The phrase “Location, location, location” is well used in the real estate world, referring to the fact that the price of property is often tied to its location.
Location can also be a big factor in the success of a business … in a couple of ways.
i. If you are a retail type business then your location will determine the amount of “walk by” traffic that you get;
however for the purposes of this blog entry I will focus on how location might affect the productivity of a sales team; thus
ii. If you have a sales team that sells to a “local market” then the location of that sales team WILL affect their productivity!
In the staffing business (like many B to B businesses) we want our salespeople out meeting with clients, understanding their needs, being “top of mind” when the clients needs people and generally building relationships with those clients.
In my experience if you make it easy for a salesperson they will do it, if you put barriers of any kind they will procrastinate … which applies, in this case, to getting out of the office and meeting with clients!
Many years ago as a salesperson in Ottawa the company I worked for moved offices to a nice building away from the downtown core (where the majority of our clients resided). It was a good move for the company … cheaper, better space that housed a lot of people. The issue for the sales team was that a quick meeting now required an extra 40 minutes of travel time/parking etc to get there and back. I consider myself to be a pretty motivated person, who likes to be in front of clients … but even I was prone to spending more time in the office, on the phone, rather than having face to face meetings. Phone meetings are just not the same!
There are certainly ways to work around this issue … better planning, grouping client meetings, spending specific time in the downtown core etc. BUT it is more difficult for the salesperson. When as a manager you start to push the sales team, the results can be unexpected.
I had one salesperson a number of years ago who was struggling … and one of his issues was that he wasn’t spending enough time with clients. We initiated a performance improvement plan with one of his goals being more meetings out of the office. He didn’t make it and we ultimately had to fire him. We later found out that the time he spent out of the office “meeting clients” he actually spent at the cinema! Not a typical example, but a real life story about what can happen!
The morale of the story … make it easy for your sales team and it will happen (location is one example of it); make it hard and you might find them at the local Odeon!