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Air Travel for Sales? No Thanks...

I will be the first to admit that I hate airline travel.  It is unreliable, inconvenient, expensive and down right unpleasant.  We avoid business travel if we can.  In that vein, both principals at JFM took great umbrage to a recent article in Frontier Airline’s in-flight magazine.

 

Some sales putz flew to Tampa to close a deal and finally got it inked at eight o’clock at night so that it would fall in the current quarter.  If he “Hadn’t been sitting right there” the deal “wouldn’t have happened.” Bullshit. The CEO wanted another day to review numbers and it seems from the article that deal was closed already.   I will grudgingly grant that in certain verticals a face-to-face is still the order of the day.  But seriously, flying to assure a deal closes in a particular quarter?  Under high pressure to make my salesmen’s accountants happy, I would have told the firm to pound sand and would have found another vendor.

 

We have hundreds of long-term clients – I have only met a few of them.  Would I like to go make sales calls?  Sure.  Like many companies, one of our contact’s marketing departments has shrunk by 180 people. Who has the time to have people fly in for meetings and the requisite after hours socializing where the real work gets done?  Five minutes in an abbreviated email is five minutes more than most people have to spare.  Travel throws the work/life balance even further off kilter than it already is.

 

Of course, I did write this on a plane on my way back from an on site client meeting...

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