Many of us have to travel for our jobs, whether to meet with clients or attend conferences and tradeshows. Business travel can be hectic and stressful, but it can also be an enjoyable, positive experience if you know how to do it. Not sure how you’ll do on your next business trip? Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your sales business travel. After doing my fair share of on-the-road sales – and conferring with sales expert, Lynn – these are the methods you’ll want to implement so you can do business travel like a pro.
Tip 1: Take Care of Yourself
The first step in being an effective salesperson while on the road starts not with your clients or your organization. Rather, it’s all about you. You must take good care of yourself if you’re going to perform well, and that is especially true when you travel. Whether spending hours on the train or flying across the country, being out of your normal environment can throw all your routines out of whack, so you must be extra vigilant in practicing basic self-care.
No matter how busy you get, make sure you leave time for proper, balanced meals. You need to stay nourished, so choose foods that are healthy and sufficiently filling, and make sure you eat enough. Don’t skip meals, either! Additionally, keep healthy snacks and a water bottle on hand at all times. It’s vital that you stay hydrated and have small food options with you in case it’ll be a while before dinner.
Give yourself a chance to destress and do something you enjoy. Bring a book you can read, or listen to audiobooks or music. You can choose media that’s calming, or opt for something exciting that’ll make you smile. Taking a walk – around a local park, on the plane, or at the station – is also great to get your blood flowing. It’s helpful to get your mind off of work and travel, and simple activities like these will be relaxing and rejuvenating.
Finally, be sure you get enough sleep. Traveling can involve long hours, new time zones, and uncomfortable surroundings. But it’s important that you get enough rest so you’ll be alert and ready for your sales work duties. You should schedule in some breaks and may even want to leave time for a nap. Just make sure you’re getting enough rest.
Tip 2: Plan Ahead
Traveling can be stressful, especially if you’re not familiar with the area and have limited time to get from point A to point B. Limit the stress by planning ahead and looking up maps.
If you’re traveling by plane, look up concourse maps. This will be especially helpful if you have to make a connecting flight or have a meeting scheduled soon after your arrival. It will allow you to determine the best path to the next gate or out of the airport.
If you’ll be driving in your destination city, look up maps and routes from your hotel to the locations of any meetings. You’ll feel less lost and more prepared to navigate the area, even if it’s your first time visiting. When looking up maps, also consider where you can get food, coffee, or needed supplies. Indeed, this will help you feel more in control of your time.
Finally, consider how you can organize your travel and when you arrange meetings. In reviewing the maps, you may want to, for example, choose a car rental that’s close to your hotel or to the airport. If you need to meet with multiple organizations, you may want to arrange your schedule so that you meet with them according to where they’re located geographically. (Just make sure this will work with their schedules!) This will allow you to maximize your time and eliminate time-wasters.
Tip 3: Allow Plenty of Time
Speaking of maximizing your time: Always consider how long you expect something to take, then add to it. You want to allow plenty of time for things, because things can and will come up to make it take longer than anticipated. Maybe getting a rental car should only take 20 minutes, but allot a full hour, just in case. Perhaps it should only take 45 minutes to get from your hotel to your meeting, but you never know how traffic could be or if there will be a wreck; schedule in extra time so you’ll be prepared.
It’s better to plan for too much time and arrive early than to end up late and even miss things because of it.
Tip 4: Keep Up on Communications
Communication is key to any sales job – well, pretty much any job, period – and this is still true even as you travel the country. Being away from your office and taking planes and trains can really eat into your communication time, though. How can you keep in touch with your colleagues and clients?
First, plan times when you can check emails and voicemails and respond to them. If driving long-distance, you may want to plan places you can periodically pull over and make your responses. You might want to put in 15-30 minute blocks of time between other activities so you can reply to emails and call people back.
Luckily, in our ever-connected world, it’s usually easy to connect to the internet and get some work done. But if your day will be especially busy or disconnected, you may also want to set up an out-of-office email for the day.
It can also be helpful to have a work buddy who can cover for you during business travel. (Make sure this is a reciprocal relationship!) Lynn had a job in which her work buddy would help with responding to clients and letting Lynn know if something was added to her desk. When her work buddy traveled, Lynn did the same for her. Such a setup can be helpful so you can focus on your trip and the reason you’ve traveled there.
Try out these four tips during your next sales trip. Business travel truly can be a positive experience in which you’re effective and enjoy your trip.
Amanda Whitbeck is Vice President of Operations at Petite2Queen. Since earning her master’s degree in Global Entertainment & Music Business from Berklee College of Music, Amanda has played key roles facilitating growth at start-ups. She’s also worked in diverse sectors of the music industry, from live events promotion to entertainment journalism. She brings her expertise in music business, writing, and website development to Petite2Queen.