Now let's apply this analogy of so called 'teamwork' to your agency and to your role of owning, managing, marketing, selling and closing. Here's what you can arrange so that the message is socked home:
1. Bring your team together now and watch a re-run or the next match.
2. Ask them to shout out as the game progresses what the player should do.
3. Count the number of times a player passes to the opposing team.
4. Count the number of times a member of the same team is not paying attention.
5. Shout out when the player should shoot for goal.
6. Count the minutes of time wasted in set routines that do not work.
7. Ask your team to point out the player who should be "fired" from the field and a another player brought on.
Okay you get the message. You and your agency team are going to be shouting at a TV screen in order to learn how they themselves should play their own game - the game of selling travel. As the owner manager you will be shouting at the TV to learn to - especially what to do when you have a poor performing player on the team. Answer: you must make a change and make it quickly.
Teamwork is great when it works. The challenge with teams is the fact that there are many different types. Sometimes there is a self-managed team, a team run by a team lead, or a manager that is someone not even connected to the team living in another city, there are hub & spoke teams and teams of very talented individuals (keyword) who conform to 'team' work and put their individual skills on the back burner, and there are teams who come together once in a while to report in.
As an owner/manager the lessons you'll learn watching the Euro 2012 matches can be applied to your marketing too. You can dribble the marketing ball for hours if you wish or you could decide to go for goal now and take your best shot. For sure, timing is everything - on the field and in the agency. When you see, hear and read about a new tour, a destination being revived and new cruise options, at the very least you could notify your clients through your usual communication channels - most of which are what we call passive, which means the customer has complete control of the sales process, if it ever reaches that level.
The telephone remains your one and only direct and assertive channel, other than face to face, to connect live to your client and to get the news out where it belongs. The digital version of face-to-face is Skype. If you think about a substitute for the telephone, go with Skype and chat with your clients online, on camera and save the dribbling for other channels.
The passive channel is the equivalent of dribbling the ball around the soccer pitch, passing it off to another team player, receiving the ball back for another few seconds of dribbling followed by a quick run up the pitch... and by the time you get into position to do anything, the opportunity has passed.
Making the call: having done the math I can tell you that to telephone and talk to 1,000 clients takes one agent, 21 days. These are 21 x 8-hour days and includes, dialing time, the call going to voice-mail, message time, the number of call backs to reach and speak to the client and the conversational time too. Generally it takes about 3 calls to reach a client after the initial call to voice mail. Let's say on average a counsellor has 300 active clients and let's say that to call these 300 back would take one week. That's doable. That is a shot on goal.
From those 300, you could carve out the cruisers and we'll go for the 75 active cruisers - to call them to tell them some wonderful news could be done in 2-3 days. Another and targeted shot on goal. Next, let's take aim at the touring types, the religous, the wine lovers, the adventurers and the sun worshippers. Each a goal to be scored if you stopped to take aim and go for that goal. Over that one-week period you could call all 300 of your active clients, position yourself and your offer to suit their interests and shoot to score.
A word about substitutes and replacement players - as an owner-manager you'll want to keep a list of possible substitutes trained up for the moment you are required to pull one of your "players" off the field. Too many times owners have no back up plans for when a member of the agency team falls sick, is hired away, or simply does not perform and has to be terminated.
A word about coaching. There are coaches and there are coaches - if you cannot do coach well best to hire in a travel trade business coach and let them raise the bar for your team to stretch for.
A word about closing the sale. Like scoring the goal, if you take too long to make your move the opportunity has passed. Practise trial closing and practise go-for-goal closing too. One of the main challenges to agency sales is simply the fact that few travel counsellors practice what to say, how to say it and when to say it. I don't mean pratice once and that's it. I mean each week when you hold that sales meeting (you do don't you?) you throw out a sales situation and everyone must try to close it. Chat about the best close, then everyone tries it out. The key to this 'role play' or 'simulation' is this - each person must say the words, utter the full sentence or two plus use the right body language and brochure or whatever it is you have for support. Do not let your team get away with saying: "That's how I would do it... like she did." Or, "Yes, me too..." This is all about SHOW YOU KNOW and proving it out by doing it and demonstrating you can say the words and ask for the sale. As the owner, manager, coach it's your job to make sure each person gets to perform for their team and shoot to score!
Check the Euro 2012 schedule and plan your training session. If you can record one of the matches, you can host the training session during lunch, after 5pm or on a Saturday morning.