How to Plan a Business Trip – Part II

I wrote a post sometime back on how to plan a business trip. I had mentioned in passing that I would soon be writing a post that dealt with how to plan various events to attend during the

course of the trip. So how do you really go places(excuse the mild pun) during a business trip?

1. Have a clear objective as to what are the type of people you need to be meeting with.  Depending on that you need to choose your target locations and events.These can be networking events, seminars, conferences, referral meetings, unconferences, informal meetups, etc.

2. Plan in advance. Search for events in the cities which you are going to be visting. Some good resources include Meetup, Eventbrite, Upcoming, LinkedIn Events, Gary’s Guide, etc. From our personal experience, I would

definitely recommend Meetup. It’s an excellent resource.

3. When you send out your RSVPs, try to coordinate with the organizers of the event beforehand. This can be handy if you wish to make a presentation or a talk at a networking event, for instance.

4. Make sure you have just the right number of events lined up for a day. Time is a valuable resource when you are on a trip, but you don’t want to wear yourself out either. Also, you need to plan it right in order to meet up with existing clients, because hey, they are as much important(if not more) as prospects!

5. Lastly, a few pointers – give out business cards, be on time, be polite and listen to what others say. Request for 1-1 meetings and follow up with people.

Check out Chaitanya’s post on OpenForum to know more about how to make networking and referral events work for you. Do you have any interesting pointers from your own business trip experiences? Let us know!

How to plan a Business Trip

Chaitanya returned back to India from a 40 day business tour of the US. The trip was a good experience and all of us at p2w2 benefited greatly from what he had to share.

The success of a business trip is highly dependent on the amount of planning that you do beforehand. I’d like to share some insights and learnings that went into planning Chaitanya’s US trip.

1.Have a clear purpose

Make sure you know clearly what the end result of the trip should be(get new customers/expanding to a new geography/learning about new trends,etc). Plan your trip accordingly.

2. Decide the agenda of your trip well in advance

This is essential so that you can book tickets, hotel rooms in advance and thereby save money too. Make sure that you choose your place of stay wisely, so that you don’t spend valuable time commuting.

3. Chalk out events properly

If you’re looking to meet potential clients, attend

referral meetings. If you wish to know more about what is

happening in that geography, what are the new trends, etc. attend seminars and conferences.  But more about planning events and seminars, later!

4.Popularize your meetings

If you’re conducting meetings, plan in advance and make sure it is well publicized. Use tools such as Meetup, Eventbrite, Upcoming, etc. to create buzz around your events.

5. Tweet and blog your experiences!

I hope you found this useful. Keep checking our blog to know what kind of planning needs to go into attending seminars and events specifically!

How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Girard – A Presentation

Joe Girard is an American salesman

who is ranked by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful salesman. He sold 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978. Here’s a link to Joe Girard’s website.

Girard has written an immensely popular best-seller,  “How to Sell Anything to Anybody”. The book is an interesting collection of Girard’s ‘selling secrets’ – the ones that transformed him from a rookie to the most successful salesman ever. I have prepared a presentation covering the broad topics outlined by the book. Check it out.

How To Sell Anything To Anybody

Enjoy the presentation, and sell your way to success!

Jason Fried (37signals)'s 'Out-teach the Competition to Beat Them' Strategy

Jason fried of 37signals talks about how they sell more by out teaching the competition. He allays fears that if you put your ‘secrets’ out, your competition will copy them. Somehow, that’s counter intuitive but true.

Out teaching the

competition and building an audience is a nice strategy and strikes a chord with me. Our blog is a testimonial to that. Such ‘be-a-nice-person’ strategy can work in this time and age because, on the Internet, you can reach out to your audience inexpensively.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this video and I think small businesses have a lot to learn from it. Check it out!

Check out their blog: Singal V Noise

Get gatekeepers on your side – get access to decision makers

Get gatekeepers on your side – get access to decision makersHow much time and attention can you devote to those who guard the offices of the CEOs and decision makers?

They are a pain! Are they?

There are “experts” out there who would advise you to bypass the gatekeeper to gain access to the decision-maker because time is money.

I know of an editor of a lifestyle magazine who has used just the opposite strategy — of respectfully cultivating the friendship of the Personal Assistants and Personal Secretaries to other editors, not just in her organization but rival ones too — and has gained unlimited (almost!) access to a number of decision makers.

I analyzed her behavior and her success lies in treating the gatekeepers with dignity. She recognizes the importance of a gatekeeper’s role — to filter out nuisance elements from her boss’s life and she treats him/her as a professional on a one-on-one level and not as someone’s minion.

The result? They too treated her with respect and trust her judgment enough to keep her in their loop.

This strategy — of empathizing with the role of another professional, however lower down in the hierarchy — costs very little but gets you rich returns. It gets you in the good books of all the decision makers you need. Whosever needs any dope on what is happening in the media industry has to step into her parlor and come out armed with authentic, first-hand information.

A mistake that many make is think that it pays only to network at the top, forgetting that in order to be able to able to get to the top they must first cultivate friends at the bottom rung.

They forget that gatekeepers are after all trusted lieutenants, who have been appointed by the CEO themselves to filter out useful from the non-useful contacts. The gatekeepers segment visitors. In management jargon, they constrain the flow of knowledge and information in an organization, which is no mean a job by any stretch of imagination.

Therefore, the first rule in dealing with a gatekeeper is: do not discount her influence. She may not be the final decision maker, but she is an influencer and getting the person on your side as an advocate can often cut-short the decision making process. She will then act as your agent in selling your business proposition to the boss.

Here’s a good discussion worth reading on this topic and a quote from someone called Lighthouse24 on BOA’s community.

“My advice is to think of every gatekeeper as your “agent” — someone in each company who is doing the groundwork to “promote” your business inside that organization, and who will get you an “audition” with the boss when the time is right. Don’t think of them as people who keep you OUT — because they’re actually the people who can get you IN if you take them time to build a relationship with them.

A decision maker isn’t going to buy imprinted mugs or kick off a new promotion all by himself — there will be meetings and conversations, and the gatekeeper will have several opportunities to shine by having information and answers when the decision maker needs them (which you will have been providing for months while building the relationship). When the executive is ready to move forward, the gatekeeper will schedule you first. When you pitch, you’ll only have to sell on one level (convincing the decision maker to buy from you instead of someone else), and you’ll only have to sell one time to be assured of all future business if you perform satisfactorily.

If you go around the gatekeeper and approach the decision maker directly as some have recommended, you’ll have to sell on three levels (convincing them to listen to you in the first place, convincing them that they need what you’re selling, and then convincing them to buy it from you). Plus, if a good gatekeeper feels that you “trespassed” and made her look bad, she WILL become the person who keeps you out in the future.”

About the author: Chaitanya Sagar is an

expert in small businesses and is the CEO of, an online marketplace for services like writing, business consulting, research, software, online-tutoring etc. You can find good service providers and collaborate with them on p2w2.

Picture credits: kyz