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Ian Altman Headshot

Are We There Yet? The Parallels Between Family Road Trips and Business

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During a recent family road trip, our children would often ask the popular question "Are we there yet?" It got me thinking about the common ground between family road trips and business.

Asking the Question Has No Impact on the Outcome
After extensive research, my wife and I have concluded that no matter how many times they ask "Are we there yet?" It does not change the actual arrival time.  Ironically, asking your team or colleagues "Has the deal closed yet?" Has the same impact on closing the deal - none. But, there are areas of focus where you can impact your success on both your road trip and your trip to increase revenue.

Map Your Trip
If you don't plan a road trip in advance, you might not take the most efficient route. You might find that you overlook key elements (like where you'll eat or the availability of a hotel with your desired amenities), and you could arrive at a destination that is overcrowded and not ready for your arrival.

Planning is equally valuable in business. Define three key elements up front:
  1. Why does the client need what you are selling;
  2. What is the likely outcome they need to be comfortable moving forward; and
  3. Who is impacted by the solution, and how did they make such a decision last time.
If you take the time to define these elements, you'll quickly appreciate the route you need to take to reach your revenue destination. You'll also know which destinations are not going to be part of your journey.

Not Every Trip is Worth Taking
We had started planning a road trip last year, only to realize that the route was filled with construction, and the resorts at the destination were not a good fit for how we travel. We postponed the trip, and later learned that some friends took the same trip and hated the experience.

Not every business transaction is a good one, and you are not the right fit for each opportunity. Take a good look at each opportunity to determine if it is a good fit - in essence, a journey worth taking.

Conclusion
Realize that asking if the customer has made a decision, or asking your reps when the deal will close is the business equivalent of asking "Are we there yet?"  And just like that question, asking it often does not change the outcome, and probably annoys everyone who hears it.

It's Your Turn
Which steps do you feel are the key to success (in business or road trips)?