“When you live in your history, you sacrifice your destiny.” Bishop T.D. Jakes
I opened the TESA Mastermind Retreat with this quote. Why? Because the travel professional is stuck living in his or her history. We do it in our personal lives too, without knowing it. Even the name we assign to the profession: travel agent is old, out-dated and defunct. A travel agent is a booker, an order taker. This is a very different role than what is played by the people I know selling travel. If you want to be seen, heard and valued for the services you provide – your ultimate destiny- it’s time to stop living in your history.
We stay stuck in our history for 2 reasons. First, we are afraid of change and second, we don’t know any other way. Here are some signs you are living in your history followed with direction on how to move out of it:
1. You have no regular, consistent marketing systems.
Instead, you rely upon your suppliers for your marketing, using supplier created emails, direct mails, or using their funds and signage at trade shows.
How to move out? Your marketing should be created and driven by you, including regular touches that offer value and connects with your prospects and clients.
2. Your website is a booking engine and/or leads with your many years of experience and passion for travel.
This may sound terrible, but your client could care less about how passionate you are about travel or how many countries you have visited. They are looking for help and direction because their head is spinning from all the options available on the internet and they want someone to guide them in the right direction, someone who will help them make the right choice.
How to move out? Your passion and experience ARE important, but they should not be what you lead with. Instead, you website should meet them where they are so they feel heard. Your website should speak to their immediate needs. Your passion and experience will be obvious in your communication.
3. You complain without realizing it.
Be honest with yourself on this one. In the past week, have you complained about your work? Maybe it’s a difficult prospect, or a supplier not paying enough commission, or a host agency taking more commission than you feel necessary. These are the common ones, but there are endless others. Complaining is the brake on your road to success. It will stop you in your tracks. Complaining is noticing resistance and then putting your focus on the resistance, thus staying stuck.
How to move out? When something worthy of complaint comes up, like a difficult client or price shopping prospect, turn your attention to the new awareness of what you want. Be grateful for the clarity and find eagerness in your belief that those clients will show up for you. For example, if a price shopping prospect who wasted several hours of your time emails you to tell you she has booked the same vacation at Costco, it may seem like you are entitled to a little complaining. Yes, that’s natural. But the longer you complain, the longer you stay stuck. As soon as you can, see the beauty in your clarity that you want to work with clients who aren’t looking anywhere else because they trust you and value your ability. This situation is actually a gift and with some faith, those clients will show up. Situations worthy of complaint WILL come up. The sooner you can pivot out of them, the better.
Create a vision for what you want your business to look like in the future. Maybe it’s 12 months from now, or maybe it’s 5 years from now. Pick a time period that easiest for you to embrace. Get clear on the kinds of clients you want, how much time you are working, how much you are paying yourself and how much travel you are taking for yourself. Then be willing to embrace change and do things differently than what was taught. Be open to new ways of doing it and have the courage to try.