It’s mid-November. Everybody is aiming towards summer break and counting the days towards Christmas. There is a lonely crowd amongst us, though, called job seekers. For them, this time of year is frustrating…and January couldn’t come quicker. Each one’s scenario is different – some took on further studies and are now hoping to apply their […]
I recently had a consultation with a tour operator. His business is young and competing hard for market share in the Western Cape. Let’s face it, Cape Town is hot property in the tourism arena. As the discussion unfolded and he shared his history and strategy with me, I could tick many boxes, so to say. This entrepreneur has many active marketing tools in place and they’re drawing attention. But, being young in the travel biz, he is a bit disillusioned by the winter slump. He really thought he was doing something critically wrong…therefore his cry for help to me.
Through our conversation I realised that my client, even though he has done his homework well and set up a structurally sound business, can improve on his personal selling skills. As I explained to him, prospective customers don’t always find businesses that meet their needs and wants – often businesses need to do some hard selling to reach, gain and retain clients. Selling is a skill that can be taught and learnt. It doesn’t come natural for everyone. Aptitude obviously helps, but with proper experiential guidance anyone’s selling skills can improve.
Selling is a personal affaire. It involves people selling products and services to people. Confidence is essential, but even more important is preparation – developing a sales pitch: an irresistible, convincing yet tactful, personalised plan. Yes, a pitch is a plan, but not memorised and not set in stone. A successful pitch is a combined product of the person delivering it and the information that is exchanged between the salesperson and the prospective client. Information alone won’t necessarily convince the client to purchase. It might, but sometimes the deal needs to be sealed by the charisma of a passionate salesperson.
In my opinion, passion cannot be taught. Passion develops when a person’s interest and talent meets in a conducive environment. That’s why entrepreneurs are often good salespeople – they create their own environment where they strive towards developing their interest into a successful business by applying their talent and energy. But, selling has no guarantee of sales. Competition is hard and consumers’ pockets are more limited than before. In short, its challenging out there! Many a salesperson has given up. My client, the tour operator, and many others alike, has chosen me as their soundboard, confidant and business consultant, because I’m well trained and an active, experienced travel practitioner myself. I know the challenges out there.
My passion is to help entrepreneurs fight through the rough patches in business towards greater heights!
Contact me on email@example.com to book a consultation. I look forward to helping your business grow!
I have had the privilege of consulting several start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners in the last three years. Majority of my clients are one-man tour operators with no one else to turn to when they need a sound board. My role is not always to have all the answers, neither do I know everything there is to know. Rather than playing mister know-it-all, I engage with my clients in reflective and constructive conversation. Sometimes I ask leading questions, other times I listen, echo what they’ve said and merely suggest another line of thought, which brings clients to their own answers. Some clients need more direct strategic input and others are kind-of sure of their case, but just need that last assurance from someone objective like myself. It is such a pleasure to see someone sit back, reflect on what we discussed and witness how they have new courage to take the next step, whatever it may be.
I am also privileged to have lectured tourism at several higher education institutions in and around Cape Town. I’m still involved at one specific university, teaching at pre- and graduate level. My studies in higher education teaching and learning and several years of experience in teaching has taught me lots about different approaches to teaching and facilitating…it’s not always a case of “telling” students what they need to know, but rather a combination of that and leading them towards exploring, encountering and constructing new knowledge. Some students need more assistance than others, be it in understanding, applying, analysing or whatever the task at hand may be.
…I don’t mean to compare my clients with students. Rather, I’m trying to highlight that the process of helping people, be it clients or students, through their inherent boundaries and limitations towards newly grasped concepts and/or awaiting opportunities, stays the same. We’re not meant to learn alone. Instead, we’re social beings meant to thrive together!
My professional career has taken me through various components of tour operating, hoteling, travel coordinating and marketing. I have gained valuable experience, insights, skills and contacts. I am a product of many others’ training and leadership. I’ve had the chances to ask questions, learn, try, make mistakes, conquer challenges and taste success. I have studied, worked and played. Today, I have the privilege of sharing my knowledge, skills and experience with many others in various settings, for the benefit of the greater travel and tourism industry. I am humbled by this privilege.