I am often asked about how I have been able to enjoy such a long and diverse career (agency, consortia, supplier, and now as a business adviser) in the travel industry.
The answer is simpler than you might expect. For me, it boils down to these three things.
I really wanted to work on cruise ships, so I did. I really wanted to start a travel agency, so I did. I really thought it would be fun to work for a consortium, so I did (and it was so fun – I worked for two). I really thought it would be cool to be a sales executive for a cruise line, so I did (and it was). I really wanted to give back by coaching professional travel advisers and agency owners to become more successful in business and in life, so I did.
And I just as important – I figured out how to get them. If you really want to get new clients, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.
I never finished college, but I understood the importance of being able to effectively communicate, present, and build a network. There were also technical skills required for each role and those I didn’t already have, I learned. I studied and practiced and then did it some more. Your experiences make up who you are, but of all the skills I learned - how to sell is arguably the most important. Whether you are selling a product, an idea, or yourself, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
My parents owned multiple businesses. Most failed. Of those, I would only call one a real success, but that didn’t stop them from trying. The summer I sold books door to door – my real education, I failed every day. I learned not to dwell on it and move on to the next house. The more it happened (repetition), the easier it becomes. It doesn’t define who you are. This is probably why when I joined the corporate world, I never lived in fear of losing my job. From my perspective, there is always another door, another opportunity once you learn to accept failure as part of the path to success.
One rarely achieves much all alone. I am proof of that. Cultivate your networks. Were it not for a strong network of people who respected what I can offer, there is no way I could have ever achieved these career milestones. As marketing consultant David Arvin likes to say, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.”
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor and best-selling author. His training and consulting firm help develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry. His book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.
For information on the Wealthy Travel Agent Academy’s business building programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com
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