13 February 2008

Dear Lorne,

Often when one door closes, another one opens. My colleague and girlfriend who often kept my deals in bed among other things, in the past had worked for a tourist discount coupon guidebook company. She had grown weary of all the solitary travel involved, but now things had changed. When you can share a hotel room with someone of your choosing, it is much more like being on vacation. While other timeshare offers beaconed, the time was right for exploring other options.

The couple who had founded the company, who seemed more like her friends, were very pleased to hear from her. They needed someone to update the book in Florida and Jamaica and offered her the job. Not long after, they called back to see if she would also be willing to go to Hawaii. In addition to tracking down the present participants to make sure they were still around and if so, try to get them to agree to increase their discount, there were quotas for adding new participants, mostly restaurants. The book was sold mainly to tour operators who in turn offered it as a perk with their travel packages. There was no fee to be in the book, just the agreement to honor the quoted discount when the member showed their card, hopefully a discount that was perceived to be more significant than any other that may have been offered to non members.  

While a more stable way of making ends meet than timeshare, with the benefits of travel and free meals, the presentation skills were in effect like a one on one stand up routine. Have you ever worked in sales? There is often layer of scepticism needs to be undressed. The tricky part was to get just a few moments of a busy person's time and attention. Restaurant owners can be such moving targets. More important than whatever is being pitched, would be to listen, observe, then tailor the approach accordingly. Once the customer can be educated, so that they understand the facts well enough to be comfortable with the decision to try something new, everything else is mere formalities. Like sitting down with the worst heckler, it's show time.

The year had started traveling to London while living in Seattle, yet on the way to Hawaii, it worked out that we were able to stop off to bring in the new year, in of all places, Seattle.

Round and around we go,