With leaner budgets and so much technology that enables online interactions with customers and prospects, the idea of a business trip doesn’t seem as beneficial as it once did, in terms of staying in contact with others. As an active writer with a busy speaking schedule, I actually have to remind myself to look for ways to cut my business trips back as much as possible.
There’s no doubt that trips can add up to a significant cost for your company. However, if you do believe that a business trip is necessary, there are a few reasons you can use to convince your boss that a trip is valuable to the company.
1. Face time with new clients is important.
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When meeting new clients or prospects, face time is critical to build trust in a way that just can’t happen through email, phone calls, social media or even an online video call. Having a conversation in person helps people develop trust in you, and it enables you to gain a better understanding of what they need or want -- especially if you can visit their operations on the business trip.
2. Existing relationships need to be nurtured in person.
The same value can be found in visiting existing customers, who still need your attention and face time, but for different reasons. The customer may just need to reaffirm that trust and connection that he or she initially made with you. This person may also require that you see something onsite where your offering might help.
It also may be that you can use your business trip to get a new piece of business from a client by bringing a new offering so he or she sees how to incorporate it into the company's needs -- something which can’t always resonate through a virtual meeting.
3. The destination involves significant marketing opportunities.
If a trade show or conference is involved, a business trip can add value by securing leads and renewing your personal connection or even gaining new business through marketing efforts conducted at that event. Never underestimate the power of networking, and its potential to create new relationships. Marketing could mean participating in a speech or panel discussion as well as purchasing a booth at a critical industry trade show.
4. A trip provides a way to get training unavailable through other channels.
A business trip is of value when it involves specific training that is essential for team members because it will add to their capabilities and skill set, which will generate more revenue for your business. While most training is available online, there is still a considerable benefit for team members to meet in person so they can learn together and get to know one other, which helps facilitate future projects.
5. The length of the trip has been minimized.
There’s great value in keeping business trips as short as possible in order to stay focused, lower expenses involved and ensure that current projects continue to progress. You need to produce the most results in as short a time as possible.
This emphasis on maximizing time is something that always helps me see the value in these trips if they are proposed by people I work with. You can reassure your boss that you will continue to do other work so no projects will lag behind while you are away.
6. The potential ROI gained from the trip is greater than the trip's cost.
For anyone who wants his or her boss to approve a business trip, it’s a good idea to map out the specific costs in advance, then estimate the potential ROI that could be garnered if you attended the event.
Ensuring you keep all your business expenses related to the trip low -- though many trips are tax deductible -- will help create an optimistic view of the revenue potential and what positive gains could occur that could become the leverage for future business trips.
It’s important to understand when business trips are of value and how your boss sees this value. Make sure you have researched in advance so you can use quantitative data to back up your claims about the benefits of the business trip. Finally, if the business trip is approved, it’s a good idea to do a recap -- possibly in writing -- to determine how much ROI you were able to achieve during the excursion.