The salesman might well ask himself every day whether his work is properly routed, and if not, what it is costing him to manufacture his commodity, the sale. Has he routed his trips between towns so as to reduce to a minimum the time that must be lost on trains and in waiting over for connections? Are his calls arranged so that he can travel in a straight line? Or must Ile zigzag back and forth thru town, now at one end and now at the other—chasing isolated pros pects at each end? Has he selected prospects who are in the same neighborhood? Or is he wasting valuable presentation-making time and energy covering long distances after each interview? Let us look first at his routing between towns. This is not of great importance unless, of course, the salesman is making towns at the rate of more than one a day. The route should be laid out as far as possible in a straight line. Peculiar train schedules, however, may prevent the advantageous arrangement of a straight route and it may be well to skip a town and double back. A. new salesman will always find men Who have been covering the route for some time and who know all the tricks that may be played with the time-table.
3. Organizing a town.—Let us look now at the planning of the work within a town. We shall as sume that the salesman has never visited the town. His first duty will be to get as good a knowledge of the town as is possible in the time which he can spare. If his proposition is such that he will be in town for a week or more, it may pay him to spend a half-day, or in some cases a whole day, in merely looking about the town and gauging its possibilities.
The second step will be to make a card list of all possible prospects. Names can be secured from the general directory or from the telephone directory, or from such other sources as the nature of the particular business may suggest. Quite possibly the salesman's house may have provided him with prospect cards, but no matter how thoron ly he may be equipped in this way, it is probable that some names will have been left out, and the salesman should be careful to see that they are added to his list. If the salesman has visited the town previously, of course a good deal of this work will have been done, and if be carries a line that en ables him to sell to the same customers over and over again, he probably will have a set of data cards that will give him full information.
The salesman will find much valuable information and, in the case of some lines, the names of possible prospects in the local papers. He should make it a point to read these papers if he intends to stay in the town any length of time or if he intends to revisit it at frequent intervals. One of the best specialty sales men in the country makes it a point always to send for the town papers for the past week just as soon as he arrives at the hotel.
The rule of routing calls in a straight line cannot always be strictly followed, for there may be more im portant things to be taken into consideration. For example, it might be very important for a specialty salesman to see two or three of his most prominent prospects the very first thing, irrespective of their lo cation in the town. -Moreover, during his stay- Ile will, of course, call upon prospects that have been recom mended to him by customers rather than those who are most accessible, but to whom he has no introduction. Another exception to the rule of routing calls in a straight line, is the case of the staple salesman who wishes to start off with the most progressive store and work down. In any case, of course, it is advisable to plan the day's work carefully.
4. Planning the day' s work.—The work for the day is planned with the aid of a map of the town. The number of prospects that can be visited will depend on the number of presentations of the particular propo sition that can be made in a day, and on the pro portion of prospects who, for one reason or another, cannot be seen. It is better to plan too many calls than too few, for if the salesman plans an insufficient number he is likely not to have enough calls for a day's Work. Many salesmen make it a point to spend some time on Sunday planning their work for the coming week. Then each evening they select from the week's prospects those that they intend to see the next day.
Immediately after the close of the day's field work, the salesman should sit down and prepare the day's orders for forwarding. Then, while events are still fresh in his mind, Ile should make out his daily report, at the same time carefully reviewing the day's work and noting the mistakes that he has made. It is of extreme importance that this period of retrospection come as soon as the salesman has made his last call, rather than later when his ardor has cooled and Ile has forgotten some of the finer points of the dav's hap penings.
5. Preparing for the next day.—Immediately after the orders have been prepared and any mistakes of the day have been noted, the next day's work should be laid out. 'Naturally this cannot be done while a man is in the field. Moreover, if the planning is postponed the enjoyment of the evening's recreation is likely to be marred because the salesman cannot throw off the feeling that there is unfinished business on his mind. -When he finally gets at it, at eleven o'clock or later, he is cold toward his proposition and his energy is at a low ebb. In other words, he has allowed his mind to slip out of the selling groove and he finds it hard to bring it back.