You’ve set up your home-based travel agency. With access to an abundance of resources and suppliers, you’re now ready to begin booking holidays all around the world! But customers don’t grow on trees. You need to go and find them yourself which isn’t always the easiest task.
The good news is, holidays are a very exciting thing to talk about. Most people love going on holiday so sparking up conversation should be a breeze.
That’s why networking is an essential business activity. Not only does it help spread the word of your business, but it’s a great opportunity to meet vital business contacts, share ideas and find inspiration. Some of the most successful business people in the world swear by networking. For example, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, has stressed how vital networking has been in his career. Why do you think Virgin is such a versatile company? From aviation travel to mobile phones, Branson’s empire is made possible because of the great connections he has formed through networking.
Formal Networking Groups
Networking events can typically seem daunting. Early starts and late finishes, talking to new people and even travelling long distances are all parts of formal networking. But it’s important to know that everyone there is in the same position. You simply need to start conversation and speak confidently about your services.
Remember though, it’s not just customers you’re networking to. As afore mentioned with Richard Branson, important contacts can be found during networking. For example, you could find a brilliant wedding planner that can recommend your travel services to their customers looking for honeymoons.
Due to the rise of social media, networking is now easier than ever. You can find business partners in an instant thanks to the likes Facebook and LinkedIn. We encourage all our homeworkers to set up a Facebook page for their travel business because it’s a great platform for making your friends, family and others aware of your business through invites.
LinkedIn is a purely business focused social network making it perfect for showing off your business. However, being business focussed is also this platforms downfall; a lot of people on LinkedIn will be pushing the hard sell, but it is worth kissing a lot of frogs to find your prince.
Informal Networking Groups
It will be important to know, that you’re most likely already in number of networking groups. This could be: Book clubs, sports teams, school parents or even your neighbours! Don’t forget to utilise these groups, this is where you can create long lasting customers that will use your services time and time again. Aim to speak to one new person about your business every day.
Building a business from scratch is no easy task, it requires time and focus. It takes 3-6 months for a trusting relationship to form. Be sure to stick with your customers, show them why they should always book via you. Remember that ‘people buy from people’ that’s one of our favourite phrases here at Inspire because its so true! The great part about being a personal travel agent is, its all under your name. You don’t adopt a big corporate name, its your business.
It’s all well and good being extra professional attending networking events but remember to be human. You don’t need to gain something out of every business encounter, simply asking a potential contact out for breakfast/lunch is a great move. There doesn’t even have to be an agenda, this is so powerful as it shows that you’re more of a prince, not one of the frogs constantly on the “SELL SELL SELL” mentality.