Time — the Ultimate Villain!


Everyday is a race against the clock. Some days we want more leisure time; some days we want more selling time. The only thing constant is that time moves forward whether we are ready for it or not.

A challenge that some salespeople encounter is that they work in a space that offers almost unlimited potential sales. An example is if you are a sales person in Dallas, TX and you are allowed to sell to the entire market place. If you’re not careful, the volume of potential can become a rep killer.

The more focused a salesperson is, the better she will perform. The best producing Major Account Reps work with a limited set of accounts and dig deep into these accounts. Effective territory/retail salespeople are experts at focusing on sections of their territory.

Salespeople in geographic territories should use a basic plan to maximize their selling time. As technology has advanced, territory reps can use online tools to increase performance. However, we still need to get out in front of customers. How you choose to manage your face-to-face time is critical in becoming a successful geographic rep.

Here is a simple, tried and true (aka, Old School) method to increase selling time:
Create a nice wall/cube map of your entire territory. If you need a zip code map, use the following link: http://maps.huge.info/zip.htm. You may need to print off your territory across several pieces of paper. Once complete, use scissors and tape the final map together.

You will know which areas of your territory hold the highest concentration of business. Now divide the physical area into 4-5 sections. The goal is to get an even spread of potential business into each section of the map.

Now that your map is prepped, you assign each section a number. Looking at your calendar, assign each section to a day of the week (Mon-Fri). We are creating an outline that you can commit to in coordinating your outside selling time. A simple plan is to spend an entire day in each section, but that is not the best method.

When you look at the map, certain areas will always be on your travel corridor to and from your office or home. The area in the travel corridors allows the greatest amount of flexibility for meetings. A good practice is to plan your mid-day and early afternoon meetings in the areas farthest away from your office. Areas closest to the office get morning and late afternoon meeting slots.

By focusing on sections and travel corridors, you will gain more selling time. In addition, you will gain a much better appreciation of the businesses in each section and be in a more solid position of creating connections between your current customers and prospective customers. A referral from a business down the street will usually carry more weight than one from customers across town.

Be true to yourself. It’s easy to take a meeting when a prospect tells you the day that best accommodates her, yet as salespeople we must focus on our entire business. It’s OK to say that a meeting won’t work even though you have an open time slot. Great salespeople respect their own time just as much as the customers.

The summary of this post:

  • Create a wall map of your Territory
  • Divide it into 4-5 Sections
  • Assign each section a day
  • Know your travel corridors
  • Develop meeting slots for each section
  • Respect your time too

This is another example of the value gained when we chunk things into manageable pieces. Give yourself one flex day a week. Start with larger sections and break them down into smaller pieces as you get to know your territory.

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