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AGENT DIARY: THE FIRST 7 WEEKS FOR ALISON

New consultant Alison, 44, a mum of three based in the Shetland Isles, shares her story and success in selling £50k-worth of holidays less than 8 weeks out of training

I join The Travel Franchise

Now my three daughters have grown up a bit (aged 5, 10 and 13), I realise I want to have my own business, to be my own boss and work from home. 

As my husband works internationally on a deep sea dive vessel on a four-week rotation, I need a job that’s flexible, so I can be there whenever the girls need me.

I also want to do something I am actually interested in, so signing up with The Travel Franchise makes sense.

Anyone that knows me, knows I love the process of planning and looking at holidays.

I am the sort of person who gets a Lonely Planet guide book and reads it like a novel!  

Before training, there are 10 days of ‘pre training’ webinars to watch to help prepare me. 

I’ve started building my online profiles as I want to hit the road running as soon as the five-day training is over. There’s no one that advertises doing this in the Shetland Isles at the moment so getting word out has been my priority. I already have followers online and the vibe is one of positivity from everyone I speak to. 

Week 1 

It’s training week and thankfully it’s virtual. There’s no way I could travel somewhere to train with three kids to look after. 

I love meeting the other trainees and Business Development Managers (BDMs) on Monday but I do spend the first half of the week feeling like a fish out of water. 

Everyone else in the group clearly has far more business experience compared to me but, as the week progresses, I realise we are all in the same boat. It’s a new venture to us all and we all have information overload! 

By Thursday I honestly did not know how much more information my head could fit in but somehow I make it to Friday! I write a social post to say I am ready to help people plan their holidays! I’m excited but nervous! 

Week 2 

I have dropped business cards at some of the businesses in town, including local hairdressers, beauticians, barbers and cafes and I already have enquiries, but it’s like navigating a minefield.  

I’m trying to find some confidence in myself and I know that in the future finding the right holidays won’t be so time consuming! 

I have spent a bit of time following many of Not Just Travel’s key trade partners and travel suppliers on Facebook, looking at their daily offers and sharing them on my socials – for me this is the easy bit! 

I also had a meeting with my BDM, Gary, who is extremely encouraging. I can tell he’s going to be quite the support in the future! This has been a week to reflect on what I learned last week. 

Week 3 

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and I’ve hit a bit of a wall trying to fit in work while my kids are at school and nursery. 

I’m plugging away but worrying about not getting a booking (I know some agents get one the very first day they finish training!). Finding customers hasn’t really been an issue for me and I have a constant stream of things to be working on. 

I have done some great quotes for people but have experienced an element of being ghosted afterwards – but I was expecting some of that.  

When the kids go to bed I do a bit of scheduling for social media and phone calls to potential clients. Even though I don’t want to increase my workload I am planning a ‘Why book with me’ post on social media this weekend. 

Week 4 

My ‘Why book with me’ post has generated a lot of interest on social media! I messaged friends and family and asked them to share the post and since then I’ve acquired lots of new followers and positive feedback about my pages online – people are actually liking it! 

I watched a really informative webinar on Wednesday, which was awesome and gave me a great insight into that travel supplier. I loved hearing other people speak so passionately about their businesses and products. 

Customers definitely seem to want ‘a choice’, two places to compare, sometimes a third. My knowledge builds with every enquiry. 

Week 5 

Only one month and the bookings have started! And what a change that has had on my mindset… My first two bookings to Majorca and Benidorm were for local customers who found me on social media from my pre-training posts. 

I had to change the airport, the dates and the location several times but both customers booked with me in the end. Another family booked for Costa Dorada and then made an additional booking for other family members (10 in total).

I was incredibly nervous uploading these holidays and had a few ‘incidents’ but I need not have worried – Gary and the NJT support line are brilliant, sorted everything out swiftly and calmed me down. 

I am far more confident phoning up holiday suppliers now – everyone in the business is genuinely nice, helpful and patient with me being a ‘new start’… I think I will use that excuse for a very long time to come. 

Week 6 

The social media posts really get people inspired and I have had a lot of enquiries for things I have posted. In the meantime I am busy researching quotes for a few bespoke holidays that I am working on, including a Hawaiian cruise, a fly-drive to the US and a Canada motorhome trip.

More bookings (10 packages in total in the last two weeks to Spain, Portugal and Turkey) so I feel happy about my new business. 

One evening I take two separate bookings for the same family along with another booking for another customer: three sales in one day! A personal best record! 

I also have the pleasure of booking one of my friend’s holidays. It was a bit last minute and she just popped over to my house and we booked it. They depart on their holiday next week – I can’t wait to hear how they get on.  

If I can sustain this steady flow of bookings I know this is going to work for me. However, the school holidays have begun and this is a new challenge for us as a family and I need a day off soon. 

What’s great is that people are very much talking about my service. I have said from the start that I would like to be, locally, THE go-to person for holidays and I’m really hoping this is the start of it! 

I am now back to feeling super excited about my future in the travel industry.

Week 7

I have now sold 14 packages and hit my Silver pin over the weekend (Not Just Travel has a career path and awards pins depending on the level of commission you earn). 

I can’t believe how lucky I am. I get to live in a fantastic location (over the weekend we were able to watch an orca pod cruising close to the coast) and also work remotely doing something I love with the flexibility to look after my children. 

Watch out for Alison’s next report in four weeks’ time or call and chat to Ivrie to find out how you can follow in her footsteps… 

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