Optimizing Outside Sales Days

If your sales process involves field-based selling, then you are well-aware of the importance of making each field sales day productive and effective.

Along those lines, you or your team might consider how to best avoid three common “bad habits” or pitfalls, each of which can be costly in terms of their impact on customer relationships as well as lost opportunities:

  1. Procrastination, often in the form of call reluctance, is frequently referenced as “the thief of time.” If we’re not careful, however, it can be easy to fall prey to this pitfall by thinking that “prospects are probably too busy to meet with me,” or that “customers will reach out if they have needs or questions.”  The preferred course of action is to maintain a proactive cadence for both prospecting and account management sales calls, and to be sure each contact is truly value-added. If we have a good reason to contact customers and prospects (i.e., a value-added agenda), then they’ll be happy to have met with us.
  2. Winging-it is another culprit that consistently results in sub-optimum sales calls that tend to not be value-added enough. Developing the “good habit” of planning each sales call in advance (preferably in writing) is the best way to avoid this pitfall, and to also differentiate ourselves from the great many sales people who fail to do so. Make no mistake, buyers can quickly tell the difference between sellers who have properly prepared themselves and those who didn’t bother.
  3. Whether we’re willing to admit it, or not, a negative attitude compromises the way we communicate; and negativity comes across quickly to buyers! Unfortunately, when customers or prospects detect negativity in a sales person, they tend to quickly devalue whatever it is that person is selling; even worse, there is a risk that buyers will judge the entire selling organization in a negative way as well. Negativity also compromises our ability to innovate or to maintain process efficiency. If we aren’t optimistic about opportunities and the likelihood of success, it s more difficult to develop persuasive presentations or to gain commitments from others. Sales people are often able to avoid this pitfall through regular and open communication with their team leaders or sales managers; this interaction can help balance the inevitable rejection that sellers experience each day, and also direct their thought process in a positive direction. We have also observed that a strong work ethic and consistent sales call planning (as noted above) tend to promote a greater confidence level as well as a positive attitude!

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