Dear Tammy: I recently have been offered an opportunity to go through both travel agent sales training and product training. I’m a new travel agent to the industry and, to be honest, I don’t really understand the difference. I want to become a great travel agent, but I need to know what the difference is.
Should I go through both or just one? What are the pros and cons of each?
Tammy: Maybe the best way to explain it is like this. Imagine you’re a brand new surgeon. A new company has shown you some of the best new operating equipment on the market today. You want to start using it, but you have no patients. That equipment is now useless to you because you do not have anyone to operate on. It’s the same as a travel agent. You can go and take as much product training as you want. You can learn about new resorts or package deals, but without any customers, you have no one to use it on.
It’s important for you to become a great travel agent first and that means taking travel agent sales training.
Learning how to obtain your customers is the first step to becoming a great travel agent. I’ve been teaching travel agents for years and I know what it takes to become successful. Over time, of course, you will have to go to product training but it’s not that important right now. You first need to learn about marketing, advertising, and networking.
Unless you learn the secrets to becoming not just a travel agent, but a successful entrepreneur, you will not succeed. You need to learn how to compete against the online booking engines, how to gain your clients’ trust and define what it means to be a travel agent.
In the courses I teach, I meet agents who are new to the business and who are so excited about traveling to product training and eager to go on FAM trips. You will! But right now, in order to be successful, you need to focus on generating leads, building a thriving business, using social media and creating brand recognition for yourself.
FAM trips are great because you will learn about the best places to refer your clients to, and product sales training is a unique way of getting to learn about what’s out there. But, like our surgeon, you need to get your clients first. Then, you can build from there.