We live in a digital work world where we can collaborate on projects via Slack and Docs, send of our invoices for digital bookkeeping, and communicate via Skype. So, it's no surprise that business owners think they can cut business trips out of their budget and write it off as an unnecessary expense. However, the truth is that no matter how much technology evolves, we still crave human interaction when it comes to work, even if it occurs in unconventional places.
As someone who has employees all working remotely, online relationships can only get you so far before you have to travel for business to build a professional relationship. So, how do you get your boss to approve your business trip? The process is going to be hard, but not impossible.
Here are a few ways that you can convince your boss that business trips are important to their business's bottom line.
1. Travel builds meaningful business relationships.
Face-to-face meetings with clients forms a connection that's normally absent when you're only communicating through email or video conferences. A healthy business relationship is one that's built on trust, empathy, and understanding. Stress the importance of building a strong foundation in order to promote growth.
In order for them to thrive, they need to focus on creating deeper, more meaningful professional relationships. I've found that meeting not only shows initiative, it also shows respect. I had one person tell me that I got their partnership because I was the only one who showed enough motivation to physically meet with them.
2. It helps close more deals.
Making new business deals are crucial to a business's success. While it's more convenient to get a client's business via email, you miss out on non-verbal cues, body language, and hesitation that can cause them to change their mind. When you're trying to close a deal in person, you can see when you say something that caused them to look puzzled or unsure. Or when they slightly raise their eyebrows or clench their jaw.
Being able to notice those small, but significant movements allow you to address what's bothering them and clarify more on your stance. Let your boss know that closing a deal face-to-face gives them the advantage to address any concerns and questions that may arise.
3. There's an opportunity to network.
The opportunity to network when there are many people in your industry going to the same place is significant compared to networking from a home office. Meeting people at the airport, in your hotel, or even in an Uber or Lyft can lead to further promotional opportunities. Someone may be in need of your services or has an idea or person that can help.
I've met some collaborators in the most unlikely of places. I've met people while waiting for coffee, while getting a haircut, even while picking up my suit for the event I was attending. Explain to your boss how opportunities are everywhere and going on a business trip is sure to expand the reach you currently have.
4. You can stay on top of marketing trends.
Relying on the internet to update you on what people are doing in your market puts you in a bubble. You only know the bare minimum version of how people are generating new business with their methods. The best way to swap ideas with people without a filter on what's being shared is by communicating with them in person.
Being able to see how things operate in real time and how people react to it is priceless.
5. You can gain new perspectives.
Having a successful business isn't just about seeing how you can help your customers solve gaps in their lives. It's also about seeing how your competitors are conducting business and if you can learn something new from them. Like with staying on top of marketing trends, taking a business trip can also help you gain a new perspective.
Over the years, I've learned that some cultures respond better to a play on words over others who prefer more factual based advertising. I recommend spending time with the locals to have a better understanding of how they think and what they respond favorably to. It will save you money on advertising.
6. You can get training and clarity.
Depending on how small your business is, the only training your employees may have received was virtual. While anything is better than nothing, additional hands-on training can provide your employees with sharpened skills that they can use to help you scale your business.
Business owners see everything as an investment. Therefore, you need to convey to them that business travel is their ultimate weapon for growing their business. You'll also have a better chance of getting the business trip approved by showing them the benefits and by explaining that they can cut costs of the trip with a business credit card.