There’s an old saying that goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” That rings true, but it somewhat trivializes a major fact about the business world: the process of making money can be a huge cost, and it’s something that needs to be managed.
People often don’t realize that it costs around $5,000 a month to keep a salesperson on the road travelling, and that’s not including wages. That’s paid for through sales.
If sales aren’t coming as a result of all that travel, the business has a problem. I’ve learned two main strategies for ensuring those travel costs are translating into actual sales revenue for the business.
- Make a plan. You have to have end goals, and not just go on the road for the heck of it. You can start by figuring out where you want to go, whom you want to see, and why. Making trips that won’t translate into revenue is often ill advised. Yes, it’s crucial to maintain relationships with customers, but it only works if people are spending money with us to be able to support those sales calls. It helps to think of your sales territory as a battleground. There are always hotspots that need more attention than others. Focusing your attention on those spots will ultimately enable you to see to it that everyone you’re looking to help is taken care of.
- Communicate with your salespeople. You have to help salespeople understand the costs associated with them being on the road — they’re there to help the business and earn a good living for themselves. Travelling for the sake of travelling, simply because it’s what salespeople do, isn’t a good business strategy. You have to help them understand the importance of having a plan, so that you can afford the $5,000 a month it often takes to keep them on the road and cover those expenses.
Yes, you have to spend money to make money, but being on the road only makes sense if it’s translating into revenue. Once you get the sales, the hard part begins — making sure everything is on time, the customer is happy and that you’re following up on what you’ve promised them. That requires a strong sales force dedicated to looking after their sales territory — something all salespeople need to be doing to ensure a healthy future for the company.