"The Navigator" News Blog

What’s Your Sales Maintenance Program?

Most of you know by now that I’m a car guy.  I should point out, however, that I’m not a NEW car guy.  In fact, my daily driver is a 2006 Cadillac Escalade.  It’s the newest vehicle I’ve ever owned.  I bought it, used, over three years ago.  I’ve put nearly 100,000 miles on it. It’s as least as nice now as it was when I bought it.  Most of my vehicles are.  I have friends who buy new, or much newer, cars than I have – and in a couple of years they are in worse shape than my 16 year old SUV.

“Sure,” you’re saying.  “You’re a car guy, Troy.  It’s easy for you.”  Keeping a vehicle running well and looking good is easy – and so is keeping a sales territory healthy.  In both, you have to do the little things before they can become big things.  You do a little bit of the right things every week, and the right things happen.  Let me explain.

My Caddy doesn’t get trashed in the interior because every time I gas it up or arrive home, I immediately clean any trash out of it (spoiler alert – I have been known to drink a bottled water or soda, empty it, and toss the empty into the back seat floor; I also have been known to eat in my car).  I wash it at least once a week (this prevents rust and other nastiness), I change the oil promptly when it’s time, and do any other maintenance as required.  This saves me time and money because I don’t have to do the “rollercoaster” cycle of vehicle maintenance.  Stick with me, I’m getting to the sales stuff.

By cleaning the interior and washing it, I don’t have to spend $150-200 to have it detailed.  The other maintenance works the same way.  Now, think about your own sales territory.

The common sales cycle for most salespeople looks like this:

  1. Do a bunch of prospecting to find people in the buying market.
  2. Sell your guts out to this group of people (riding the rollercoaster up).
  3. Make some sales and put up some numbers.
  4. Run out of prospects (down goes the rollercoaster).
  5. Return to step 1 and repeat.

This cycle frustrates management and costs salespeople money.  Properly maintaining your sales territory is about doing smaller amounts of the right things week in and week out, so that you never run out or prospects, nor out of time to work the ones you have.  I hear salespeople complain all the time about the “metrics management” approach to sales management – but it works.  That’s why those metrics exist (and why I always create them in my own sales audits that I conduct).

If you really want to be effective and efficient at the “territory maintenance” approach to your selling, do this.  Budget certain amounts of time each week for certain activities – and then block times to do them.  For instance, if two hours of telephone prospecting will get the job done, make an appointment with yourself on your calendar to prospect, and then keep it.  If you need to do 8 appointments per week, block time for that.  Etc.  Manage and maintain your territory, and you’ll never be that salesperson who is scratching for new business to try to make a goal or quota.

By the way, my plan is to drive my Escalade for two more years.  Why? Because I like it.  A lot.  And because it’s still as nice as it was three years ago – and probably thirteen years ago.  That’s because I maintain it.