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Time Management and Sales Territory Mapping

Sales Territory Mapping = time management

I have seen a common issue that many outside sales people have. The problem I am hearing is, “I'm all over the place and can't get it together.” They’re spending a lot of time in their cars in other words, and less in front of customers and prospects.

One of the issues I look at is for them is how they are managing their time while still covering their sales territory. I’ve talked about how time management can help you increase your commissions, so this is taking another step back from that and focusing on how sales territory mapping can help your time management. When you are selling for instance in the NY area where I live, it is extremely difficult to be in Brooklyn visiting a prospect or a client and then be in the Bronx or New Jersey. It makes absolutely no sense since you waste a lot of time traveling and traffic is prohibitive. Traffic is also something that is often beyond your control, and we want to work on things we can control instead of creating obstacles to our goals.

Plan your days by where you can meet with customers by a territories map instead; that’s sales territory mapping. While you may be tempted to simply jump at whatever time and day a client can meet with you, ask them if they could meet with you on the day you’re already in their area. Propose to them, “I have a few other appointments on Tuesday within a few blocks from you, and rather than fight traffic and risk being late on another day, when are you available then?” While it expresses your preferences, it also expresses your concern for their time in wanting to meet with them on time.

if you’re technology inclined, there is also mapping software that provide you with sales maps based on data you input on your customers’ locations. Along with software like Google maps, which allows you to create maps that give you easy and efficient sales maps, Microsoft Dynamics, tableau.com and SmartDraw are just some of the options out there to help you be more efficient with your time and within a sales territory.

Sales territory mapping is also helpful for prospecting. In my interactive sales seminars I’ve always found that salespeople have difficulty creating new sales. Again, one of the reasons they have this issue is lack of time. Imagine this scenario: you are currently in one area of a large city and have an appointment in another area of the city with a driving distance of at least 45 minutes. What a waste of time that could be spent introducing yourself to one, two, maybe even three potential new customers. Since we know that 40 percent of the time a salesperson needs to spend is PROSPECTING, I think if you manage your time and territory better you will not make any appointments in another part of the city and get stressed out getting there. (And arriving at a prospect’s place of business all stressed out won’t be a great first impression.)

Again, there is always weather and traffic issues that could cause one not to be at their next appointment on time, and that’s simply beyond your control. Instead I suggest that you prospect in the area you are currently in and build your base there to minimize what traffic and snowstorms can do to your day. Perhaps over a period of time you would have many more customers in the same area, building your ability to really make an impact in a shorter period of time.

Over time you can manage your appointments in clusters, in an area that you have a scheduled meeting, schedule others as well or prospect for new clients. Your goal should be to always have a plan based on territory, and as your client base grows, there’s always a nearby client to visit. It will even be beneficial to your customers if you can stick to the same day of the week, because it gives them a consistency and reliability of when they can meet with you.

In any given day we’re allowed 540 minutes, if we’re working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. That’s something we can’t change, so what does need to change is what we’re doing with each minute. Sales territory mapping keeps more minutes spent in front of your clients and prospects rather than behind a steering wheel or sitting on mass transit, and let’s face it - no one ever got a great commission from the subway.

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