better about your travel business knowing a bright light at the end of the tunnel is being forecasted.

Things are looking up, according to some person known as an “authority.” In this case, his name is James T. Bigelow. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You “Useful?”

Today I want you to think about the word “useful.”

I believe that by just thinking about this word, your contribution to your prospects and clients is bound to improve. By following your thoughts and becoming “more” useful your life will immediately change for the good.

Question: Are you useful? Are there opportunities for you to become more useful?

Think about it. I am certain your performance, and the way you approach prospects and clients, will begin to change once you start addressing these two questions.

How you become more useful is something only you can determine. I can’t possibly know what value you are providing now, so I can’t intelligently recommend Read the rest of this entry »

“Who do you trust?”

A handful of seasoned travel agents will recognize these four words as the title of a TV show first introduced in the early fifties and hosted by Johnny Carson.

Fast-forward nearly 70 years and these four words still represent an interesting question.

Exactly who do you trust today?

  • Do you trust the salespeople down at your local car dealership?
  • Do you trust infomercial TV personalities?
  • Do you trust politicians? (Local or national?)
  • Do you trust news representatives . . . or weather-personalities?
  • Do you trust your children? Your spouse? Your neighbors?
  • Do you trust what you read—and what you Google?
  • Do you trust me?

Read the rest of this entry »

Being Your Own Boss

Being “my own boss” for over thirty-five years has taught me quite a bit about persistence, resilience, and discipline.

Now that I think about it, words like focus, collaboration, creativity, and boldness also fit. I’ve learned a lot through the years. Although, it seems the more experience I’ve gained the more I don’t understand.

Here are five areas that still leave me scratching my head: Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing Lasts Forever

Just yesterday, my wife read me a story that inferred that over 50 well-known restaurants were in danger of going out of business… within the next 12 months. Many of which surprised me, but perhaps they should not have.

I recalled an article I read a few years back that announced the retail store Dressbarn was to close all 650 stores. This news meant nothing to me, but it was my wife who let out a quiet scream of concern. “I have a few sweaters and tops from Dressbarn that I absolutely love.”

Yesterdays announcement, along with the Dressbarn article, reminded me that yesterday’s accomplishments are, in fact, yesterday’s news Read the rest of this entry »

I remember as if it were yesterday, hearing the following words at the home of two Russian immigrants in Chicago. The husband was an emergency room surgeon, while his wife was a successful travel agent. Their home was modest, yet beautifully furnished. When they first arrived in the states as youngsters, neither one could speak a word of English.

The good doctor’s words at the dinner table will stick with me forever. After passing the rolls, he said, “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it.” Those words stuck with me ever since.

That was more than 25 years ago, and I think of that sentence every time I present to a room full of travel professionals. With a little poetic license, I now put a different spin on the same belief.

“If you can’t make it in the travel business, you can’t make it.”

How can I say this with the competition being what it is?

I say the following with all due respect: Whether home-based or not, travel agents grow on trees—a dime a dozen—they are everywhere. And, the internet makes it easy to book trips on one’s own.

Suppliers are contacting travelers directly and doing end-runs. The Big Box Stores are cutting prices. Clients to not want to pay fees and supplier commissions are being sliced and diced. “Mike, and you’re telling me if I can’t make it in this business there is something wrong with “me?” Explain, please!  Read the rest of this entry »

I am writing this article at ten minutes to three in the morning. Maybe you too have trouble sleeping as the world continues to spin, while the days, weeks, months and years show no interest in slowing down. At this time of night, I find myself thinking about things I have trouble understanding… like whatever happened to telling the truth.

Somebody recently mentioned in conversation that “lying” today appears to have become an acceptable behavior. I find this belief to be incredible and downright insulting.

“To tell you the truth, I’m …” Don’t you just LOVE this phrase? Or, “As long as we are being honest….” Where along the line did we ever get the notion that it is okay to be dishonest… that it is okay to tell a lie?

Here is an idea: Let’s be honest with each other for a change. Let’s see how it feels to simply tell the naked truth. You go first. (Incredible!) Read the rest of this entry »

The idea for this week’s article came to me while filling out the morning USA Today Crossword Puzzle. In and of itself there is no connection, so I don’t want you to spend any time trying to connect the dots. I suppose my point is that ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.

The truth is that your clients and future clients are out there dancing to the beat of their own drum. The chances are very good they are not doing the fox trot to the same rhythms. They are all focused on their own set of circumstances, and worrying about whatever it is they worry about. For you to enter their world thinking, or believing, that you can soon have them focusing on your agenda is nothing short of delusional. But there is a way. Read the rest of this entry »

For years, I gave credit to Voltaire for sharing this sage advice. I later attributed this key reminder to the rightful author, Louis Pasteur. Regardless of who first came up with this “beauty,” it remains one of my favorite quotes.

In our current (soon-to-be post Covid-19) environment, I am hearing many agents say they are experiencing the debilitating phenomenon known as “overwhelm.” My fear is that these very same agents may resort to the age-old strategy known as WHP… which stands for “wishing, hoping and praying.”

Let me be quick to mention that I have nothing against making wishes when blowing out birthday candles, hoping for sunny 4th of July weekends, and praying for guidance from above when confronted with a life-changing decision. All three situations get a “thumbs-up” from me. But, when it comes to building and sustaining a business, I am afraid it takes a little more effort on your part, and not so much enticement from your local soothsayer. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Feel?

How do you really feel?

Your knee-jerk response might sound something like these: “I feel fine.” “I’m okay.” “Can’t complain.” “Good as usual.” Quickly responding with a reply like this is nothing more than a quick way to by-pass the interrogation. I’ll ask you again— How do you really feel?

Have you taken the time in the last few weeks/months/years to give yourself the old once-over, as it pertains to your true feelings? If not, I strongly suggest you do… sooner, rather than later.

To assist you in this meaningful reflection, allow me to do a deep dive into Read the rest of this entry »

CONFIDENT PEOPLE. I recently had the pleasure of attending my great niece’s dance recital. Mila will be five years old in August, and she is on her way to becoming a multi-talented young lady. This year’s performance was staged under a tent in a freshly mowed hay field in upstate New York—to satisfy the open-air mask requirements of Covid-19. This little girl exudes confidence, and I applaud her parents for that. In a word, the entire afternoon and performance was FABULOUS.

On more than one occasion, I found myself smiling and feeling my emotional button being pushed. I was watching a group of young people “doing their thing” after hours of training, rehearsal, practice, corrected errors and polished dance routines. In addition to being entertained, I was being reminded of how overnight success does not come by accident. Each and every one of these kids was earning the respect of Read the rest of this entry »

“Maybe I’m not listening to your pitch because the 100 people who came before you abused my trust, stole my time, and disrespected my attention.

Perhaps I’m not buying from you because the last time someone like you earned my trust, he broke my heart.

People are never irrational. They often act on memories and pressures that you’re unaware of.”

This was a quote taken from Seth Godin’s Blog post a few years back. It rang true to me then, and it is just as poignant today. Maybe more so, as we slowly climb back from the change in mindset Covid-19 has created. Read the rest of this entry »

I Don’t Like Everybody

When I mention this in my live programs, I usually get more than a few giggles in disbelief. I then tell the audience: “I mean it. I don’t like a lot of people. Who said that I have to ‘like’ everybody? The word ‘people’ is too general for me to rubber-stamp my affection toward anybody and everybody who can fog a mirror.”

Like in my live programs, I think it is time to hear my rationale.

The secret is not to like everybody, but to like the people you like. And then, be willing and eager to do everything within your power to service these people. No rules. No exceptions. No excuses. Not when you just feel like it. All the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Someday Soon!

It was 7:05 am on a Thursday morning when I stumbled across a recent blog post by Seth Godin. It was titled Date Certain. Not being sure what that meant, I clicked on the link and was immediately nodding my head in agreement.

The gist of Seth’s advice that day was to “pick a date”—any date. Flip your calendar, circle a day and month in the not-to-distant future. For lack of a better term, let’s refer to this as your target date. Using this date as your deadline, what are you planning to accomplish? What will you do? Who will you meet? Who will you be? How will you be different? How will you be better? By that date. Read the rest of this entry »

200-1 Odds? Go Figure!

This year’s PGA golf tournament was both entertaining and historic. The winner, by the way, was a 200-1 longshot. Nobody in the history of the game has ever won a “major” golf tournament at his age.

The final day was an up and down seesaw of great shots, followed by less than great shots. As a matter of fact, I personally have hit a few more attractive shots than some viewed on television on that particular Sunday. What appeared to be a runaway at first glance came down to the final hole. In the end, it was Phil Mickelson who took the final bow at age 50 plus eleven months. Read the rest of this entry »

I am often asked where I get ideas for my columns. My answer without hesitation is… everywhere. A day does not pass, or a TV show perused, or an evening news soundbite heard, or a trip to the post office taken where I am not bombarded with “fodder” that has my mind spinning with ideas and some sort of reaction.

Today’s observation and resultant opinion stems from a conversation between my wife’s physical therapist and myself. We were sitting at our breakfast table while he was doing something therapeutic to my wife’s foot (bone spur).

During his last visit, I gifted this gentleman a book I wrote with tips directed toward high school graduates Read the rest of this entry »

When I set out on the journey of self-employment nearly 40 years ago, I had my first brochure professionally produced. I planned to include the piece in all of my future sales letters. I recently found an original copy, and see that my tips are just as meaningful today. Here they are verbatim for you to internalize. Read the rest of this entry »

A question I often ask myself is, “why are some travel agents more successful than others when they are all playing on the same gameboard.?” The marketplace is available to everybody. The destinations are available to everybody. The marketing tools are available to everybody. The fees are more or less competitive. So, why do some agents do so much better than others?

In most cases, the answer is simple. According to me and my 40 years of hands-on experience in the travel industry, successful agents do more, try more, fail more, get up earlier, think out of the box Read the rest of this entry »

If there is a single question I am asked more often than others, it’s: When do you stop calling on a prospect who either (1) fails to answer your emails, (2) does not return your phone calls, or (3) tells you they are not interested. This is a valid question. But it is also one that every single sales professional tussles with regardless of their industry.

Let’s look at this quandary from a different angle… by taking a walk in your prospect’s shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Whether you follow horse racing or not, or even if you could not care less about another sports analogy, this past Saturday featured the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby. For you non-sports fans, this is a horse race held in Louisville, KY where much of the pre-race TV viewing comments are focused on the women’s hat selections in and around the track.

The odds-on favorites, where all smart betters placed their bets, were Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie. Rumor had it that one horse-racing aficionado placed a $2.5 million bet on Essential Quality. One would think he knew what he was doing. Read the rest of this entry »

This week’s message is important, and I hope those reading it will pause long enough to internalize the unparalleled benefits from doing this right.

I am currently experiencing bi-weekly physical therapy for a calf muscle that refuses to cooperate as it should, when preparing for a 13.1 mile run. This is the third element of the 70.3 mile Ironman competition I have been preparing for what seems like ages. Race day is a mere 17 days away, and I am beginning to question my sanity. But I digress.

Yesterday, while the PT woman was working on my calf, I found myself listening to the other patients in the room as they twisted and turned through their regimens. Although I am no spring chicken myself, most of these people had a few years on me. Read the rest of this entry »