4 Essential Tips For Business Road Trips

By Gail Cowley, Executive VP

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of going on a road trip with Tracey Gregory, our Project Manager.  We had a great time – a fun little adventure we’ve shared at the office; so since then, Joe, our Internet Marketing Manager has been bugging me to write a blog about it and make it something along the lines of “business tips for road trips” (which has nothing to do with the fact that Poe the Gnome has been sitting in my office reminding me it’s my turn to write the blog this month).  So here it is.

The 4 Essential Tips For Business Road Trips

It was the first time Tracey and I had been on the road together.  We left around 2PM for our four-hour, almost non-stop trip to Springfield, Mass. for our presentation to a prospect we were hoping to gain as a client.  I came well-prepared with the most essentials items – white cheddar popcorn, almonds, and cashews – but a trip of that length always requires the stereotypical stop at McDonalds where I got a Peppermint Mocha and Tracey, a cheeseburger.

I had been to our destination before and it was a pretty straight shot on the thruway, but we had printed directions just in case, and plenty of things to talk about.

We talked straight through the whole ride and pretty much didn’t come up for air.  Never once did we even think of turning on the radio.  We talked about the office, fashion, movies, relationships, books, processes, business and life goals, the weather (of course), the directions (alas), the presentation (obviously), politics (yes), not religion (phew), family, Paul Cowley (lol), and favorite food and restaurants.  We really ran the gamut on practically everything, as opposed to conversations in the office which are always so limited because of the tasks at hand that seem to attack us on all sides from our desks and computers.

Which brings me to our first tip…

#1 Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

We spent a considerable amount of time going over the presentation, which was a great aide to get ourselves fully prepared.  Tracey mentioned the phrase above when we later reflected on the exercise.  “You have to be your own devil’s advocate,” she said, referring to the fact that you must anticipate every objection to your presentation beforehand, and thereby make sure you have an answer to every possible question.

A business road trip is essentially the immediate preparation for any business conducted when you get there; it’s only natural for a responsible pair of business people to “fine-tooth comb” their own work before stepping on scene for the pitch.

#2 Define What Your Roles Will Be In the Actual Presentation

Having plenty of time to talk gave us the opportunity to plot our game plan and most of all, who would be saying what.  As the Executive VP, my role is always to represent the agency and lead the presentation, and Tracey, as Project Manager, the implementation and explanation of the process.

When we actually made it into the conference room, we were completely prepared: roles defined, PowerPoint and props ran smoothly; Tracey and I added to what we each other had to say and touched upon all the necessities.  The board we presented to responded very well to what we had to say; and when it came time for Q&A, Tracey and I were more than able to home run every curve ball, thanks to our preparation.

Since Tracey and I had the chance to really connect on the ride over, we could therefore complement each other’s personalities in our business presentation.

The Phone is the New Portable Desk#3 Upgrade To A Smartphone – The Portable Desk

It was on that trip that I sold Tracey on the idea to get an iPhone.  We got back in the car, this time heading in and out of a snowstorm (we ended up just fine) and the pressure was off since we had accomplished what we had set out to do.  We were able to debrief as much as we needed and go over business in general.  And I was able to keep up on business at the office via my iPhone: emails, calls, scheduling appointments, etc. – all in that handy invention that has revolutionized the way we do so many things.

It helps tremendously to not be so disconnected from the flow of the office while away on office business, all in a complex but simple to use device.

#4 Live Your Motivation

We pulled in late, not without stopping once more at McDonald’s for a hot fudge sundae (Tracey) and Fish McBites (myself).  We both went away exhausted but happy that we had achieved “job well done” status.

It was something to reflect upon: what drove the two of us to drive four hours out and four back to just pitch a job we didn’t have yet?  It was something we didn’t need to recite but only live.  It was the passion that defines our work, that separates a good job from a great one.  It wasn’t just another company to “do advertising” for or “just a paycheck” we were hoping to secure.  It’s the chance to take an organization and make it current – to creatively make it come alive!  And that’s not same-old or hum-drum: the work is always new and particular to the essence of that company, and now is coupled with incredible tools that advance daily, making results more measurable by means of new technology.

You don’t just repeat the spark of creative; it must be lit anew for each new endeavor because it’s unique for every entity we have to tackle.  Our advertising is not just that – it’s thought out to the detail, it’s conceived and executed specifically for each client.  It’s like painting a new masterpiece every time, or maybe today, like making a new motion picture with all the modern inventions as they come.

To put it short, it’s exciting and drives us to really give our best each and every time for our clients.  Each client, one by one.


Tracey and I continue to work well with our client roster together and look forward to the next road trip experience!

Incidentally, we did hear back from them not long after.  And we got the project!

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