10 iPhone Apps For Sales People That Travel

I just got back from a 9 day, many state road trip for work and it started to dawn on me on this trip that, of the apps on my iPhone, there are a good set of them that I just can’t live without. I’m sure that this isn’t a complete list and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but here is a list of 10 iPhone apps that I rely on pretty heavily.10.) Bank of America – I’m a cheap bastard.  There is nothing I hate more than pulling out $100 from some ATM machine to know that I’m incurring a 5% penalty because of all of the fees that they stick me with.  This app is nothing more than a simple way to show me where the closest BofA ATM is, but

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this little puppy points you in the right direction.  The app also lets you log in, check balances, transfer money around whatever.  If you own an iPhone, but also are such a financial misfit that you have to regularly check your balance on your phone, you shouldn’t have an iPhone.  If you like to save $5 on fees  and don’t mind walking an extra block down the street, this app is for you.

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9.) FourSquare – Okay, yes, the whole FourSquare thing is uber-dorky, yet I’m hooked on it.  I don’t go out enough to be the mayor of too many places, but it is a nice perk.  What I loved about it when I was traveling was getting the tips.  When I checked in at my hotel in Chicago, I got some great tips on places to eat.  When I checked in at restaurants that I’d never been to, I got tips on what to order and even the opportunity to look around a bit and see if other FourSquare’ers were there.  It would have been a cool way to meet people in a strange town.8.) RunKeeper -

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I went for an awesome run along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.  It was maybe the last night of the year where it was really warm. It was dark out, but the path was packed.  Perfect night for running.  I loved it and can’t wait to do it again when I’m back in Chicago.  The odds of me staying at the same hotel and finding that route again would be pretty slim if I didn’t have a map that I could easily access and get back to.  Next time I’m in Chicago and the weather is nice, I just pull up RunKeeper, look where I was and do that route again.  Plus, I kind of feel obligate to run more when I know that I can’t let RunKeeper down.

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7 & 6.) Amazon’s Kindle & Stanza Book Reader – When I get a few minutes of down time, I love to read.  I have both of these applications on my phone and use them kind of interchangeably.  I prefer Stanza of Kindle, but the selection for Kindle seems like it is better.  Both apps are great and I had

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a tough time picking between the two.  The nice part is that they are both free apps.  Stanza is pretty great though, plus, they have a huge collection of of old, public domain books that are free.  Think of this as a chance to go back and read the classics that you know you should be familiar with, but never read because you don’t want to shell out $10 for Hamlet.

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5.) Yelp – Quick, you have been asked to line up a dinner for you, your boss and a major client.  What do you do?  You go to Yelp, of course. Why would you do anything else?  You find a cool boutique restaurant that your client has never been to, you’ve read the reviews so you know it is solid and you know what to order.  You make a great showing and everyone loves you.  In another city, Yelp is worth it’s weight in gold (yes, I realize that bytes don’t weigh that much, but you know what I mean). Plus, do you really want to eat shitty hotel food for the fourth night in a row?  Seriously, go out and find something good.

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4.) WebEx (warning: super loud, annoying auto-start audio / video) – I was a walking commercial for WebEx a few weeks ago.  I had just gotten off a plane, was in a cab and got a voice mail from the customer that I was going to go see.   “Hey Scott, one of our key guys isn’t able to make it today. We need to WebEx him in, can you set that up?”  No problem.  Open up the WebEx app, login and set up the meeting. It went off without a hitch.  You can even watch meetings over your phone.  WebEx advertises having meetings on the golf course.  If anyone in my foursome did that, I’d probably beat them with a 3-iron.  Anywhere else, the app is pretty cool.

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3.) Salesforce – This application has a single flaw, a very annoying, easy to forget 5 digit pin number.  5-digits, not 4 like everything else on the planet. 5.  That is my only complaint though.  The application has access to your entire database of contacts, deals, leads and anything else you’d want to work on in that environment.  It is fast, clean and really pretty well laid out.  Personally, I think that Salesforce has some pretty major UI issues (no next button when going through leads?), but I can get over them in the mobile app.  It is pretty sweet.2.) Motion X GPS -

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Right about the time that Jeff Nolan put out his post about the death of $2,000 GPS systems, my friend Paul sent me a note letting me know that he took a new job as VP of Business Development for Motion X, a Phillippe Kahn venture.  I knew that I was going to be traveling soon and I was excited about trying out the Motion X system.  I get lost a lot.  Especially in Washington, DC where traffic is a mess and the idea of giving any kind of directional sign is foreign to them.  Motion X was a huge time saver.  The directions were really solid.  I didn’t upgrade to get the speaking turn by turn directions, but was able to find my way around very easily using the system.  One word of warning, this app is a huge power suck.  Keep in mind that you’ve got the GPS, 3G & full screen going.  Don’t forget your car power adapter.

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1.) MyStarbucks – What did you think that it would be something serious to get work done?  This is the fuel to get work done.  My breakfast when I travel is always pretty consistent.  I wake up and walk to the closest Starbucks and get a Venti non-fat latte and a yogurt parfait. It is way healthier and much less expensive than anything that the hotel would serve.  I know it is heresy to say to real coffee lovers, but I love Starbucks coffee.  It works for me.  This application tells me where the closest store is.  Gives me a map and, using Motion X, get’s me there on fast.  It is like a digital line to a big cup of frothy brown joy.BONUS!!!While these aren’t native iPhone apps, I have found 2 additional sites that I rely on pretty heavily.

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Southwest.com Mobile – I actually booked a flight on Southwest while on a Southwest flight.  As they were asking people to shut down their phones and laptops, I showed the flight attendant my phone and that I was just about to finish booking my flight and she let me keep going.  I really love Southwest, especially for the little jaunts around California.  The mobile app is really nice.  Just drop in your RapidRewards number and tell it where you want to go and when and it does the rest for you.  If you have to make a lot of flights last minute or need to change your flights a lot, this one is great.

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Socialtext Mobile – I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug my own company’s technology.  Socialtext Mobile really is my lifeline back to the company when I’m on the road. Most importantly, I can look at Signals, our micro-blogging platform to keep track of what is going on in our virtual office.  This is *our* water cooler.  I can look up peoples contact information.  No more calling that one person you know and asking them to transfer you.  I can see any activity that is happening around the projects that I’m working on and even edit the information as appropriate.Like I said, I’m certain that this isn’t the full list.  In fact, I’ve just started playing around with Shoeboxed and that looks pretty cool.So I ask, what applications (or websites) on your phone can you not live without when you’re on the road?  Leave a comment and let me know what I’m missing.

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Fill The House – My Guest Post on Restaurant Job Board

I recently did a guest blog post on The Restaurant Job Board blog about how restaurants could use social media to drive traffic to their places.  Here it is.I have a great pizza place by my office SpotPizza. Being from Philadelphia, I’m kind of a pizza snob, but Spot is pretty good, plus the owner is a really nice guy that remembers me when I come in and has the staff make white cheese pizza exactly the way that I like it. He has a huge fan in me.What he doesn’t have, or it least as it appears to me when I’m there or walk by each night, is a lot of business. SpotPizza needs 1,000 fans of the place just like me. It is a shame, that with so many social networking companies being literally blocks away, that they aren’t taking advantage of some of these tools. Maybe they are, I just haven’t seen it.The great part about social media is that you can build your local presence with only a little bit of elbow grease, not a huge marketing budget. More importantly, social media offers much more of a personal touch. If I ran a restaurant, especially in a hip area, here are some of the tools that I’d leverage in order to drive more traffic and sell more high margin products.Search Marketing – When I was at Yahoo, I had a huge vision for local search marketing. When we announced that we would be able to target to a zip, I thought local restaurants would be crazy not to sign up for the service. It just seemed like the most no-brainer effort you could imagine. It’s lunch-time, someone does a search for ‘lunch 94089′, I want my restaurant to be at the top of the list. In fact, since you only pay per click, I’d want my name to come up every time a food related search is performed in the zip codes that are within a 10-mile radius of my restaurant.I’d leverage cookies to identify how frequently a person hits my site from this search and serve up different offers. First time here, come on down for ‘kids eat free’. Second time ‘Bring this coupon for free appetizers’ and so on. I’d work to be so pervasive that the person wouldn’t think of anywhere else to go eat.Facebook – Your town has a group in Facebook. It has to. The little town that I grew up in has a bunch of groups, so your town must have a group. Join it. Post to it. Post special offers just for people who are part of this Facebook group. The reason rock stars say things like “Nobody rocks harder than Springfield” is because people love to hear that stuff and they go crazy. Nobody gets a free desert except people who are part of the Facebook group. Wooooo, queue lighters.Make sure that people know that they can be your fan on Facebook too. If someone within 5 miles of your place becomes your fan, you can easily get them to come to your restaurant once a month with a group of people and drop $20 each. $80 for a party of 4. Do that with 100 of your fans and you’ve made eight grand. Should be enough to at least cover your rent.Neighborsville – My friend Ryan is about to launch a new social network called Neighborsville. This is going to be huge and restaurants are going to be all over it. In short, Neighborsville is the social network for your neighborhood. Who comes to your restaurant? People in your neighborhood. Get involved in your community, reach out to people, comment on issues. In general, make yourself well known to everyone within a 5 mile radius of your restaurant.LinkedIn – Are you open for lunch? Do you depend on a lot of business traffic to fill your store at lunch-time? Find the companies that are nearby and infiltrate their groups. Let employees or these businesses know that you exist. You want everyone at every business to think of you the next time that they have a meeting and need catering done.YelpYelp has your most vocal customers. These are people who have actually taken 15 – 20 minutes to complain or exclaim how lousy or great your service is. Not only that, but you, as an owner, have a chance to communicate directly with this most rabid fan base. Reach out to them, find out what they loved or what they hated. If they hated something, get them to come back and make it right. If they loved something, get them to come back and replicate it.Twitter – What a great way to have a real conversation with people that come to your place. Here is a chance, to send a message to people that like your restaurant every day, an hour before lunch or an hour before dinner. Remind them that you are there. Remind them that they are getting hungry. Remind them that if they come by and mention Twitter, the first round of drinks is on the house.Text Messages – I’ve noticed that some restaurants are doing this now, but I haven’t seen any type of consistency or noticed the technology. However, at some of the restaurants in busy shopping districts, I’ve been offered the ability to get a text message when my table is up. It is a great way to keep me close, but not force me to sit in some waiting area.Blogging – If Wolfgang Puck can make an amazing living selling his recipes and frozen foods you can too. Do you have some amazing dish that you serve? Put the recipe in your blog. Trust me, if I have an opportunity to make something and spend $20 on ingredients and probably screw it up or spend $30 to come to your place to enjoy it perfectly over a glass of wine and some friends, I’m spending the extra $10. If your place is good enough, and gets enough buzz, go Rachel Ray and just publish your best dishes in a book. Keep your place, license your name and enjoy the fruits of your labor on a beach in the Caribbean.Hustle Your Face Off – This is something that Gary Vaynerchuk always says. Social media is not a magic bullet. Just because you have a Twitter ID, doesn’t mean that business will some how just show up. You probably will need to spend at least a couple of hours a day monitoring these services and keep the conversation going. Engage with new people, set goals to add at least one new fan a day.Don’t be a Jerk – If you are just setting up these services to spam people that aren’t that interested in what you have to say, you will fail. Set up these services to have a conversation with your customers. The conversation should be no different than one you’d have with your customers if you saw them on the street or if they were at your bar.In the spirit of Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans, you may not need 1,000 or even 500, but if you can get a couple of hundred, fiercely loyal people to show up at your place just once per month, you’ll have a great business.Here is a link to 20 free books about social media to get you started.http://www.chrisbrogan.com/20-free-ebooks-about-social-media/