Smart Territory Management

by RJ on May 30, 2012

Smart Territory Management

How many neighbors do you know on your street?

 

Do you know what they do for a living?

 

Do they know what you do for a living?

 

If your like most people today you know very few, let alone what they do for a living.

 

That’s why it’s not a surprise that most salespeople don’t know who the companies are in their territory. They are not aware of new business parks and developments that have just been built or who occupies those buildings. A professional sales person knows who’s who in his territory. You can too. Get yourself a good wall map of your territory and a street map like Thomas Brothers. On line maps and GPS are also helpful in finding these locations but I like to look at the overall map every day on my wall. Plot where your customers and prospects are today on your map.

 

Get a list of companies in your territory from the Chamber of Commerce. Also try looking up other companies in the SIC code (Special Interest Code) that fit your company’s market. The search engines today on computers are very powerful once you get the knack of finding what you want. You might find a company of interest in your territory but only to find out that the corporate office or buying decision is in a different territory. This is not a reason to ignore this company. Go after the business and with the permission of your manager follow up with the corporate office. You may find out that there are many companies that are good prospects that you pass by every day on your way home, to the office or to another account. Many of these prospects are always interested in what equipment or services other similar companies are using.

 

Join some organizations that are in your market and start subscribing to magazines that are read in your market. Be aware of who is advertising and who has articles published about them. It’s also a great idea if you get some articles published in those magazines about your company. Some of your customers would probably like it if you had someone write an article about them. Be sure to mention people at that company also. Everyone likes to be acknowledged. Join some charitable organizations, preferably those that your clients or prospects are involved with. Many executives have pet charities that they or their significant other is involved with. This is a great way to network in a social environment. If you can afford it join some country clubs or golf courses where your clients and prospects play. Get involved with the club and join some committees. Get yourself and your company noticed.

 

Ernest Hemingway said “Don’t confuse motion with action”

 

Successful salespeople know their territories and how to get around without wasting time. You won’t find them making a call on one side of town in the morning and drive an hour across town for another appointment and then back again to the other side later in the day. Would you be shocked if your company presented you with a bill or invoice for wasted time every day, especially today with gas between 4 and 5 dollars a gallon? Don’t waste time and start plotting potential prospects on your map and call on them when you are in the area. Of course a telephone call first that you are going to be in the area calling on a present client will also help.

 

Your present customers like attention. Call on them frequently or lose them to the competition. Your competition may also be looking for new clients and calling on yours. Many salespeople think that once you sold a customer they would never leave for a competitor. I don’t know if anyone has told you this before but customers are not loyal.

 

While selling small construction tools for a large manufacturing company, Barry drove into a small town looking for some new business. He noticed a small hardware store in a strip mall and decided to stop in and check the place out. He was sorry he stopped because the store was old, had not been painted in years and equipment was all over the place. It didn’t look like they could afford to buy anything. As he was leaving the owner came over and asked if he needed help. Barry told him he represented a large manufacturing company that made small construction tools. The owner asked him to see what he had and liked what he saw. The owner also told Barry that very few salespeople stop in to ask for his business. It turned out that this small store was well known in the community and did a lot of business with local construction companies. Barry walked out with the largest order he ever sold. This store became a consistent customer with large orders month after month for Barry because he took the time and made a call. Barry learned a valuable lesson that day. Never prejudge a prospect before you check them out completely.

 

Have you ever had a manager in your car and while driving to a client call, the manager asks you what is that business in the building on the other side of the highway? He asks do you know what they do and have you ever called on them? If you answered I don’t know, that can be embarrassing. You should know every business in your territory especially if it’s in your market and could be a potential client.

 

Good territory management doesn’t mean just knowing companies; it’s knowing roads, restaurants and activities. Several managers pooled said they were impressed by salespeople who had their whole day planned fro pick up to drop off. One manager said his best salesperson would pick him up at the airport with a cup of coffee and a folder containing a one page write-up of each client call for the day. He also had lunch planned with a customer and reservations made ahead of time.

 

In summary, know the logistics of your territory. Make as many contacts as possible. Don’t waste time and never overlook potential business. Good luck out there.

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