I’m traveling this week. Along with my shirts, pants and toiletries, I’ve also packed my quota. You see, just because you’re away from the office, and your normal schedule, doesn’t excuse you from maintaining your pipeline.
Keeping Your Eye on the Prize
All too often, when I’m traveling, I end up focusing on two things:
- The main reason for my trip, e.g., a meeting, conference, etc.; and
- The upper pipeline scheduled calls/demos on my calendar.
Obviously, if you’re traveling for work, the first focus is most important. That’s why your company sent you out there. And the second focus is easy because it’s a priority. You have an appointment on your calendar, and you take the call from somewhere quiet with Wifi because that could be the call that finally pushes the deal through!
There should be a third focus when you’re traveling, though, although it won’t always seem like such high priority. While it’s definitely not as exciting as the first two focuses, it’s just as important. It’s your lower pipeline.
The Third Priority
Salespeople know all too well that those upper pipeline deals got there from consistent outreach and nurturing of your lower pipeline. But when I travel, that lower pipeline gets no love. And, baby, that just ain’t right.
The hardest part of making calls and sending cold emails when you’re traveling is the fact that you’re not consistently at a desk. Your CRM and email client aren’t staring you in the face, because you’re too busy being a man about town.
Or so you think.
Let’s be honest, there ends up being a fair amount of downtime while you’re traveling. Whether it’s expected or unexpected downtime, people rarely take advantage of it. And cold calling doesn’t sound like as much fun as hitting up the hotel bar.
Before I get into how you can prioritize some of that downtime, I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way discouraging you from hitting up the hotel bar. Hotel bars are awesome. There is just something magical about them, right? Kind of feels like you’re in a movie. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.
But I digress… You can definitely prioritize your downtime during business trips to nurture that lower pipeline. Here is how:
Step 1: Schedule an hour a day to make calls and send emails
It sounds incredibly simple, but I cannot think of anyone who actually does this. The key for me is that I convince myself that this hour I’m scheduling is just the same as when I’m scheduling a tele-meeting with a high priority prospect while on the road. Sure, plans can change while you’re on the road. But just as you would call that prospect to reschedule ASAP, make sure you actually reschedule yourself for that daily hour block of calling and emailing.
Step 2: Prepare a list of contacts to call
You don’t want to waste any part of that hour searching for people to call. Take five minutes before your trip to create a quick CRM view (or a report, if you like to overly complicate everything) and save it. That way, you can quickly tee it up on the road.
Step 3: Actually execute on your plan
This is really the most important step. It’s so easy to push everything off to next week, when you’re back at the office. But then the you’ll be recovering from jet lag, following up on the conference leads, completing expense reports from the trip, telling everyone how sweet the hotel bar was… and wondering why you did not just sit down for an hour and make some calls.