Got Any Secret Travel Tips?
Busy week. On Monday and Tuesday, we hosted a small group of distributors for an extensive training session. On Wednesday, I was putting the final touches on a business trip for this coming week. I’ll be traveling to three separate destinations, and each destination has a distinctly different agenda. This is a complicated trip, and it made me realize that although I travel frequently, I don’t consider myself either a road warrior or an travel expert.
However, experience has taught me a few things about business trips, so I’d like to share some of my tips. There are many readers of this blog who travel far more than me, and I know everyone would enjoy hearing your tips, tricks, and insights for a successful business trip too.
When I start planning my trip, I focus on “anchor appointments.” These appointments should be scheduled at least three weeks in advance if possible. This is especially critical. It helps you plan your flights, hotels, rentals, and other appointments. Setting appointments well in advance of the trip means that you respect your client’s time and by extension that they respect your time and the effort and expense you’ve made to visit them.
Next, I try to have the rest of my schedule set two weeks before the trip. Then, if someone has to cancel or to move an appointment, I have time to shuffle my other appointments . . . although it can be difficult to make schedule changes at this point.
Now, what are my goals for each appointment? It depends. Some appointments are as simple as saying “Hello,” making sure we’re doing a good job, and taking the distributor to lunch or dinner. Those appointments rarely happen anymore. As Classic and ClassicMODUL have added product lines and online features, I’ve found that distributors are hungry for product and website training, industry news, and sales and marketing feedback.
Some appointments can be 3-4 hours long where I am conducting a complete product overview, including a “dog and pony” show of multiple products and services. Those usually are accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation created and tailored for that specific client.
Lastly, there are the 30 minute appointments. They are few and far between but are often the first step in building a relationship with a prospective distributor. I usually have two or three of these on any given trip. They offer me an opportunity to put a face to a name/voice . . . sort of a quick speed date to get formally introduced, answer some questions, and drop off some samples.
Now the flights. Personally, I like Sunday flights. Red-eyes if I am traveling to the East Coast so I can just hop of the plane and start my day. Plus, it means I can spend all day Sunday with my family. Many think I am nuts for doing this, but I will let you in on a little secret that Dave Brown from Optima, Reid Sherwood, and I know all too well.