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Expect Your Sales Force To Make the Calls!




AND prospects. Rule number two: don’t allow reps to stay in their comfort zone calling on customers who they have strong relationships with repeatedly at the expense of developing new or stronger relationships with other customers or prospects. We call this the comfort quandry. Look at reps’ call reports. Are the same customers showing up over and over again? Unless your business calls for a finite set of customers who they are to call on and take orders from or maintain relationships with, sales people need to understand that a certain percentage of their time is to be spent on cultivating new relationships or stronger relationships with customers who might be difficult to deal with or tough to sell to. In all but rare cases, selling is very much a relationship activity. There is a direct correlation between the strength of a relationship and the amount sold to any given customer. Sales reps must be expected to get out of their offices, out of their houses, out of their cars, out of their comfort zone and make calls to those who they have lesser or no relationships with. Often the reason they don’t have strong relationships with certain accounts or prospects is simply because they haven’t had the discipline and tenacity to cultivate a strong relationship through making a sufficient number of calls and doing the other little things that can foster a solid relationship. We recommend that there be specific expectations set forth for the amount of time devoted to building existing relationships, strengthening lesser relationships and fostering new relationships. In short, there needs to be a specific plan for each rep. Do each of your reps have a formal annual sales plan that is revisited regularly throughout the sales year and modified as necessary? If not, they should have. Among other things, this plan should allocate the time of the rep to various activities. These include, face-to-face sales calls to existing customers, face-to-face calls to prospects, administrative activities such as paperwork, training, phone time, travel time, etc. and it needs to be clearly understood by the rep that any significant deviatons from these allocations must be discussed with the sales manager. In order to make the rep as efficient as possible, the plan should include some sort of routing plan for field work. A rep should never get up in the morning and ask him/herself “where shall I go today?”! This happens far too often in the sales arena and costs companies dearly.]]]]> ]]>

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