tony.shepherd@christiandopplerconsulting.com +44 7592 542603
Sales start with the 5 Travel Planning Tips

As the holiday season approached, and having family in Austria and clients in the UK and across Europe, means that I get the chance to travel for work. A lot. So I decided I would share with you my 5 travel planning tips and how they relate to sales on how to properly navigate an airport and in doing so, show you how you may benefit from using the same tips to navigate the turbulent journey that is running your sales.

The amount of times per year I use airports, easily slides into double figures. As the discerning constant (business) traveller will know, modern airports are not a place for the weak-hearted or people who like tranquillity in all things, not even in the lounges!

These days they are the aviation equivalent of a luxurious shopping centre, and unfortunately nowadays in some places secure locations. Where people wait for their flights whilst trying to avoid the stress of impatience and the temptation of buying expensive impulse purchases that they neither need, nor really want.

When you spend enough time in airports you start to get a sense of the best way to navigate the place. You start to learn the unspoken etiquette. The time-saving techniques. The stress-avoiding procedures that can help to make a trip more efficient.

Wiritng this on my last trip, I spent some time watching the other travellers and it got me thinking about how the airport systems are only as efficient as the people who manage them and the customers who use them. The same could be said about business.

Here are my 5 Travel Planning Tips and how they relate to sales and can be applied to improve your business.

Travel Habit 1. Advance Planning.

A good traveller’s trip starts long before they get to the airport. The least efficient way to travel is to leave everything until the last minute. This will cost you time and money (last minute tickets are nearly always more expensive). There are so many things to consider:

  • Booking the flight
  • Packing
  • Checking in
  • Getting to the airport
  • Checking taxi rank location/train timetables
  • Hotel check in times

It is much better to do all these things well in advance of the trip. The main benefit being the stress that can be avoided by a little forward planning.   

How Does This Apply to Sales?

Preparation for any substantial endeavour should begin long before the deal starts. I think sometimes that it is human nature to only start considering the planning and work that needs to take place at the ‘last minute’. The bid deadline approaching acts as the reason why we begin preparing, but so much time and worry could be saved if we could just get into the habit of completing necessary work in advance.

We should disconnect the completion of required tasks from the impending deadline. Not only would this reduce the pressure we feel to complete the tasks, but also would improve the quality of it, as the more time we have to review it and optimise our offering, the better the final output will be. Being prepared will undoubtedly save you time, stress and money.

Travel Habit 2. Don’t Forget the Essentials

I like many other regular travelers have arrived at the airport only to find that I had forgotten something vital, like my passport. It is very stressful having to return home to fetch it, rushing and leaving yourself short of time, worrying if you will make your flight. There are many things that get packed that people don’t actually need when they go on a trip. Things that will never even be used, but are taken ‘just in case’. It makes sense to prioritise items so that you always make sure that you have the five or six most important things –

  • Passport
  • Smartphone
  • Debit/Credit Cards
  • Laptop/tablet, (if you’re on business)
  • Relevant charges
  • Keys
5 travel top tips
Last minute dash

Having the essentials means that whatever else happens (and whatever else is forgotten), you can function, wherever you go and whatever happens.

How Does This Apply to Business?

Having the right information and essential components will help your sales campaigns run smoothly. Whether new business or renewal there is an optimum model that can be implemented in every business to allow it to function well, whatever the challenges. In this model, information and data is key to efficiency and the ability to make the best (most informed) decisions at any given point.

Many businesses have a sales methodology they employ to ensure, ‘we are all singing from the same song sheet’! This process takes account of the essential components that are required to maintain consistency of the business.

The key stages of a sale, sometimes refered to as The Buying Cycle, could follow the client through  something like the following  stages:-

  • Awareness of Needs
  • Assessment of Alternatives
  • Allieviation of Risk
  • Decision
  • Achievement of Results

This critical process is often frowned upon by some, but is often the key to success of the campaign.

Travel Habit 3. Observe (Customer) Behaviour and Act Accordingly

We all know that no matter how efficient a traveller you are, there is always a time at the airport where it all slows down. Usually when you get to security. This area acts a bottleneck and more often than not the queues move very slowly. A system is only as efficient as the people who manage it and the customers who use it. There isn’t much you can do about the people who manage it (except rely on the fact that they are trained professionals and should know what they are doing). But as a customer using it, you can help to speed things up.

To make sure you use the 5 travel planning tips empty the contents of your pockets into your bags in advance of joining the security queue. Have your liquids in a clear plastic bag. Even better, if you don’t need to don’t bring any, you can often purchase anything that is is needed when you get to your destination.

Always have your laptop/tablet to hand, because everyone knows by now that they will ask you to remove it from your bag.

Sounds obvious I hear you say everyone knows that nowadays. Well next time you go through airport security just take a few moments and look around at the people looking surprised and even annoyed when security tells them they cannot take thier litre bottle of coke or 200 ml bottle of Old Spice after shave lotion onto the plane and they have to remove thier laptop/tablet from its case.

Finally, always study the queues before you join one. What you are looking for is the shortest queue, the queue full of single travellers, the queue that doesn’t contain families with multiple hand luggage bags, the queue that looks like it contains the most efficient travellers.

How Does This Apply to Business?

When doing business with another person or company, understanding the dynamics of the situation is massively advantageous. Being aware of what lies ahead will help you to avoid unnecessary delays. Making sure that you regularly monitor your sales campaigns to ensure they are running at the optimum, streamlined level. Making sure that the team you have in place are trained, knowledgeable and good at what they do can facilitate efficiency in reaching targets. At any given moment you will face delays, but if the business is setup properly, with the right processes and methodologies in place  this need not negatively affect its activities.

It is also important to observe and understand customer behaviour in the following contexts:-

Strategic

Political

Individual

Tactical

This will allow your business to adapt rapidly to customer requirements and market changes. Knowing the needs of your customers and the aims of clients is vital to customer retention and fully functional business relationships.

Travel Habit 4. Have A Frugal Mindset / Need vs Want

Once you have reached the departure lounge there will invariably be some waiting to be done. This is the point where the airport has realised that they have a captive audience. They have a large group of people who have nowhere to go and nothing to do until they fly out. Your drinks and toiletries have been removed by security so you have been primed to ‘need’ to buy more.

Now you are given the opportunity to do just that. And, because you have no option other than to buy from the shops situated in the departure lounges, the prices can be set just a little higher. It is at this point that you need will-power and a frugal mindset. Quite simply, you need to know what you need and separate it from what is just a purchase for the sake of having something to do.

As a business traveller, it is even better if you can get into the mindset of using this time to fire up the laptop and get some work done without the normal distractions that you would otherwise have in the outside world.

How Does This Apply to Business?

Being Frugal in Business can stop you spending money you don’t need to. Knowing what your business needs is vital, so that excessive budgetary costs can be avoided on things that are unnecessary. Spending money on things you don’t need to will cut into your revenue, so always maintain an awareness of what money is being spent on, and how best to reduce running costs to ensure maximum profit.

Avoid the shiny, tempting products and services that promise a lot more than they deliver, and try to only spend on products and services of substance that add value to what you do and efficiency to how you do it.

Travel Habit 5. Transactional Value

It is obvious to anyone who travels a lot, just how much of a business the aviation industry has become. It is not a subtle thing anymore. The success of ‘economy airlines’ has given rise to blatant selling and profit maximisation, sometimes to the detriment of reputation. It seems that every component of a flight now has a price and is sold as separate ‘add-on’ services which cost extra.

The 5 Travel Planning Tips found the following things which now cost extra:-

  • Checking in at the airport (yes, really!)
  • Bringing larger items of luggage
  • A warm meal on the flight (which sometimes must be booked in advance)
  • Priority-boarding to be the first on the plane
  • Ability to choose a specific seat

I even remember hearing of an airline trying to charge passengers for the use of the toilet!!

I find it ironic that we still call these airlines ‘economy’. The only way to truly get economic use from them is to buy your ticket and avoid paying for any of the add-ons (again, your willpower comes into play).

When you travel frequently, what you start to realise is that, quite often, you are paying for things you don’t need. Or things that have no intrinsic value in a real sense. To work this out we can compare two travellers. One who pays for everything ‘extra’ and one who pays for nothing but the original ticket. They both come to the airport, they both get on the plane, and they both arrive at the same destination. The only difference is that it cost one person much more than the other.

If you take, for example, paying extra to be first to board the plane. This is a payment that someone makes based on perceived efficiency. But in practical terms, it isn’t any more efficient. The person who pays to board first will get onto the plane minutes before the person who doesn’t.

They still both take off at the same time.

How Does This Apply to Business?

In business, you should always assess what is worth paying for and what isn’t. Related to point 4 above, it is vital to make sure that when purchasing and paying for things (even staff), your business is getting value for money. If you are spending money on something that has no value, it is important to reduce costs as soon as possible.

I think one of the key elements of both travel and running a business is efficiency. The strategy is simple and should be implemented as soon as possible. Find the path of least resistance between where you are now and the target you are trying to reach. The best you can do is to have to spend the least amount of time possible on the difficult parts, the chores and the things which cause undue stress or worry. This will allow more time for productivity, planning and moving forward with the things that matter most.

By being aware and embracing efficiency, you will end up spending less time waiting around and more time taking action – which is vital to success.

In both travel and business, there will be times where waiting is a necessary evil and completely unavoidable, and for that, the best I can advise is to spend some time working on another often-disregarded skill – patience.

As a Management Consultant, I have a lot of experience helping businesses to reach an optimum level of efficiency, particularly with regards to developing a sales team and increasing revenue. To discuss how Christian Doppler Consulting can help your business reach the next level, click here.

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Unfortunately, there isn’t much more I can do to help you with travel plans!