Quick Sales Research that goes a Long Way

Over the last 5 years, the sales role has seen numerous trends which have changed the way we prospect and sell. From Social Selling to Inbound Marketing (oh, by the way, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this but that is for another day), the way that we engage with prospects is much different. The marketing agencies are waging a war on the cold call (again, later) and it is admittedly harder to get people to speak. Email is the most stubborn, ruthless gatekeeper known to man.

The days of working your way through a list cold, and using the old principle that the more dials you make, the more contacts you make, has some flaws in it. There is still a very real correlation to dials and contact, but it is on you, the salesperson, to do everything in your power to increase your conversion rate through adding value. One of the best ways to do this is to sound like you actually know what you are talking about right away. A little research on your prospect can go along way. But be cautious; there is a fine balance between having some key insights on your customer and sounding like a complete stalker.

It’s up to us as sales professionals to evolve with the times. That doesn’t mean put away the phone. Instead we need to do a better job of getting our prospect’s attention. One key way to set ourselves apart is by doing research to identify what your prospect actually cares about. It’s not always easy to draw a direct line from their job to your product. That’s where research comes into play. The areas of research that are going to give you the best bang for your buck are the prospect them self, the company that they work for, and the industry that they are in. Having a blended knowledge of the three will go a long way.

Below is a look at various places to research and how they help you identify information about the individual, company, and industry.

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As you can see, there is an incredible amount of information available if you are willing to spend the time looking for it.

Hangover Alert! Quick Fixes to Reduce Puffiness/Dark Circles Under Eyes

A career in sales, especially where travel is involved, will wreak havoc on your body. Whether from a hangover or simply from the long hours of traveling, meeting clients, entertaining in the evening, etc, you are likely to show many of the physical signs of fatigue the next day. There are many ways to mask a lack of sleep from a performance standpoint, caffeine being the one that stands out the most, but there are also some great solutions to revitalizing yourself and reducing the physical signs of fatigue. Here are a few that I’ve used over the years.

Tea bag on Eye

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The caffeine in a tea bag has an almost magical effect. The combination of warmth and caffeine is very invigorating and results in a noticeable reduction of puffiness and darkness under the eyes. The application is very simple. Heat up a couple of tea bags. You won’t want to apply to your eyes when they are completely hot, so after heating them up, remove them and put them in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes. After they’ve cooled down (but should still be pretty warm), place one under each eye for a few minutes.

Cucumber

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I can’t really explain this one, but it has the added effect of also calming me down. It’s incredibly simple. Cut a couple of cucumber slices and place them on each eye for 15-30 minutes. This can also be a great time to meditate or catch a quick power nap. 

Cold Spoon

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I often use this in combination with the tea bag method, alternating at different times during the day. Stick a teaspoon in the freezer and then let it thaw for about five minutes. From there, just place under each eye for about a minute or two. It will reduce puffiness and can also help wake you up a bit.

Hangovers and general fatigue are no joke, and these are only a few methods to reduce the effects, but every little bit helps.

Help! My Customer is (Acting Like) An Asshole!

First, I want to preface this by saying that the term “asshole” may not be appropriate, which is a something I hope to get across below. In today’s clickbait, read the title and assume the content era, you can never be too careful. With that being said, all salespeople will have situations where they feel like they are in an abusive relationship with a potential customer. It’s important to understand that there may be a lot more going on behind the scenes. When you understand the true situation, you should be able to overcome anything.

There are many reasons why a person can act rude to a seller. For some it is a true power trip. For others, they might have had bad experiences with bad salespeople in the past. There may also be something major going on in the person’s personal or professional life which has them in a bad mood. While all of these reasons are understandable, there is also the possibility that the person is just truly an asshole. I hate to say it, but these people exist. If you need further proof, view the comments section of a political article on yahoo news.

Sales is about a buyer and a seller coming together to agree on a solution which is mutually beneficial (revenue for the seller and a positive business outcome for the buyer). If you can keep the conversation focused on this and deflect whatever is pissing the buyer off, you should be able to forge a good path forward. Here are a few additional tips for getting things back on track.

Call the person out in a very polite manner. A few suggestions are, “I’m sorry. You seem a little upset with me. Did I do something to offend you?” or “Let’s take a break from this conversation and discuss what has you so upset. I very much want to earn your business, but if you are mad at something I have done or said, I want to resolve this first”

Most people don’t realize they are such assholes and when it is pointed out, they tend to back off.

If the person continues to be abusive, you can also push back. This is risky and may cost you the deal, but nobody has the right to treat you poorly. As with the tactic above, many times people will react positively to this and will be a lot more positive going forward.

There is no silver bullet or magic solution to dealing with abusive customers, but talking through it and being respectful is the best, most time-tested approach. If at the end of the day, you have practiced extreme patience and empathy, and you are still getting a lot of abuse and flack from them, you always have the option of walking away.

Sales Travel Guide - San Francisco

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.

Hotel Recommendation:

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

Something Touristy:

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?

The Five Things you Can Do To Improve Sales by Waking up a Little Earlier

If you read the daily habits of some of the most successful and influential people in the world, you will find that one thing many of them have in common is being early risers.

The Rock, arguably one of the most well known and well liked people on the planet, in addition to being regarded as an extremely hard worker, wakes up as early at 3:50 AM to hit the gym. The results speak for themself. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, while not quite the gym rat that The Rock is, wakes up at 3:45 AM, and just so happens to run the biggest business in the world. Bill Gates gets up at 4:00 AM. The list goes on and on, but you get the picture.

Salespeople have a lot to gain by getting up just a little bit earlier as well. Here are five things that you can accomplish with as little as an hour of extra time tacked on to your morning.

  • Send out a few personalized emails - Mass email and email lists are becoming less and less effective. They are great for broadcasting out useful information in a newsletter format, or for communicating key updates for a captive audience, but their utility in sales prospecting is fairly diminishing. Personalized email, containing truly unique references to the prospect and their business goals, on the other hand, are a great way to set yourself apart. Use your extra time in the morning to research 3 prospects and tailor one of your best cold email templates. If you do this 5 days per week, you are going to send 15 effective emails to prospects per week, before the day even starts.

  • Beat the morning rush - most sales veterans know that the best time to call C-Level executives is either before 8 AM, or after 5 PM. Set yourself apart from the pack and place a few calls before you start your commute

  • Organize your day, leaving more time for selling activity - Administrative work is a necessary evil, but doing it at the wrong time (prime selling time) is poison to your pipeline. Organize your day by clearing off unproductive meetings, researching key prospects, pre-writing a few emails, and clearing out your emails from the prior day

  • Read a Few Blogs for Inspiration - Another trait of highly successful salespeople is to read..a lot. There are a ton of sales and business blogs out there that will get you out of your comfort zone. In addition to this, you should have some time to check the news for any key information or updates about your key prospects

  • Meditate to clear your head - meditation is easily one of the best ways to reduce stress and clear your mind in advance of a productive day. There are varying theories on when to do this, but one of the best times is definitely first thing in the morning.

This doesn’t include a number of other health and wellness initiatives that you can tackle in the morning, but it gives you a taste of what you can accomplish by just starting a little bit earlier.

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Believe the Hype. Use Airborne Before, During, and After Flying

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past twenty or so years, you are familiar with the vitamin supplement, Airborne. As a refresher, Airborne is a supplement containing an insane amount of Vitamin C, in addition to a number of other vitamins, minerals, and herbs. It was originally developed by a school teacher. Most likely she was sick of getting infected by the classroom of outbreak monkeys that she dealt with on a daily basis and found a combination that worked for her.

Since then, Airborne has been used by many a savvy business traveler and is hailed as an unofficial germ condom for said travelers. The theory is that the tablet, gummy, or powder hits your body with so many vitamins and minerals that your immune system gets a temporary boost, thus protecting it from most airborne (ahh) viruses.

There are actually no Federally sanctioned studies to back up any of these claims, but this is one of those rare situations where a large percentage of the population can attest to a product. At most, it does give the immune system a boost. At worst, it doesn’t hurt. The only possible side effects that have been communicated are related to whether or not a person has an issue with any of the vitamins, herbs, or minerals in Airborne. It’s got a lot of the same stuff as a multivitamin but cranked up to 11.

Airborne should be a part of all sales traveler’s bag of tricks. My personal regimen is to take one the night before a flight and again an hour before the flight. If I have a scratchy feeling in my throat after the flight, I will also take one that evening. I repeat the process for return flights. In addition, I also order an orange juice on the plane to give myself that additional boost of Vitamin C. The worst side effect I’ve had to deal with is multiple trips to the bathroom on the plane.

Do you have any other tips for boosting your immune system on flights? If so, please share.

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Introduce Meditation to your routine

As I’ve gotten older and wiser (supposedly), I’ve come to realize that I am not exactly great at regulating my stress levels. In fact, I’m pretty damn awful at it. Luckily, I’ve recently introduced meditation into my daily routine. Now, I was like many of you, likely considering this to be for hippy dippies and yogis, but I have to say, it’s made a world of difference. There are so many benefits of meditation. These include, but are not limited to, better management of stress, the ability to be more present and mindful, a lower resting heart rate, and just a general feeling of gratitude to yourself for doing something positive for your body (in sharp contrast to the stuff I normally share on this site).

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to meditate for very long each day. Five minutes a day is a great place to start. One thing I have to recommend for anybody who travels a lot is a set of wireless headphones. That way, you can meditate anywhere, anytime, no matter who is around.

 I’m not nearly zen enough to figure this out on my own, so I’ve downloaded and tried a number of Apps and Websites. Here are the ones that I’ve found to be most helpful.

  • Simple Habit - This is my go-to for daily meditation. They have a lot of 5 and 10 minute options, which is kind of what I set as my daily minimum. They also have a wonderful feature called “On-The-Go,” where you can enter what you are doing at the moment and they will suggest a specific meditation. The free version is very good, and sufficient for many people, but the paid version is worth the money if you are serious about making meditation a priority.

  • An app with some cool features, some of which I haven’t taken full advantage of, is Calm. They have a pretty great set of Sleep Meditations and Sleep stories which I have tried and like a lot. I haven’t used many of their traditional meditations, but they have a good reputation..

  • Meditation Studio is similar to Simple Habit in a lot of ways. One thing that sets them apart is that you can get a full series of guided meditations in their free version, while Simple Habit will usually only give you the first two. Their guided meditations are topical and very useful.

Once you have gotten used to meditation, you might want to download Relax Melodies. This app is a little more self-driven. You can essentially weave together various sounds and listen to them on a loop. One key benefit of this app is that you can also download them to your phone, which is excellent for air travel.

The four apps above are a great place to start. Of course, there is always Youtube, which has seemingly unlimited, but poorly curated options available. If any of you have come across any apps or techniques that you’d like to share, please comment, tweet, or email us at contact@salesandtonic.com.

 

Why the Mobile Passport is the Best App for International Travel

Although the Mobile Passport has been out since 2014, it has not completely caught on as quickly as some of the other line skipping options available. As of press time, it is available in 25 airports and 2 additional ports of entry in the US.

The app was released by the US Customs and Border Patrol. It differs from two of their other programs; Global Entry and TSA Precheck. As indicated by the name, TSA Precheck is for checking in through security prior to boarding your plane. This is highly recommended for anybody who flies more than even a couple of times per year.

Global Entry takes it a step further with a priority entry line when getting back into the States after an international trip. That is where Mobile Passport comes in. Similarly to Global Entry, Mobile Passport gives you the chance to jump into a separate queue from the other passengers.  Due to the fact that it isn't as widely adopted as Global Entry, it will only be useful if available in your airport, but if it is, by all means, use it.

So, does it work? Based on my experience, yes! In the busiest airport in the world (Atlanta), I breezed through! Twice now I have come off of a full flight and completely bypassed the line. If I didn't have to wait an hour for my bags it would have been a major win, but that's another story. I recommended that you start filling out the form prior to taking off and submit once you land. It is basically the same form that you fill out to declare anything you purchased while abroad.

Once you deplane, follow the signs. If you don’t see a sign, ask. It's that simple.

For a complete list of airports that offer Mobile Passport, see below:

  • Atlanta (ATL)

  • Baltimore (BWI)

  • Boston (BOS)

  • Chicago (CHI)

  • Dallas (DFW)

  • Denver (DEN)

  • Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)

  • Houston (HOU and IAH)

  • Los Angeles (LAX)

  • Miami (MIA)

  • Minneapolis (MSP)

  • New York (JFK)

  • Newark (EWR)

  • Orlando (MCO)

  • Phoenix (PHX)

  • Port Everglades (PEV)

  • Raleigh-Durham (RDU)

  • Sacramento (SMF)

  • San Diego (SAN)

  • San Francisco (SFO)

  • San Jose (SJC)

  • Seattle (SEA)

  • Tampa (TPA)

  • Washington, DC (IAD)

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How to Save Space, Time, and Frustration by Using an Underseat Bag

Two things that I absolutely despise when traveling are checking bags and fighting for overhead space on the plane. Unfortunately, it usually comes down to a choice between the two. Luckily, there is a solution. A couple of years ago, I invested in an underseat bag. Essentially, it is a smaller bag with dimensions designed to fit underneath most airplane seats.

There are a number of options, so I’ve kept this pretty brief. Look around and find one that’s right for you.

Samsonite - this is the one that I have been using for over two years. It's very basic and sturdy. The wheels do not rotate 360°, but it is still very functional. It's got a great space for a laptop and other electronics. I find that if I need to travel for more than two days, things get a little bit tight. It also works best if you only have one pair of shoes for the entire trip.

https://amzn.to/2A1Mntn


Tumi - without a doubt, this is the best on the market. Of course, it comes with a very hefty price tag. Unless you primarily take short one to three day trips, you're most likely going to need to have other luggage in your arsenal anyway. It really comes down to whether not you want to spend this kind of money. Tumi also sells numerous organizational system add on products to help maximize space. https://www.tumi.com/c/luggage/carryon-luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 4 - while it is not the same quality as the Samsonite or Tumi, this is a great option as well. It is less expensive, very lightweight, and does have a feature that the Samsonite does not. It has 360° spinning wheels. If you only need underseat bag a couple of times per year, this could be a great option for you. https://amzn.to/2A1Krkt

Of course, there are a few situations where this will not work. Obviously if you need to pack heavy or are planning to travel for more than three days, it's very unlikely this will work for you. Sometimes two days is a stretch depending on the climate. Also, there have been several times where I got on a plane and realized that there was a barrier or a bar underneath the seat that made it impossible for the bag to fit. Nothing is a guarantee.

Once you've picked a bag, you simply have to figure out how to pack efficiently and what to take. I'll leave that one up to you for now

How to Grow the Size of Your Deal

There are countless studies that explain how much easier it is to sell to an existing customer than to win new business. Even hunters can take advantage of this. It’s depends on your compensation plan and how long you have to develop an account, but the best time to sell additional services or at least plant the seeds for them is right after you close your initial deal.

Why is this?

First, the customer (presumably) already trusts you. Winning new business isn’t easy and there are a lot of fish in the sea. For a buyer to choose you, there needs to be a certain level of trust earned. Assuming you have gotten this far, you should be able to use this to your advantage to leverage additional products/services. It should go without saying that the services need to be in the buyer’s best interest, otherwise you risk the trust that you worked so hard to build in the first place.

You have already gone through their purchasing process. This includes legal/contract review, purchasing/procurement, and possibly a security or IT audit. As tedious as this seemed on your end, don’t think that your buyer doesn’t hate it. They most likely don’t want to go through these steps again, so if you are able to position the right services/products for them, and it avoids them having to go through these steps with another provider, you are in good shape.

Depending on your business and what you sell, there is likely an onboarding process. It is up to you to ensure that this goes smoothly, even if you aren’t directly responsible. In sales, we are always responsible for seeing through what we’ve sold. Join any calls, meetings, etc. Share insights from the sales process. Be your buyer’s advocate, and make it the most frictionless process possible.

If you nail these steps, you are much more likely to win additional business quickly after the first sale.

What To Wear the First Day on the Job

The days of wearing a brand new suit and a freshly starched white shirt, with a wide tie and an eager smile are over. The corporate culture across the globe has changed drastically. You still have conservative bastions of tradition in financial centers such as New York, London, and Hong Kong. Some industries such as banking, law, and insurance are more likely to stick to tradition as well. With all of that said, the tech boom of the last 30 years, coupled with a focus on working comfortably rather than formally has had a profound impact on how we dress on a daily basis. More and more people work from home, at least part of the time, and the fact that many prospective buyers don’t dress as formally has changed how sellers dress.

All of these factors can make the first day on the job intimidating for a new hire. Go in overdressed, and you rest being labelled as a stuck up kiss-ass. Don’t dress formally enough and you could come across as a lazy slob. It’s really important to nail the first day, and luckily we have you covered.

The key is research. Luckily, it won’t take you long, but the effort is well worth it. There are a few places to try:

  • Company website - many websites will have pictures of employees on their first days, company events, interviews with current employees, etc. Take a look on the site to see if you can find anything of use. Another place to check is the company social media sites. Facebook has emerged as a place for employers to highlight their company culture, with the hopes of attracting new talent.

  • Talk to existing employees - this is kind of a no brainer. If you know somebody at the company, ask them.

  • Recruiter or Hiring Manager - most people have dealt with a recruiter, HR rep, or their hiring manager. This is probably the best person to ask for advice.

If all else fails, men can wear a white or blue shirt with a tie that has a splash of color. Bring a sportcoat that you can either take on or keep off, but will still work with the rest of the ensemble. Ladies can do the same, minus the tie.

Cold Brew Coffee for the Win

Coffee is a drug, make no mistake about it. It’s an expensive habit, but one that most salespeople are hooked on, somewhat hopelessly. I personally can’t function in the morning until that sweet, sweet caffeine has touched my lips. Sad, right? I know I’m not alone. The morning is pretty straightforward. Get a programmable coffee machine (or a Keurig if you don’t care about taste), set it for 5 minutes before you normally wake up, lumber into the kitchen, and come back to life.

This works for me every morning. The real issue is midday, especially when working from home or in the office. I don’t often have time to stop by a coffee shop, and don’t really like how coffee comes out when I try to brew 4 or less cups. Recently, I’ve started making cold brew coffee. This isn’t to be confused with iced coffee, which is more or less just regular coffee over ice. Cold brew coffee takes a little more effort, but is well worth it. Typically, for scientific reasons that I’m not qualified to discuss, this results in a less bitter, less acidic drink, which is perfect for an afternoon pick me up. Better yet, you can brew a pitcher of the stuff and it will last for up to a week. Simply serve black, over ice, or over milk and you can control the relative strength as well.

There are tons of recipes out there, but here is the easiest way I’ve found to make it:

What do you need?

  • Pitcher

  • Water

  • Whole Coffee Beans (don’t go cheap here)

  • Cheesecloth or Mesh Strainer

Instructions:

Normally you will want to use a ratio of 2 parts water, 1 part coffee bean, but this will take some trial and error. If you find your first batch too strong, add more water. Conversely, if your first batch doesn’t grow hair on your chest, add more coffee.

I recommend grinding the coffee beans coarsely, not too finely. Again, this will take some trial and error.

Place the coffee in the pitcher with the water. Steep for at least 12 hours. Some people do this in the fridge, and others on the counter. The choice is yours. I prefer the refrigerator.

After 12 hours, run the mixture through the cheesecloth and pour into a clean pitcher. Sometimes you will have to run it through twice to remove any persistent coffee grinds. Now, serve over your choice of milk or cream (or none at all) and enjoy.

How to Get Stuff Done on a Flight

Sometimes when I fly, I just want to relax. Here is our guide on relaxing and rejuvenating while flying. Other times I want to get stuff done. Here are some pretty basic tips for getting a ton of work done on the plane.

Work - offline

Almost every flight has the option to purchase Internet. I have found that I am so much more productive when I download all of my email prior to the flight, and work off-line. This allows for much less reactive work, and much better task management. You can knock out things that have been sitting on your to do list for months.

Talk to somebody

There is something about being trapped in an airtight container at 30,000 feet elevation which makes it very hard for people to ignore you. In all seriousness, there's nothing wrong with striking up a conversation with somebody on your plane. One thing that has never changed is that people like talking about themselves. At the very least, you can find out who they are, where they're from, where they're going, who they're working for, and what they do. Those pieces of information are usually great rapport builders and help you to see if there's a potential fit at some point

Print out sales collateral or training materials

I've always printed out training materials and sales collateral in anticipation of long flights. This is not for that I might not get a chance or make a chance to read while at home or in the office. There are a lot less excuses and distractions went flying. In addition, I've always found that I think differently from a strategic perspective when flying. Perhaps it is the fact that I am not receiving a ton of inbound communications and I am able to focus more.

Turn That Business Trip Into A Long Weekend

Sales is the best job in the world. I’ve said it many times and I will defend it until I turn blue in the face. But, even the best job in the world is a grind. The only way to be truly successful in sales is to absolutely work your ass off. As it turns out, working your ass off takes a lot of energy. Add business travel to the mix, and you might find yourself in need of a little extended rest and relaxation. Luckily, as mentioned before, sales is the best job in the world. If you are able to get a little bit creative with your schedule, turn most business trips into at least a little time for yourself.

Whenever possible, try to plan meetings so that you can extend your trip through the weekend. You can either plan for a Monday meeting and go the weekend before, or a Friday meeting and stay for the following weekend. Depending on the nature of your job, Tuesday or Thursday might give you enough flexibility to accomplish the same.

Your company is going to have to cover your airfare or transportation one way or another, so unless the rates are much higher based on your adjusted travel days, they probably won’t care. You will, however, be responsible for covering lodging for the extra days. There are a few ways to minimize the impact of this.

Airbnb is a fantastic way to stay in a city, experience it the way the locals do, and spend a fraction of what you might spend at a hotel.

If you have any friends or family living in the city, give them a call. It might cost you a dinner or a round of beers, but it’s going to be a lot cheaper than a hotel room for a couple of nights.

If you really like the hotel that you’re staying at for business, see if they will keep the rate consistent. In many cases, the hotel will be willing to give you a further discount or at least honor your corporate rate. Weekends are a little bit more at most hotels, so keep that in mind.

Those of us who are lucky enough to travel for business have an amazing opportunity to see parts of the world that we might not see otherwise. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of this.

How to Avoid Mispronouncing a Name

No matter what you do, you will never be able to avoid coming across a name that you just can’t pronounce. This is doubly true as you move your way up in the sales world and start selling in countries other than your own. Here are a few easy tips to make sure that you don’t wind up looking like an uncultured asshole when you reach out to them.

Youtube. Seriously, use youtube. There are a ton of videos pronouncing anything you can imagine. Some channels are dedicated to pronouncing names. I have used this to win more than one bet.

Google. This one is a bit obvious, but feel free to ask how to pronounce a name. Along the same line of thinking, you can ask Alexa, Siri, Google Home, etc and should find what you are looking for.

Ask a gatekeeper or coworker. If you come across somebody at the organization who is trying to patch you through to the person, humbly ask them how to say the name.

If you wind up speaking with this person and hadn’t had a chance to do the research, just swallow your pride and tell them that you don’t want to butcher their name. They will ultimately appreciate you trying. A bonus here is that you’ve just broken the ice without having to jump into sales mode.