Enhancing What You Have: How to Finish 2019 Strong

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I learned a lot from speaking with Karen Upchurch of Odyssey Travel, who is featured on our cover this month.

The key takeaway for me was the simple thought of educating your advisors so they can sell better and sell more. Karen’s strategy is, that if each her advisors enhance their revenue by just 10 percent this year, her agency will be in a good place.

She is a former teacher, so the notion of educating her team is a natural one for her. It’s not a concept that will come naturally to everyone, however, as we all manage differently and we all have diverse ways of dealing with business.

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Ruthanne Terrero

Now that we’re halfway through 2019, I suggest you take a look at your top independent contractors, or at your own business, to determine how you can push through the rest of the year to surpass your goals. Would a “sales 101” refresher that provides a process on how to reengage with your existing clients be beneficial? How about the art of actually closing that sale? These best practices can fall by the wayside as you travel extensively to learn about new places or as you toil to keep up with the day-to-day of running a business.

Even if your independent contractors, understandably, want to work as independently as possible, can you rein them in to enhance their knowledge on products you want them to be selling? It might be a challenge to get everyone in one virtual place, but if you have specific knowledge that you want them to absorb, don’t be shy about assembling them to point them down the path you’ve chosen for your business.

Karen Upchurch is also all about bringing in the next generation of travel advisors to her agency. She’s actually launched a travel class that meets weekly where she provides a full curriculum of how to be a travel advisor. Creating a business plan and crafting a list of potential customers are just two of the components of her class. At the end of the program, she selects four advisors to join her agency. She keeps that number small so that she can continue to mentor the new advisors as they launch their career with Odyssey Travel. She even provides them with her cell phone number so they can call her on the weekend in case they need advice on helping a client.

Like all great ideas, these strategies that Karen has put in to place sound simple enough, but they’re actually quite complex when it comes to implementing them because they involve working with people who have different needs and views of how to get things done.

One last takeaway from Karen Upchurch? Always be on the lookout for new destinations to propose to your clients. She has been in the business for quite some time and yet she’s taken an entirely new look at her business and become a South American specialist. The destination appeals to her clients who have done Europe and Africa and want something new. It also speaks to younger clients who want a vacation filled with adventure. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and to rewrite the story of where your clients can go on their dream vacations.

Where will the rest of this year take you? Write a new business plan to ensure the next few months are filled with tactical plans that will deliver extraordinary revenue in 2019. It’s time to reinforce your January goals and to create new luxury opportunities for your best-traveled customers.

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