Travel insights from Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing for Travel Planners International

3 Brutally Honest Truths You Won’t Learn in Business School

A few months ago, I texted one of our travel advisors a lead. She thanked me and then asked, “When do you think would be the best time to follow up with this?”. My response: Now!

Why wouldn’t she want to connect with this lead right away? This travel advisor is a top producing agent, incredibly intelligent and an excellent resource for our newer agents. So why was she hesitating to reach out? She hesitated because she was trying to be polite. She didn’t want to bother her prospective client. And that’s a problem.

Being a successful travel agency owner is hard work. Everyday, countless articles, books, and workshops promise to give you the sacred sales tips or secrets on how to run a business. But let me be frank – no matter how effective these strategies are, they mean nothing if you don’t get over yourself. So, if you’re looking for a secret, there it is – get over yourself and your fears.

Below are three brutally honest truths you need to embrace to achieve true success in your business, (and life).

Truth 1: Keep Yourself on the Hook

A few years ago, I joined the Weight Watchers program and when asked what my goal weight was, I struggled to come up with an answer. Finally, I settled on a goal weight that seemed “safe” (and 35 lbs. more than my actual desired goal weight). Why did I do that? I was letting myself off the hook. It’s something we all do. We’re all afraid of the power we hold and what we’re capable of. It’s so easy to set yourself lower standards but truly, it’s a disservice to ourselves and our clients.

If you have a prospective client interested in a two-week African safari, jump right into that inquiry. Have another client asking about a destination wedding – say I do to this request. I challenge you to keep yourself on the hook. Those that are highly successful in their field know their power and wield it in their businesses. You can do the same. Know what you’re capable of and constantly strive to meet that.

Truth 2: Prideful Inconvenience

Just like the travel advisor in my story, most of us are afraid to be a bother. One of our biggest fears is to seem “pushy”. But as Marianne Williamson wrote, “… there's nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” People are relying on you to do your job! So, show off your expertise. Don’t confuse giving your client options with being pushy. Take pride in being “inconvenient”. Trust me, your clients will appreciate it when they come back from that beautifully curated vacation you designed for them. You told yourself, well, it’s just a honeymoon, but you actually kickstarted the first 10 days of a 50-year marriage. You told yourself, well, it’s just a cruise, but really, it was an opportunity for a family to reconnect. Be the “pushy salesperson” if it means curating a spectacular and authentic experience for your clients. There’s a reason they chose you over Expedia.

Truth 3: Be the Example and Liberate Others

As travel advisors, we make an impact. Say that aloud to yourself – I make an impact.

So why in the hell are you letting your clients settle for inside cabins? Why are you listening to that person that wants to go to Paris for $700, including airfare, in three weeks? What are you doing? Don’t shrink because you don’t want them to feel insecure.

Williamson said, “as we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” So, liberate them by showing off your confidence and expertise. Be bold because you do know what your clients need. That’s your job. That’s your purpose. That’s the opportunity you have, every single day.

Do you see yourself in this? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But if every travel advisor were to adopt these beliefs, the travel industry would be completely different. OTAs wouldn’t stand a chance. But it all starts with you. Without internal changes, an external ripple won’t happen. Comment below on how you’ll keep yourself on the hook, be pridefully inconvenient, and liberate others.

About the Author

Jenn Lee, Travel Planners International’s VP of Sales and Marketing, isn’t shy about her obsession for guiding and leading today’s entrepreneurial-minded travel advisor community. According to Lee, now’s the moment to remind the world that travel advisors aren’t just booking travel, they’re true curators of the future. She believes that those that find success are going beyond boosting their bank account; they’re building a business. Meeting and strategizing with these hustling entrepreneurs-in-the-making is what keep her going. That and her Bulletproof Coffee.

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