1. Get a premium carwash and make sure the inside is clean and the trunk is organized.
Having been a manager of sales reps for over 20+ years I can promise you that having a messy car is not a great way to make a good impression! Your manager may be looking for someone to take over their team one day or someone who could take on more responsibility but if you don’t take care of your car, sales materials, your clothes, etc. it makes it hard to imagine you in a bigger role. In my experience, those who kept messy cars had a tough time keeping everything together. A clean car is important and shows your manager that you respect them enough to give them a clean environment to work with you in. If the company provides you with a company car, it also shows that you are taking good care of company property. Do it the evening before so windows are dry if they roll them down and up!
2. Pack your day with lots of calls/visits.
If you get a head’s up on a field visit a few days before, plan your day to work the best area of your territory with the most clients with the least driving. Areas with large high-rise buildings and lots of elevator rides work great instead of driving 10 miles to see each office. You want to get in as many visits as you can with high quality targets as possible. If you do only cold calls in your job, try to set up some warm leads by calling or canvassing the area ahead of time so you don’t waste time on offices that are not at match for your products/services. It also makes your manager think that you are very efficient and you aren’t wasting their time or yours.
3. Clarify before the visit if your manager wants to have a business review at lunch.
Doing this helps you to know what to prepare for and expect. Keep in mind that your manager may have clients in your territory that they may have responsibility for seeing and it will help them out for you to schedule time to see them. Sometimes managers want to have lunch with just you to review your business, discuss career goals, do performance reviews etc. Other times they are really looking to observe you in action. Give them a chance to see all the ways you connect with your clients, cold calls, visiting prospective clients, getting lunch time to spend more time with key decision makers etc. Asking your manager whether they want you to schedule a one on one lunch will give you an idea of the type of visit you are having. Most reps don’t ask and just assume and get disappointed when the manager tells them that they want 2 hours to review the rep’s business without knowing that the rep scheduled a lunch with their biggest client. Always share your call objectives and ask your manager for some ideas on tough offices or let them know when you are taking them to see a challenging account. They will be happy to help, but don’t blindside them, tell them before the call. They’ll respect you for utilizing their expertise to grow your business!
4. Plan to start early and end late.
Plan to pick up/meet your manager as early as possible at a local coffee shop or Starbucks at 7:30am near your first call/visit. You will both be happy to have some coffee and this gives you a chance to set the stage for your day. It also gives you some control over your day and shows your manager that you are used to working early in the day. You can give them an agenda for the day including everyone you plan to see and some key notes from previous visits that will guide today’s call. Plan your last call for 5:00pm and ask your manager if it is okay that you finish up around 5:30pm or 6pm. Don’t ever try to get rid of your manager early or assume that they will want to leave after lunch. This is a big mistake and one I have seen quite often. No matter how much managers want to judge you for your own business, it is very normal for them to have favorite “field visit reps”. Usually the best reps get seen the least so if you don’t want to see your manager much, get your business up to #1. The reps who are struggling usually get more field visits and they are typically the ones who get started late, try to get rid of the manager after lunch and then are shocked and unprepared when they get a lot of “Needs Improvements” on their coaching reports.
5. Be open to constructive feedback.
Managers have to give feedback, it’s their job! They are expected to judge how well you are doing compared to others on your team. It is tough to hear that you are not doing as well as you think you are, but if your manager sees that you are committed to being the best, they will help you. Don’t get defensive and get stressed out over every comment or suggestion they make. Just say things like “Oh I’ve never tried that before, have you seen it work in other territories?” “Maybe I should try that new close on our next call to see how it works and if you think I’m hitting the right benefits”. Managers love to feel that their feedback is helping you. They want to feel like they are contributing to your success, so let them. If you are stuck in some area, a field visit is a great time to ask for help, suggestions, and ask your manager to demonstrate it for you in a call, they love to show what they know!
If you have these 5 things set before your visit, you will be primed for a good day in the field. Relax and Good Luck! Let me know what you do to prepare for a field visit with your manager in the comments.