With just about everything being equal, it perplexes me to see that some travel practitioners are more successful than others. They all have access to the same inventory, and the marketplace is still free to pursue by everybody who can print a business card. Then why are some not more successful than others? I think I have an answer.

Here are nine reasons why the majority of salespeople are not more successful in building ongoing profitable business:

1. They have too many prospects in the pipeline.

Ultimately, it’s the quality of your prospects that is going to deliver your profits. Don’t get caught up with “numbers” and “likes.” Work on fine-tuning a systematic approach to discern whether a candidate actually fits your description of a profitable future customer. Get more particular with whom you want to do business.

2. Not finding the time to follow up and follow through.

Without a doubt this is the biggest problem most sales professionals face regardless of their industry. Selling relationships take time to develop today. There is no excuse for not keeping in touch with your prospects and continually seeking opportunities to bring more value into the equation.

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3. Not segmenting prospects based on who they are and their needs.

Treating everybody the same is a recipe for disaster. This takes time, effort and discipline. Learn to categorize your prospects based on their wants, needs, personality and idiosyncrasies.

4. Relying on email as your primary prospecting tool.

Email is efficient, but it’s also seductive in having you believe that you are reaching your prospect. Selling has always been considered a contact sport. Yes, there is room for digital communication, but don’t ever discount the importance of face-toface contact.

5. Thinking social media represents the “magic pill.”

Social media is in no way, shape or form today’s flavor-of-the-month marketing strategy. It is “real” and it is here to stay. My warning is not to solely rely on this strategy in hope that it will lead you to the Promised Land. It won’t. It is merely another spoke in the wheel to help you let others know that you are alive and that you may have something of value to offer.

6. Not allocating enough time.

Thinking about prospecting is not prospecting. Prospecting happens when you engage! Too many salespeople allow the day to unfold on its own. Allocate specific hours of the day or week to seek new opportunities in the form of prospecting.

7. Failing to realize your prospects don’t care about you.

Stop sending messages that wax eloquently about your personal achievements and how great your company is. Focus on ways you can help your prospects achieve their goals and objectives. Get out of you, and into them.

8. Not making your marketing communications about what your prospect wants or needs.

This spells research. Find out what they want/need and follow up by giving it to them.

9. Thinking that prospecting is a waste of time.

This thought process creeps into your head when your efforts do not pay immediate dividends. We are living in a world where we seek immediate gratification. We want things now. We expect things now. We become unhappy when we don’t get them now. The truth is not all prospects will become paying customers, nor should they. Your job is to find, isolate, cultivate and reinforce relationships with people who will be grateful they are contributing to you and your family’s eating habits. This takes time.

So there you have it. Nine reminders of how you can become more successful by simply paying more attention. And I would be remiss if I did not complement these nine recommendations with my 12-Word Marketing Plan: “Get up. Get out. And make more people glad they know you.”