How to Plan a Sales Route

Salesman shaking hands with potential clients
Salesman shaking hands with potential clients (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Maximizing your sales appointments leads to increased sales and profitability. Successful salespeople get the most bang for their buck by building time into the work day, to make a geographically friendly route. In addition to streamlining your appointments, a little advanced planning can reduce stress and frustration. By structuring your day to maximize time and energy, you will arrive at your appointments fresh and confident, ready to claim that sale.

Things You'll Need

  • Map
  • GPS
  • Appointment Book
  • Calendar
  • Highlighter

Set aside a block of time just for planning your sales route. Select a time frame that is free of phone calls, appointments, and other distractions. The time you spend in planning, you will gain in travel time.

Pinpoint the location of all of your accounts on a map. You can do this using an online map, such as Google maps or MapQuest. As an alternative, use a street map or street map book. Group accounts by area. When using a map or map book, use a highlighter to connect the dots to trace the route you've planned.

Start with your major accounts. Identify which other accounts are in close proximity to your major accounts. As best you can, try to line up your major accounts and those close to it on the same day.

Schedule your first appointment of the day to be either the one that is closest to you, or the one that is farthest away. Your major accounts can be first, last, or anywhere in between. This stage is purely geographical. Plot a line from one appointment to another, geographically moving either toward your starting point or away from it. Microsoft has a program which synergizes Microsoft CRM, Excel, and MapPoint for online routing.

Schedule the rest of your appointment times. Start with the first appointment, estimate the length of the appointment, and add the travel time to the next appointment. Repeat this process for the rest of the appointments, until your schedule is full for the day. Mark the appointments in your calendar or appointment book in the designated appointment time slot. When planning your daily schedule, plan for construction delays and traffic patterns. Allow extra time when relying on public transportation including taxis, buses, trains and airplanes. Use a GPS as a back-up plan to help with directions.

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