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.
You see . . . there is this shower! It’s located in the C Terminal of DFW. C20 to be exact. I frequently travel American Airlines, and AA has a red-eye to Dallas from Portland that arrives around 5:15 am. And it just so happens to drop you at the gate right across from the Admirals Club in the C Terminal. I always bring a change of dress clothes with me and make sure I have 1.5 hours between flights. I sleep on the flight, then get off the plane and step into possibly the greatest shower on the face of the earth. Don’t believe me? Try it once. I know people (Dave Brown specifically) who have actually missed connecting flights because they did not get out of the shower in time. 🙂
Anyways, between the red-eye and the shower, I’m ready for the day and dressed for my appointment when I land at 10 am EST.
Staying Sane in DFW
I have one more secret I will share, but then its your turn . . . . This also happens to involve DFW and Dave Brown from Optima.
We all travel a lot in this business, right? So sometimes you have to break it up a bit for your own sanity. Well, a few years ago Dave texted me with a great game to play while killing time between flights in Dallas. DFW has Skylink, the train that takes you from terminal to terminal. Its efficient, clean, and saves you from walking miles. And . . . it provides a challenge that I will now share with the rest of you.
The next time you are there jump on the Skylink if you have time between flights –even if you do not need to change terminals. This is a game and time killer remember. So, board the train . . . find a spot and STAND. No leaning or sitting. Get your feet set in place and hold on to NOTHING. Now, see how far you can go without having to grab the bars. Then text me. So far I have shared Dave’s game with a few others and it cracks me up. I will get a text outta the blue from someone who just says, “Made it 3 terminals” or “Full loop.”
I know it sounds a little dorky, but when you spend so much time in airports and traveling as I do, you need to try and keep it fun and funny.
So it’s your turn. What are some travel secrets that you can share? They can be appointment-related, travel related — you name it!
Be well and have a safe and restful weekend