To make field visits more productive, the sales rep and principal must establish the primary reason for the visit, set up tentative dates, and then develop the itinerary.
Reasons for urgent visits to the field include severe quality problems, design changes or flaws, and loss of significant business or significant sales service problems. These visits should be planned as quickly as possible and the itinerary put together on an urgent basis. Other field visits for reasons such as product training, new product introductions, trade shows, vendor conferences and market assessment should be coordinated and planned to make maximum use of your time and the principal’s time.
Developing and planning the itinerary is most important to making effective use of the time principals spend in your territory. Among items considered should be flight schedules, arriving and departing airports, geography or logistics, traffic and a list of potential customers to visit or meetings to be planned. In territories covering large geographic areas or with large metropolitan areas, the use of alternate modes of transportation can prevent long periods of time spent in traffic or driving long distances. In our area we use a train to get principals from one territory to another. The time on the train is spent relaxing and taking care of call reports and other aspects of business. Finally, a written itinerary with all the customer data as well as items to be discussed should be sent to the principal prior to their departure to your territory. This will give them time to review and collect files pertinent to the visits and meetings planned.
By working with your principals to plan field visits, the time they spend in your territory will be more productive.