With today’s global workforce, business trips have quickly become a ‘new normal’. Many of us have business travel down to a fine art, developing strategies for making the most out of business travel.
But there’s one important aspect of business travel that we tend to overlook — how to leverage our network and relationships to make the most out of business trips.
Traveling to a different city or country presents a prime opportunity for us to broaden our network and build new advantageous business relationships. Industry conferences such as, SXSW, Dreamforce, SaaStr, and the TOPO Sales Summit, can be lucrative opportunities to connect with hundreds or thousands of likeminded individuals who are likely to be relevant to you from a business perspective.
Here are three tips to help you make the most out of your next business trip:
Find High-Value Networking Contacts
Conferences like Salesforce’s Dreamforce attract over 170K attendees. Chances are you and your team members won’t just serendipitously bump into a high value contact. With only so many hours in the day, it’s important to be strategic and identify the highest value contacts to meet with. You’ve already fronted the cost for event tickets, lodging, and your flight. Why not make the most of your travel time?
If you’re attending a conference-type event, a list of speakers, exhibitors, and/or attendees may be published in advance of the event. As well, if your marketing team is planning a conference-related event or sponsoring a dinner, you’ll have access to intel on everyone who has RSVP’d. By using Affinity’s list feature, you can seamlessly turn these lists of people or companies into actionable insights on your most lucrative opportunities.
Sales executives often find themselves trekking across the country just to attend a single meeting. Maximizing your travel time investment is crucial for anyone with a busy schedule.
Affinity enables next level prospecting by allowing your team to identify your next potential customers (and relationship paths to them) in a specific region that you might not have known existed.
For example, you can dive in and view all the allied investors/advisors you know or should know in a particular region. You can even pinpoint the individual(s) in a given region who have introduced or referred you to the most leads. This allows you to engage in some quick outreach before landing and securing the face to face meeting needed to build the relationship.
Ensure Easy Access to Relationship Intel
It’s a sinking feeling to be caught unprepared. We’ve all been there. We find ourselves at a conference standing next to someone we know we’ve met previously but can’t for the life of us recall his/her name nor any meaningful additional context. Demonstrating that you remember a contact and can recall your last interaction with him/her or any additional context about mutual connections, interests, etc. will go a long way in terms of quickly establishing rapport.
Make your life easy. Have fingertip-access to all the critical information about your relationships and network. A tool like Affinity can be beneficial as it is accessible via your browser and mobile device, as well as Gmail, in turn giving you ready access to the most critical information about your relationships.
Recoup Waning Relationships
Technology is not an adequate substitute for face-to-face interactions. 95% of professionals believe face-to-face meetings are key to developing and maintaining business relationships. It’s amazing how far an in-person interaction can go in terms of quickly recouping waning relationships.
Tools such as Affinity can be a boon in this regard. Because Affinity leverages natural language processing and machine learning, it can automatically pinpoint contacts with which your relationship is at risk (for example, surfacing details about emails that have not yet received a response, or the lengths of time since your last interaction).
You can use Affinity to make the process even more streamlined by making queries as specific as, "Who does my team know in NYC that we haven't talked to in 30 days?"
Business travel can be a time-suck, but it can also be incredibly lucrative. The real payoff materializes when you make the most of your network while traveling for business. Affinity can maximize the data you already have to highlight a direct path to your next big opportunity.