Wendi Blum is known as “the queen of reinvention,” a title that grew out of her own journey.
After more than 20 years in pharmaceutical sales, advocacy and training, Blum started over.
The CEO of Success Blueprint, Blum is an international speaker; author of five books focusing on reinvention, goal mastery, and business savvy; workshop leader; success coach, and life-shift guru.
In her presentations—including appearances at travel industry events—Blum blends spiritual concepts with business savvy. She tells audiences how they can use this combination to achieve better business results as well as a better life.
Travel Market Report spoke with Blum about her approach to business and what it can mean for travel agents.
One of your speaking topics is “The New Sales Paradigm.” What is that new paradigm and how can travel agents apply it to their business?
Blum: We all have a concept from past experiences around sales and selling, that it’s sleazy and pushy. So, when someone comes at us with a marketing message or wants to sell us something, we back up. We move away.
The new paradigm is about sharing. It’s a mind shift toward sharing your expertise versus selling your expertise. And when you’re sharing, you’re connecting with people on a different level.
Stay engaged with your clients, and you’ll attract them into your network. And when they’re booking something, you’ll be front of mind. Because of social media, the new sales paradigm is really having a conversation on a consistent basis and providing something of service.
What do you mean by ‘something of service’?
Blum: That might mean writing about a particular area. If you specialize in ski vacations, for example, and you write about the conditions on the slopes and what’s happening in some of the top ski resorts, you keep skiers engaged and interested on a consistent basis, whether they’re booking a trip or not. They would consider you to be a resource.
What are some beliefs that keep travel agents stuck in terms of not seeing the potential for more business and a better return on investment?
Blum: That people are looking for the lowest price for their trip or holiday, which is not true at all. What they really want is the best experience for a good value.
And the belief that there’s a lot of competition. There really is not a lot of competition. It’s only the competition within yourself, to keep getting better and better.
There’s actually collaboration among people who are in the same profession. For example, if you specialize in Hawaii, you can refer clients to an agent who specializes in ski vacations and do cross referrals.
How can agents transform their beliefs so that that they get unstuck?
Blum: That’s a great question, because 90% or more of your success has to do with your inner dialogue and starting to let go of those limiting beliefs.
First, it’s feeling good every day, because you have to have the energy to get up and do your job. So you wake up and do something every day that inspires you. It might be reading an inspirational message.
Somehow, get plugged in, and then start your day that way, because we do business with people who make us feel good and we gravitate toward people who are happy.
Just step through those limiting beliefs a little bit at a time and have an awareness of them. Acknowledge that this is the way you have been thinking and that you’re willing to let go of those beliefs, and step into a more empowering belief of possibility.
What are the most important things agents can do to revamp their marketing materials to boost business?
Blum: It’s so important that your clients actually connect with you as a person. For example, your headshot is important, because it allows for that connection. People can feel who you are. They can put a face to your business, and it becomes more memorable.
From the time we’re babies, we gravitate toward the face. That makes a difference because we’re not really doing business with the company per se, but with the people who are behind the company
And it’s important that there’s consistency in all of your marketing materials. That would mean that your business card looks like your brochures and your pamphlets; that you have the same look and feel on your website and your social media pages.
How can agents attract higher paying clients?
Blum: That’s a really important conversation. You’ve got to be where your clients are. That can mean a golf membership or going to country clubs and spas. Be in the circles that are influential.
You want to put yourself in those environments. You want to surround yourself with people who can get to know you, and then all you really need to do is do business with a couple of people who are influencers in that circle, and news about your business spreads by word of mouth.
Not all agents, especially those who are new to the industry, can afford a country club or high-end gym membership. How can they access clients in those circles?
Blum: It might be something like a local yoga studio or a local gym. There are ways to connect with people.
If you only have your business hat on, take it off and actually connect with people and share with them what you do and how you can help them.