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Who is to Blame?

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2018

I was perusing one of the many travel agent forums on Facebook, when I came across a post (since deleted) by a woman who had joined the industry six months earlier and was blaming her marketing and host agency because she has yet to make a sale. 

It quickly garnered over a hundred comments, many from other “host bashers” who took similar time to make their first sale.  While this is unfathomable to me, I understand where they are coming from – sort of. 

It’s no secret, most join our industry because they like to travel, and they like to take care of others.  I haven’t met too many people who actually got into the business to sell something. 

But that’s what we do.  Like it or not, we get paid when and only when we sell something, so doesn’t it make sense to focus on the skills and activities that will produce these repeatable results?  If not, you are probably in the wrong business.

Understand, Sales and Marketing are dependent, yet very different disciplines.  Most marketing people (and a few CEOs) I know would probably starve if they had to actually sell their own product.

Unfortunately, virtually all the industry specific sales training I have experienced throughout my career, is just “marketing” in disguise.  That’s because the bulk of the material is created by marketing, not sales professionals and it shows in the resulting programs.  

Back to the deleted post.  Being a travel adviser is one of the greatest professions on earth, but she and her supporters are clearly frustrated, and her host agency makes for an easy target. While she mentioned in her post that she had attended a few product webinars and host trainings, it was clear she lacked the basic skill set for the job.

More concerning was those who blamed their lack of sales on their marketing.  The industry tends to favor the Field of Dreams approach, “If you build it, he will come.”  But this is where we fail, because it leads advisers, particularly new ones, to believe that they simply need to market, and the sales will take care of themselves.  Let’s be clear, Marketing does not produce sales.  Marketing will produce prospects.  Your personal selling skills will convert prospects into clients.

It’s a safe bet that most of us are not trained marketing professionals – yet we continue to spend considerable effort trying to do their job.  Let the marketing experts with your host, consortia, and preferred suppliers do the heavy lifting, after all that’s why you pay them, and you can concentrate of selling travel.

Many tend to blame someone or something else when they fail.  Instead, they should look in the mirror and learn.  It’s your business and it is up to you, not your host or consortia to take responsibility for its success or failure. Their role is to offer services to support your sales efforts, not replace them.  If you want to learn sales skills from real salespeople, send me an email and I am happy suggest several books and resources.

Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor and best-selling author.  Utilizing his proven six-step framework, his training and consulting firm helps develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry. His best-selling 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 transformation programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com

©2018 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.

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