In How a business trip is done Part 1, I talked about my excursion down to Florida with Paul, the Mojo Motors CEO and meeting with car dealerships. The first two tips discuss the importance of planning travel dates early and not relying on travel sites for the best airfare.
Today I’ll write about finding the best-priced hotels and how critical communication is with the client. Make the jump for the final two most important tips to remember when planning a business trip.
Tip #3: When looking for a good hotel at an affordable price, pick up the phone. For this trip I would be staying in a different city every night and I wanted to be close to my meeting each next morning. I have a few requirements when it comes to hotels; it needs to be clean, have free internet, and I enjoy a good free breakfast. Even when the food may not be the greatest, I can appreciate the gesture. I tried a few of the websites to see if I could get any deals but found that generally these sites list prices that are very close to what the hotels listed on their own website. This is when you pick up the phone. I called Holiday Inn Express and by agreeing to stay with them for the duration of my trip, I was able to negotiate a lower rate than I found on any of their websites. Their office was also very helpful in finding hotels that were close to each of my morning meeting locations. Websites are great. but person-to-person interaction will get you farther every time.
Tip #4 (Most important): Be in constant contact with your client leading up to the appointment. You can plan the most efficient trip of your life, but it will not be successful if you have not done the prep work with the client beforehand. During the week before the trip, call each client to confirm that they are still available and that the time still works for them. This shows that you value their time and that this meeting is important to you. The day before you are to meet with them, send an email and/or place a call to once again confirm your meeting with them. After the meeting, I cannot say it enough, follow up, follow up, follow up! The next day send them an email thanking them for their time and supply them with any other information that you had spoken about in your meeting. Continue to follow up, checking in to see how the product is working for them and if there’s anything that they need from you. You are building a relationship with the client and a relationship will take you farther than simply closing a sale. It’s easy to show up and make them feel good while you are in their office, afterwards however, you must deliver the same experience for them over the phone and through email.