FORT LAUDERDALE -- A motivational coaching session at Travel Weekly's CruiseWorld 2011 and Home Based Agent Show here focused on six key ingredients aimed at helping retailers achieve more success.
Led by industry veteran and consultant Stuart Cohen, the interactive session, titled "Look Up!--Stuart's Six Secrets to Achieving Even Higher Success & Happiness," urged the 50 attending agents to look beyond the obvious and, in some cases, into their hearts to identify what might be holding them back from their business goals.
Cohen is president of Exclamation Points Inc., a professional business-coaching company, and owner of shore-excursion company ResortForaDay.com.
Using famous and not-so-famous quotes from celebrities and best-selling authors, Cohen merged conventional wisdoms with his own advice, drawing the audience into discussions about personal and professional behaviors that affect a travel agent's success.
"Success and happiness are not matters of chance, but of choice. We live our lives by the choices we make," Cohen told the retailers.
His secrets to success, said Cohen, "are choices each of us can make, and they don't cost money, they don't require us to work longer hours and they're not going to break our backs."
Cohen engaged the audience with humorous stories and anecdotes throughout his session, which centered on six concepts:
• Gratitude attitude: "Thank yourself for the things you've accomplished, and also thank your customers and suppliers," said Cohen, who urged agents to write down the names of friends and associates who show gratitude, "so that you can emulate them when you go home."
• Aspire higher: "Clear your mind of the word 'can't'," Cohen told the audience, "and don't focus on obstacles." Writing down day-to-day and long-term goals helps people to visualize success, said the consultant.
• You're caught up: Become better time managers, advised Cohen. "Time flies but you're the pilot," he said, adding that in many cases, multi-tasking doesn't work. "Make a list of tasks for each day and stay focused -- stop multi-tasking," he said.
• Who's in your pocket: Every travel agent should identify people who are "in their pockets -- people who you can rely on to support you, even in dark times," said Cohen. He noted that agents aligned with host agencies, franchise networks and consortiums should consider those relationships "in your pocket" ones, and seek out wisdom from those sources.
• It's not about you: "It's about your customer, of course," said Cohen, who urged agents to be customer-centric and to "define awesome customer service." Only one in five consumers will go back to the same travel agent a second time, he said. "You've got to listen to and validate your customers," said Cohen.
• It's all about you: "The customer buys you," he told the agents -- not the cruise ship cabin. "They can buy that from any agent or from lots of online outlets. What they're buying is your expertise," he said. Retailers, he added, need to become indispensable to their clients. "Everyone has the same opportunity to sell the same product, but you need to be remarkable," said Cohen.
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