The overwhelm came over me like a wave. I pulled my Rav 4 over on Fell Street near the Panhandle, grabbed the open sample of Starborough Sauvignon Blanc out of my wine bag, moved to the back seat, took a few swigs straight from the bottle, and burst into tears. Good times.
I was a rookie sales rep with a Gallo number to hit. I could not rest until every corner market I called on in Lower Haight had been presented the combo buys ending that month. Morning was fading, no one had bought, and the negative self-talk was creeping in.
Why do I share such a woeful tale (albeit amusing now looking back)? Because it illustrates a breaking point, an anecdote of a place every road warrior out there has come to. And so, if you are going to venture out and peddle your wares door to door, I can offer up a few pitfalls to avoid.
- Allow yourself to be in-market.
Just being out there is hard enough. Don’t try to keep up with your email or post something. Put on an out of office if need be. You are making time to be out so get the most out of it.
- Create a CRM routine.
Have a system for jotting down notes after each account call. No fancy CRM system required, a yellow legal pad or notes in your phone work just fine. Keep it short and easy to access from the driver’s seat. Don’t stop your momentum, you’ll organize the info later.
- Pimp your ride.
I ended up totaling my Rav 4 and subsequently rolling in a 1996 Geo Prism so take it from me, any vehicle can provide refuge. Drive-up music is a thing so yes, turn up your favorite song, make time for a fun lunch, bring along comfy shoes for the commute home, etc.
- Keep it real with your target list.
When you make your list of accounts to target your sales efforts on, be sure you have a genuine interest in supporting these places and that you can get there easily. Do you like the food there? Is it easy to park? These questions matter.
- Always make a random last stop.
Enough said. I can’t tell you how many times, it’s been the random last stop that has proven the best stop of the day.
A long way from those rookie days on the streets of San Francisco, and still out bangin’ on doors, except this time it’s my own number I need to hit.