"Do your homework" is a phrase you might equate with your younger years, a mantra from well-meaning parents or caregivers who wanted you to succeed in school. But it's also a phrase you can apply to your business, whether you're just starting out or you're well established.
It's worked for Shawn Power. Power is the owner of Vancouver-based Powerventures Travel Services, an affiliate of the Avoya Travel Network. He was recently named a 2018 Pacesetter by American Express Travel, his third time earning the recognition.
According to Avoya, which nominated him for the distinction, "Pacesetters are selected based on their superior customer service, sales performance, involvement in the travel agent community and commitment to delivering extraordinary travel experiences."
Power has been with the host agency for more than seven years and has won a number of awards and accolades, including Avoya's Chairman's Club, its highest honor. He is projecting sales of more than $5 million this year.
Power recently shared some of his top tips for success with me, and one was doing his homework by reading books about successful people, sales and motivation.
He started reading such books years ago, and they've helped him "tremendously" with his business, he said. As an example, he pointed to recent read "Higher Is Waiting," by Tyler Perry.
"In the book, I learned that Tyler, like many other very successful people, didn't grow up rich or successful," Power said. "He had to work hard for everything he has, and it wasn't just by luck or chance or because he was special that he achieved success. It was through his hard work and never giving up that got him where he is, and this is a pattern I see over and over."
In addition to Tyler's book, Power recommended books by Jim Rohn and Brian Tracy, which he said have helped him on his road to success.
Specializing has also been an important part of Power's success. He's become his clients' go-to advisor when it comes to cruises and Tauck land tours. Importantly, Power said, he's not afraid to turn down requests for travel he doesn't specialize in.
"It's challenging to be an expert if you are booking all kinds of travel," he said. "It's too much information. When you hone in on a niche part of travel, you get to know it really well. People will want to book with you again and again because they know that you know the product inside and out."
Powers also attributes his success to staying organized so he can stay on task throughout the day as well as asking for referral business.
"Don't be afraid to ask for referrals," he said. "I send thank-you cards for each booking, and in it I ask my client for referrals. You wouldn't believe the number of referrals I get by just simply asking."