It Goes with the Territory
by Joe Bonura, CSP
A while back I was making calls with a sales person in St. Louis,
and we drove forty minutes to our first appointment. The second
appointment was located about four blocks from our original starting
pointthere went another forty minutes. The next appointment
was clear across town which took over fifty minutes of traveling.
Most of the day was spent driving between calls, and with the high
price of gasoline, that is an expensive proposition.
On The Road Again
Windshield time is not selling time, so why do so many sales people
waste valuable selling time on the road? One of the main reasons
is call avoidance. No one likes to feel unproductive, so
many sales people drive around the city all day on their way to
make calls. As long as they are in the car, they will not face customer
rejection. Poor planning is often the cause of this wasteful use
of time. If you fail to plan, you will be counting the stripes in
the road, instead of the money in your wallet.
The more time you spend in front of customers, the more opportunities
you will have to make the sale.
Road Map To Sales Success
Buy a map of your city or the territory
that you work, and divide it into four quadrants by drawing a line
from top to bottom and from left to right. The top left hand quadrant
will be Monday, the top right hand quadrant will be Tuesday, the
lower left hand quadrant will be Wednesday, and the bottom right
hand quadrant will be Thursday. Friday will be a "catch-all-day,"
and you can drive anywhere that you schedule appointments.
Play The Slots and Win
Now that you have set up your four quadrants, it is time to set
up your calendar to correspond to the map. The most effective way
to set appointments is to preset appointment time slots on your
Make Your Calendar Work for You
Take out your calendar and look at next month. Let us assume that
Monday is the first of the month. You will leave the office at 8:30
a.m. and drive for thirty minutes to the first appointment. Write
in 9:00 a.m. at the top left hand side of the Monday box. Allow
one hour for the appointment and thirty minutes to drive to your
next appointment. You will drive from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.,
so your next appointment slot will be at 10:30 a.m. Enter 10:30
am below the 9:00 a.m. appointment slot. Your next appointment will
be from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. From 11:30 a.m. until 12:30
p.m. go to lunch, and then drive to your next appointment at 1:00
p.m. Repeat the process above, allowing thirty minutes to drive
and one hour for each appointment, everyday for the entire month.
Your weekly calendar should look like this each day Monday thru
Friday for the whole month:
If you are using a calendar with the times already
written in the calendar, use a yellow highlighter pen and draw a
line across the times that you wish to schedule.
Obviously, you will need time to set the appointments,
so use one or two of the time slots to make the appointments or
to do paperwork or miscellaneous tasks.
It's All In The Game
Once your calendar is set for the month, you are ready to get on
the phone to fill the preset times. The empty slots on your calendar
will visually challenge you to fill them. Make a game out of filling
in the times with client appointments.
Start Dialing For Dollars
A typical prospect call will go something like this:
- You: Hello, this is Joe
Bonura, who am I speaking with?
- You: Mary, I need your
Mary: How can I help you?
- You: Mary, we work with
customers who want to increase sales through effective advertising.
Does that make sense to you?
Mary: I guess so.
- You: (You have already
determined that she would fall into the Monday quadrant on your
map.) Well, Mary, I am with Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.,
and I will be working in your area on Monday, the first. How
does your calendar look at 9:00 a.m.?
Mary: I have an appointment from
9 to 9:30.
- You: How about 10:00?
Mary: That looks fine.
- You: See you at 10:00.
Put Mary's name in the Monday slot at 10:00 a.m., and then begin
your next dial.
Check out the articles section for a more complete
description on how to use the phone to make appointments.
But what if Mary had said that she could not see you on Monday?
Go for Friday, the catch-all-day, or go for next Monday. The objective
is to stay in control of your calendar and your driving time.
Time On Your Hands?
I have deliberately allowed too much time for driving and too much
time for the appointments. Why? Because, if you finish early on
any of the appointments, walk out the door, look to your left and
look to your right, and make a cold call before your next appointment.
The Big D
Recently, I flew to Dallas with a sales person, and when we arrived,
he had set only one appointment for the day. OUCH! He had spent
his company's money on airfare and car rental to make only one call.
I insisted that we spend the rest of the day making cold calls,
in order to make the trip worthwhile.
Have It Your Way
Please look at the above suggestions as a concept and not something
carved in stone. Make the times on your calendar fit your particular
industry and territory. The key to sales success is to have an organized
way of approaching your schedule.
Spend your time selling, not driving.
© 1997 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.