I have been working in a sales role for nearly 6 years (gosh where has the time gone?!) and traveling is a big part of my job looking at areas and companies that would benefit from my companies services.
I see a lot of people within the industry flying to places far away for a single meeting which takes up a week when taking into account traveling time – to me this isn’t productive. . .
On that note here are some tips I follow when organizing a business trip – I’m by no means an expert but when I started out in sales I was and still am always looking at ways to improve and be better so if you have more tips by all means share!
⁃ know the area you are traveling to relevant to the industry of focus – what’s happening from news stories to recent local sports team wins – always good to show interest and knowledge plus it’s a great conversation piece!
⁃ Know your client – this might seem simple but do you really know who you are meeting?! Again do your research look on LinkedIn, look up papers, have they been to any recent conferences and presented? What projects do they have coming up?
⁃ Why are you meeting? Are you just meeting for meetings sake? How can your services benefit this company and individual? You need to be able to answer these questions
⁃ Write out your agenda of the meeting in advance and start off repeating it in the meeting so intentions are clear
⁃ If you are like me and have a couple of accounts – I have two I focus on across the Western Hemisphere – how Else can you get the most out of this trip? Can you speak to other clients who are busy in the area but we have connected with them yet? Maybe we are working with clients on a certain project with one service, what about our other services? Speak to your manager to see what else you can do!
⁃ Invite your clients out – not just for coffee or lunch but off site for a happy hour get to know them outside of work and build on that relationship
⁃ Use this opportunity to get to know your local team who you have maybe only spoken to on the phone but never in person
⁃ How many meetings have you secured? I always aim for at least 5 prior to booking flights
⁃ Remember business cards before you leave! Always helpful to take a load with you !!
One of the other tips is ALWAYS FOLLOW UP! Crazy how many meetings I’ve been involved in with action items which weren’t followed up on – keep up the momentum! If it’s your account take ownership to ensure all follow ups and action items are completed within a week… out of sight out of mind!