We are all beginners at some point right? And as a business owner, you want to present a professional image, correct? Thus, it’s natural to want to create a sense of credibility around your business. This is why so many travel professionals participate in specialist courses, join associations, become members of consortia, and get certification that puts 3 letters at the end of their name.
But in my honest opinion, the best form of credibility comes from vulnerability. Your ideal prospects want to do business with service providers they “know, like and trust.” It really is that simple. And vulnerability is the best way to build “know, like and trust.”
So how do you get vulnerable with your ideal prospects before you’ve even met them? By sharing your story. The story of why you do what you do. Where does your passion from travel come from? Why are you in the business of selling travel? I’m pretty sure there is a bigger reason than to make money.
For many people, sharing your story feels uncomfortable. It also can be hard to know where to start. What part do you share? What part do you NOT share? Well, I have a formula that makes it super easy. Follow this formula for writing the “About” section on your website, in your weekly electronic newsletter and anywhere else you are asked to submit an “About.” Follow this formula when casually speaking too. When people ask you, “So how did you get into planning travel?”
The formula for sharing your story is 5 simple letters as follows:
B – Before
Begin your story with your “before” state. Your passion for travel is rooted in what travel has taught you or done for you. You weren’t born with this lesson or experience. So begin your story with describing your before. For example, let’s say you are a romance travel expert who has a fabulous marriage in part because you and your husband committed to taking a vacation together 2 or 3 times a year. You could begin sharing your story by admitting that your marriage wasn’t always fabulous. “Before our commitment to taking a vacation together every 4 months, my husband and I grew apart and felt very disconnected. We felt like room mates….”
C – Conflict
Continue your story by sharing the conflict. One of my favorite sayings is that “crisis makes you focus.” What conflict did you have that drove you to searching for a solution where travel ultimately became the solution? In continuing the example of you being a romance travel expert, your conflict could be that you found yourself in a place where your marriage was on the rocks. Maybe you were considering divorce. Or maybe your marriage ended because of that disconnection (and you are happily remarried with a great man that we will share further in the story). As a seller of travel, your conflict doesn’t have to be overly dramatic, but it’s also OK if it is.
D – Discovery
When “crisis makes you focus,” the benefit is that you are driven to find a solution. What solution did you find in travel? Or what dream did you find in travel. Continuing the story of the romance travel expert, let’s say you did go through an unpleasant divorce and when you found the new man in your life, you committed to never letting the connection fade again. You knew that your relationship needed a committed space to be nurtured and you found that in having a couples only vacation every 4 months. You discovered not only how important it is to have that time together, you also discovered what elements create the space for greater reconnection – like being in the right environment, the importance of romance, and indulging in things like private dinners on the beach, spa treatments together, and exploring new activities together.
R – Result
What’s the result of your discovery? In other words, what are the results of travel being the solution or dream? For the romance travel expert, her result is that her 2nd marriage is better than ever. Fifteen years later, the connection with her spouse is deeper and more solid than it was the day they married.
R – Return
In the end, we all want to make a difference. We are best at teaching the lessons we had to go through ourselves. So, in your story, your discovery of how powerful romance travel was to nurturing a deep, lasting connection with your spouse – one where you still have butterflies in your stomach when you see him again after a long gap – that you wanted to help other couples nurture their connection through planning sensational, romantic escapes.
And that’s the formula! It’s very simple, yet quite effective. When you are willing to open up to your prospects, share your human-ness, you draw them in. Stories sell. And they are incredibly effective at building “Know, Like and Trust.”