If you are in B2B sales and have any dealings with Startups, Software as a Service (SAAS), or anything in the technology field, odds are you will find yourself in San Francisco, California at some point. San Francisco is one of the most creative cities in the world and is at the heart of technological innovation. For a sales traveler, presents some exciting opportunities to turn a work trip into a great extended weekend or mini-vacation.
Airport: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
SFO is absolutely massive. I have to admit, it is not my favorite airport. If I am spending most of my time in San Francisco proper, I will fly into SFO. Otherwise, if I plan on being in Silicon Valley, I will usually fly to San Jose. It is no bigger than other key airports in the world, but for some reason, things just seem to go a little bit more slowly in SFO. The monorail system usually tacks on 20 or 30 minutes to any final destination.
If you insist on staying at a chain and are looking for a decent rate with good amenities and a great location, the Marriott Courtyard in Union Square is a fine hotel to stay at. You can spend a lot more in San Francisco but it really depends on your situation. With that being said, our recommendation is actually to stay at an Airbnb. After all, Airbnb is based in San Francisco and has completely changed how people vacation. It is starting to also take off amongst business travelers.
How to Sell to People in San Francisco:
San Francisco is a laid-back, liberal culture, but also very business forward. Things move at the speed of technology, and you need to be laser-focused on business outcomes. In sharp contrast to the East Coast mentality of long-term return on investment, many companies in San Francisco are looking for solutions that increase their valuation today. Especially when working with startups, you need to be focused on how to help them show the most value to potential investors as one of their key goals is most likely to exit the business with a large payout.
Where to Take a Client for Lunch:
The Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District is a wonderful choice and is known for its Tavern Burger.
Where to Take a Client for Dinner:
Alioto’s is located on Fisherman’s Wharf and has excellent views in addition to its Italian and Seafood. You can make it upscale or casual and enjoy the view in either setting
Where to Take a Client for Drinks:
If you are just looking for drinks, you can’t go wrong with Fog Harbor at Pier 39. This is a go-to for me every time and it serves a dual purpose. Have you ever had a few too many drinks without anything to eat? Not a good situation when entertaining clients, right? Well, Fog Harbor serves Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Bowls. Nothing sops up the alcohol quite like a giant piece of Sourdough
If it is your first time in San Francisco, you absolutely have to take a trip to Alcatraz. It might seem cliché, but it is an experience that everybody should take in at least once. After all, who wouldn’t want to take a selfie in Al Capone's old cell?