Regardless of how long you have been selling, every salesperson needs to be reminded occasionally of what his responsibilities are in operating a sales territory. You are a salesperson and a sales manager. Even if you work alone, you are a sales manager in your territory – your own sales manager.
You are responsible for producing maximum revenues from the accounts located in your territory, those assigned to you, and those that may suddenly spring into existence.
You have the responsibility of holding current business, increasing business from old accounts, obtaining new accounts, serving your accounts, and selling your company as an organization.
“Serving your accounts,” not “servicing your accounts.” Somehow the phrase “servicing an account” carries the flavor of routine checkups, phone calls, drop-in appearances rather than carefully planned “selling” calls. Perhaps you should drop “servicing your accounts” from your vocabulary and replace the term with “selling my accounts by serving them”.
The need to assume the role of sales manager comes with the peculiarities of some businesses. A door-to-door salesman of specialty products can use a canned sales talk, ring a lot of bells, and through sheer volume of calls, day in and day out, make a lot of sales. There is a certain uniformity to your customers which permits routine calls, routine trips. Many manufacturers traditionally bring out a new model each year; a salesperson for one of these firms, then, sells the initial large orders, concentrates on his first big trip around the territory, and from that point on, follows a set schedule of “around the territory once each month or six weeks” – and so it goes each year.
But some salespeople are confronted with little of this monotony and have few opportunities to make routine calls and routine trips. No two accounts are exactly alike. Their budget years differ, affecting sales call timing; their products vary, calling for an entirely different sales approach; at some firms, the manager can give you the order, at others he can’t give you the order, but can keep you from getting it. Each is a separate sales problem to which you must apply your time, your ingenuity, your salesperson and sales-manager brains in order to get that precious business in your book.
Your own managers and home-office staff are eager to help you with major problems by being available for counsel and calls. Talk to your managers frequently; keep them informed about accounts; draw on their experiences and judgment and contacts. Yet, for every special assist they may be able to give you, you must be able to settle many more sales obstacles on the spot. The salesperson – sales manager on the ground in the territory must be versatile enough to analyze his own sales situations and produce the solutions that will get you the business.
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