written by: Ian Johnson•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 2/1/2011
Writing a solid business trip report requires the willingness to capture all pertinent information about the customer's requirement, needs and concerns and to make sure the trip report is submitted the same day back to the head office.
slide 1 of 5
Tips for Writing a Business Trip Report
Just how important is it to finish a business trip report the same day as the customer visit? Well, if retaining customer information is essential to winning business, then it’s a fair assumption that completing that business trip report the same day is paramount to success. The key is to ensure that the most important information is retained and transmitted back to the head office. How can sales ensure they include those key pieces of information in the business trip report?
Before delving into the steps to completing a well documented business trip report, it’s important to first understand how sales must improve their memory retention. More importantly, how they must not only record information relative to the how and why of winning new business, but also information relative to the competition, the market and general direction of the customer’s business. In this sense, every piece of information is useful and it is the responsibility of the sales professional to ensure it’s captured. So, how is this done?
slide 2 of 5
1. Write Down Information in Front of Client
During customer visits, there are bound to be times when you’ll be able to write down all pertinent information about the customer’s requirements. However, this is often only possibly if you’ve asked for that opportunity before hand. Therefore, before visiting the customer, ask for the opportunity to meet with them where there can be a free exchange of ideas and an open discussion. Your customer should be more than willing to allow you to write down all the information you need. After all, it’s your job to ensure you know what they want and how they want it.
slide 3 of 5
2. Use a “Pre-defined" Code
There are guaranteed to be those times where you simply won’t be able to write everything down. Even if you’ve accounted for that time alone with the customer, there will still be times when you won’t have a chance to capture important information. A solution is to come up with a pre-defined code or nomenclature that designates specific information relative to your market. The code could be simple letters and numbers that designate information about competitors, quantity required, ideal pricing, etc. When those times won’t allow you to write everything down, use your own pre-defined codes.
slide 4 of 5
3. Record Initial Thoughts About Visit
Immediately after your customer visit, take the time to record your initial thoughts in order to capture them within your business trip report.There are always those subtle hints and occurrences during the customer visit that a number of sales professionals either choose to ignore, or are unable to capture. Be honest in your assessment about how the visit went. Capture your thoughts about the mood of the visit, the customer’s demeanor, the temperament of the employees and the general condition of their business. In each customer visit, there are extremely important pieces of information that must be captured.
slide 5 of 5
4. Segregate Information In The Business Trip Report
Simply writing down random pieces of information, and then submitting it back to the head office, is no way to write a business trip report. The information must be clear, concise and presented in a manner that allows everyone to disseminate the information accordingly. Therefore, be sure to segregate the information within the business trip report. You could do it by business opportunities, customer needs and concerns, and general notes about competitor and market trends.
Most sales professionals question why their trip report for a prospective customer must be finished and submitted to the head office in the same day. Simply put, memory retention is paramount to ensuring that all the pertinent information is captured. The longer someone waits to complete the business trip report, the less likely all the essential information will be retained. It’s human nature to forget and people tend to forget important information the longer they go without capturing that information by writing it down. While some sales professionals have strong memory retention, others must work at retaining key pieces of information.