You’re looking to expand into a new sales territory. Exciting? Yes. But does your direct sales firm have a plan?
In the opening scene of The Music Man, there’s a trainful of traveling salesmen complaining about one particular salesman that is ruining all their reputations. They recite a laundry list of the salesman’s sins, and the one they find the most offensive?
“He doesn’t know the territory!”
If your direct sales team is starting to work in a new area, one that you’ve never worked before, it can be a daunting prospect. What if you ruin your reputation and get a mountain of rejections because you don’t know the territory?
Luckily, there are a few things you can consider when building a sales territory plan that can help you stay on track to thriving! Here are three tips to make the most out of your team’s new opportunity:
Tip #1: Research Your New Territory’s Demographics
You know the do’s and don’ts of successful sales. Shouldn’t those principles apply everywhere?
Well, yes and no. The main principles of sales carry over across most territories, but in tailoring a specific sales approach, it’s crucial to understand your target market.
Let’s say you’ve been working in Brooklyn. Your team is used to positioning your product in an urban environment to young, status-seeking apartment dwellers with limited disposable income.
If you get a new territory in Naples, Florida, your team might try the same types of sales techniques that they used in Brooklyn. But the well-off retirees with spanish-tiled estates in gated communities may not respond to your sales demo in quite the same way as the hip urbanites your team is used to.
A good direct sales rep knows their market. They do their research and they know what their customers are looking for, which allows them to tailor the sales presentation to their target market.
When you’re looking at your new target market, you’re looking for a few different things, including:
- Cultural background
- Age Range
- Average income level
- Crime level
It’s not an exhaustive list, but this should give you a great start in learning how to tailor your product demonstrations to your target market.
Remember, direct sales is very personal, so your team will always need to be able to modify their pitch to the individual they’re meeting with. But knowing who they’re likely to encounter, (and what angles tend to be the most successful,) will be a huge benefit when working in an unfamiliar territory.
You want to blend in, not be a fish out of water.
Tip #2: Know What Your Competition Is Doing
One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with a new territory is to check out how other businesses are working it.
First, take a look at area businesses in general. Are there particular industries thriving? Are others struggling?
If, for example, the car dealerships are floundering while the local bike shop has a booming business, that tells you something about the people in your territory.
After you take stock on what businesses your new territory values, circle back and take a look at your own industry. Is there anyone else in the market doing what you do? If there are, be sure to take note of how available their services are.
Also, how well are those competitors viewed? Do they have glowing local reviews, or do they have a negative reputation? Both of these present opportunities and challenges for your business in the area.
Take a look at your competitors’ strategies and see what’s working for them, and where they’ve struggled. You may be able to use their past experience to boost your own competitive advantage in your new direct sales territory!
Tip #3: Start Selling (Scientifically)
The most reliable way to figure out what approaches will work in a new sales territory is to go start selling in it.
It’s important to do your homework, but the fact of the matter is that you won’t know precisely what you’re in for until your team rolls up its sleeves and gets out in the field.
When you take your sales leaders and top performers, (ones who know their stuff and have proven themselves in previous sales territories,) and place them in a new territory, you can begin to really compare results.
If your top performers that consistently crush their sales numbers in one territory struggle in your new territory, (or vice versa,) it may provide some helpful clues as to the differences in your target markets.
Measure close rates for your pitch for an established territory and the new one. Then approach the issue scientifically. Make hypotheses for why the results may differ.
Here’s an example: In our old territory, we sold more high end cable packages because the average age skewed older and retired folks have more time to watch TV. Our new territory is younger with lower average income, so if we emphasize our cost-saving bundles we may have better results.
Now, test those hypotheses on a small sample size.
If your hypothesis seems to hold up, implement it across the territory and see what sort of traction you get. Keep experimenting and tailoring your approach to the territory as your team interacts with that.
Ultimately, acquiring a new sales territory means playing a guessing game. The goal is to make the most educated guesses you can based on the most relevant data you can drum up. If you do your homework on your territory’s demographic, keep an eye on the competition, and approach your hands-on experience scientifically, your sales territory plan should take shape in no time.
If you want to take the Telecom industry by storm and expand into new territory, Solcomm wants to hear from you. Solcomm Subdealers receive the support and direction they need to build a thriving direct sales firm that can deliver in any community. Check out what it takes to partner with us today!