Sales Best Practice #38 – Maintains a good filing system
Sales Best Practice #38: Maintains a good filing system, with all the useful information readily available.
By Dave Kahle
“I’m just not a very organized person.”
That from one of my recent seminar participants.
“You’ll never be as successful as you could be until you overcome that,” I said in response.
If you are not organized, fix it.
Highly successful salespeople, the top guns, are highly organized. They maintain a good filing system that allows them to collect, store and use useful information.
The average field salesperson spends only about 25 – 30 percent of the workweek actually talking to customers. Imagine what would happen if we could dramatically increase that number. One of the things we waste time doing is fishing for information. A good filing system dramatically reduces that wasted time, and provides us with good information that helps us improve the quality of our sales calls.
This is the information age. Information is an asset to a company, and particularly to a salesperson. Collect good information about your customers, and you are able to more closely connect with them, more sharply focus your selling time, and more finely hone your proposals. Maintain a system that allows you to access product information and you’ll rarely keep customers waiting, you’ll rarely look unprofessional, and you’ll be able to quickly access things you need to know.
In today’s world, there is no excuse for not having a good filing system and using it to collect and store useful information.
At this writing (2009) you probably need to have duplicate systems, one hard copy and one electronic. As your company moves towards a paperless system, you’ll eventually do away with the hard copy system.
The system should consist of hard copy and electronic files for each of your A & B customers and prospects, in which you maintain account profiles, logs of everything you talked about, copies of old quotes, etc.
The system should also provide you, either/or electronically or hard copy, access to all the important sales and marketing literature for all the products and services you sell.
You should have at your fingertips a complete listing of each of your internal people, with phone numbers, extensions, and a description of what each does as it relates to your job.
You should have files for “learning” or personal development. These files (electronic and/or hardcopy) contain the things that you need to read about your industry including industry trends and reports, as well as the new products or services with which you need to become conversant.
All of this should be well organized, maintained, and readily available. Refer to the appropriate files before every sales call.
You can see what an advantage this provides to the serious professional salesperson. That’s why this is a best practice of the best. If you want to be one of the best, do what the best do.
For more resources on this best practice:
a. Chapters three, four and five of How to Excel at Distributor Sales
b. Chapter three of Take Your Sales Performance Up a Notch
c. Chapter eight of 10 Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople
d. The one hour “Best of Dave Kahle” telephone seminar: Get Organized! Managing Information Before it Manages You