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Sales Eye -Venturing out into the field (Feb 28th, 2005)

2013-07-10
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Venturing out into the field

28 February 2005 

 

If you're in sales management, then you know that the first quarter is the most vital time for visits to your outlying offices around the country.

 

Since not all of your customers are in Warsaw, the field visit is a vital part of the sales managers' arsenal. In this article we will address how to make the most of your visits to clients with your sales reps.

 

A successful visit

A successful visit requires planning. Depending on the experience of the sales rep, you should establish that you are coming well in advance. By knowing in advance, your rep can prepare for your visit and make the most of your day. If you just show up to their office, and say "let's go to some meetings," chances are they will be too busy with the day-to-day and you will have wasted a great opportunity.

 

New client meetings

When our regional managers make field visits, we insist that they attend as many new client meetings as possible. Many sales reps love to bring their managers to their loyal clients that already know and love them. This is easy and makes them look good-but in most cases it is a waste of time. By going to a first-time meeting with new prospective clients, you will be in a better position to evaluate the overall ability of a sales rep in areas such as presentation skills, overcoming objections and building relationships.

 

Meeting preparation

Before attending meetings with your reps, you should clearly define the goals of the visit. Is this a new or existing client? What type of business are they in? How did we find this company or did they find us? Any background information should be discussed before you are in the car to visit the client. That way, you may be able to prepare information that might be useful during the meeting.

 

Remember that most of your sales reps are not familiar with your full client list. You may be visiting a pharmaceutical company in Gdańsk, whereas your Warsaw office just signed orders with Pfizer, Bristol-Myers and Eli Lilly last week. This information is valuable in the sales pitch. However, it seldom makes its way to the entire sales force.

 

Define your role

Instead of waiting for your reps to screw-up and say something wrong, and then come in and save the day, decide in advance on the roles that you both will play. A fortnight ago, we wrote about choreographing job interviews-in this instance you should choreograph your roles in the meeting. Who will take the lead? How will you be introduced? Who will handle what parts of the meeting? If you address this before the meeting, it will appear more professional and be much more effective.

 

Meeting follow-up

It is important to offer some feedback after the meeting. We recommend discussing not only the strategic issues, but also the tactical issues. Everything from their handshake to the notes they forgot to take during the meeting. You should even create a 'call report' to evaluate the call. This will allow them to have a record of your suggestions and address areas for improvement. You will also have a point of reference for the next sales calls you make with them.

 

You don't have enough time to visit your sales offices as often as you like, so when you do, make the most of it. Next time we will address some of the effective ways you can manage by telephone and e-mail.

E-mail: saleseye@lynka.com.pl

 

 

From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"