There is so much sales, marketing, social media and educational information offered in the trade that it is almost impossible to read it all let alone understand it well enough to implement it in a timely fashion. The art of filtering information requires a system. Here’s how, in 5 basic steps, you can sift, sort and decipher the information you receive, extract the information meaningful to you (i.e. it will help you grow your business), and save that information in an easy-to-access resource file.
Step 1: Create a Keyword List: The first step is to develop your keyword/s list. These are words that relate directly to what you are selling, marketing and also relate to the gaps in your travel trade knowledge including preferred suppliers. One keyword might be ‘cruising’ however you’ll still have too much information to sift through. Better then to target your cruise keyword such as: luxury cruising. Now you are focused. You might also list your preferred luxury cruise line. If you are a focused on selling a destination, country or region then you apply the same process. Your keyword is Spain and then perhaps Madrid.
Step 2: Practice This Recall Technique: With your keyword/s list prepared read your list 33 times (supposedly the magic number that will file your list of words away in your brain for recognition and recall). From here on, when your eyes scan trade emails, magazines and websites, your eyes will catch your keywords and then you can do one of two things: you can read the information there and then or save it for reading later. Emails can be filtered to a folder that you can access and read later. The warning here is that “later” as in tomorrow, never comes.
Step 3: Open a Resource Folder: Create a new folder in My Documents and name it Resource Folder. Now right click on that Resource Folder and create a series of new folders and name them according to your keyword list. Information you wish to can now be saved into its own folder. When you save each piece of information always add a date and source in a consistent format (i.e. Filtering Information Friday Five TTI 11.08.2013) to the file name.
Step 4: Look for the HOW: So much of the information you receive is information that advises you WHAT to do. The WHAT-TO-DO information reads something like this: Go for groups – groups are everywhere. Start a niche and focus on it. Send a newsletter to all your clients. Start using social media to engagement your clients. Ask for referrals. Sell yourself first. Each of those statements have good intentions, however they are worthless in the fact that you are still left wondering HOW to do them.
Content that delivers the HOW-TO will present that how-to in various formats such as: a step-by-step process, a plan from A to Z, a word-for-word script, a layout that you can copy. Eventually your mind will be trained to look only for the HOW-TO information. If there is no step-by-step provided then you move on or email the author of the WHAT and ask them outright. “I’ve just read your article that advises all travel agents to develop a niche market – so how do you actually do that?”
Step 5: Filter Social Media WHAT: With social media here to stay you should decide which social media outlet to use and then be constantly looking for the HOW-TO related to your selection. Your selection becomes one of your keywords. Your preferred social media outlet will be the one that most of your clients use and chances are that is Facebook. Everyone has their opinion on how best to use social media and there are many paths to follow. Decide what your interest is: is it engagement, prospecting, promoting or sales. Now you have your social media keyword and once again you can start filtering the information you receive and focus only on your main interest.
That’s it. Follow these five steps and soon you will have a decent Resource Folder that holds the HOW-TO answers you need to grow your business. And don’t worry – all that information you didn’t capture can still be accessed online as and when and if you ever wish to read it. From this point on your mission is to always ask “How do you do it?”
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