If you have been on a vacation to a city with plenty of sights to see, a great option is to take a tour bus. My favorite is the double-decker buses they have in New York City or London. You get on the top deck during a wonderful day in July or August and see all the sites from a bird’s-eye view. The slight breeze feels so good as you see the London Bridge or the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
I bring up this idea because the sightseeing tour operator has it all figured out ahead of the time that you board. Whether it is a daytime tour of NYC and the boroughs, or just Manhattan, and then a quick stop in Brooklyn for some fabulous New York pizza, they don’t just drive all over the place.
They start with destination A and then go to B, C and so on. The tour is planned, concise and has the shortest amount of driving time between distances. Obviously, they do this to maximize the time spent and to save as much fuel or wear and tear on the vehicle as possible.
Why bring this up? Simple. This is what salespeople should do also. They need to think like a tour operator going on a sightseeing trip. But instead of the sights, the sales rep should think of clients and prospects to call on. Most sales people do not have well-planned days. They just work with a few specific appointments and not much thought into what the rest of the day will bring or how they can be most effective each day.
I have seen too many times a salesperson visits a client, then drive to another ZIP code just to make some cold calls. This is a waste of time. This is almost like going to the gym and not working out, but just talking to other people. The sales rep might think he or she is working, but is anything really being accomplished?
Just because a salesperson spent time out of the office does not necessarily mean he or she is working with great execution or even a time-management program. The more windshield time a salesperson spends, the less time he or she is in front of a customer getting a "yes" or even a "no." At least he or she was in front of people, rather than behind glass.
The key to a busy, successful day in the field is to do as much as possible in the shortest time. The more people you see in a given day, the better the opportunity to improve your chances of selling something new and retaining your client base.
For example, if you have a 9 a.m. appointment in a certain area or ZIP code, try to stay there for as long as you can, making some cold calls or visiting other clients nearby until your next appointment. If you are really well-prepared, your next appointment (let’s say 11 a.m.) will be in the same ZIP code, and you can continue to make calls in the same area without driving any distance.
Just think of this concept as a good day as a bus tour operator. After being picked up, the first stop is Manhattan and the Empire State Building next is Central Park and then a short drive to SoHo. As you are making your way down to lower Manhattan, your next stop might be near Ground Zero - the site of the former World Trade Center.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.