Today’s selling professional realises that the glamour of travel wears off (if not out) after a very few trips, and what remains is plain old-fashioned hard work. One thing about the selling experience is the variety of experiences.
The sales professional who learns to travel successfully on a regular basis, represent the company properly, and keep family life well balanced has a competitive edge in the job market. The person who functions well in these areas is creating value within the organisation and will gain a positive reputation in the industry specifically and the sales profession generally.
Travel time in the care or plane can allow us great quantities of listening or reading time that we just cannot get in an office setting. Company travel takes us to areas of cultural interest, we can broaden our cultural base and enrich our personal and family life. In addition, cultural enrichment will make us more valuable to the company. Travel invariably forces us into daily use of social skills that might lay dormant in the office environment. The social skills we learn and practice become a way of life, allowing us to operate at a comfort level beyond what most people experience.
Too many people use the road as an excuse for poor physical fitness instead of a reason for success in this primary area. The great performers in sales (as well as other successful people in all areas of life) have long touted the virtues of solitude. Travel affords us the opportunity to control our “quiet time” and spend time in solitude and contemplation. Fifteen minutes of solitude taken twice a day can help us deal with issues and people in a manner that will surprise us. Solitude leads to peace of mind, which leads to an improved quality of sleep, and with proper rest, sales will soar.
Creative time or think time is different from solitude. In our quiet time, there will most often be no agenda, in creative time, we will focus on a specific client, customer, situation, scenario, or concern. When creative people interact about a business or product or marketing idea, sparks fly. These creative sparks can generate a forest fire of innovative ideas. Alert sale professionals will find that many of the best solutions to their selling situational problems come to them from others as a result of interaction.
All great failures are character failures. We will be successful when we are doing the things we love to do, the things we feel comfortable doing that allow us to grow personally and professionally. Over a period of time, people grow in all facets of their lives.
The most challenging portion of the day for the travelling salesperson is the evening when the necessary forces of your activities have been handled and we are confronted with a series of choices about how we can invest our time. There will be a lot of distractions and the only way to win the battle is to have decided well in advance exactly what we are going to do with our evening. Many travellers show courage and determination by planning ahead. We must be careful of the couch potato syndrome as the biggest thief is the television. Television can be a great tool for education and for relaxation.
“Character is the ability to carry out a resolution long after the mood of the moment has passed.” Pleasure is very temporary whereas happiness is of long-range duration. Getting the most out of our hours is a topic that deserves consideration. We must start with realistic goals that can be achieved and gradually increase them on a regular basis. Do not set out to break the world record on the first day, instead, set a personal record. If we set enough personal records, we can eventually challenge the world record.
We live in an age of modern communication technology, regardless of technology, the product is only as good as the user. Travelling can actually enhance communications. The communication opportunities people take for granted in the office are not taken for granted on the road. With the family, communication is particularly important.
When we are at home, BE THERE, when we are on the road, do a great job, using every spare moment to do whatever is necessary so that when we get home, we can BE THERE. Life is too fragile and short to waste even one single moment. Seize the moment, live each day to the fullest wherever we may be and live with purpose, passion and persistence.
(Adapted from “The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional – Ziglar on Selling”, Chapter 13 – The Glamour of The Road – A Myth of the Selling Profession, by Zig Ziglar)