Life on the road as an outside sales rep can be an exciting, fun lifestyle - perfectly suited to nomadic, wandering personalities. But staying productive while away can be difficult – it’s a lot of time by yourself, and it’s easy to feel disconnected from everyone, including the home office. Fortunately in today’s blog, we’ve got some advice on how you can achieve maximum productivity while on the road.
Learn traffic patterns and how to avoid snarls.
There’s few things more irritating or stressful than getting caught in gridlock when you have an important presentation in an hour, and what looked like a half-hour trip is looking like a two-hour nightmare. If it’s an area that you’re familiar with, get to know the common chokepoints and busiest travel times so you can plot your day and route around those known issues.
If it’s new territory, then turn to your mobile devices. Waze and other apps have constant traffic updates, allowing you to avoid accident-related delays and other travel snags, such as snowy streets that haven’t plowed yet. Also check out Google – if you have location detection on, searching traffic will return the results of your immediate area, or simply search traffic and your destination. Twitter is another great resource – as you acquire regular routes and territories, you can search traffic and the relevant areas, then set notifications to be informed when new traffic-related posts are live.
Be prepared for misfortune.
One of the necessities if you’re traveling, period, whether for work or recreation, is to have a first aid kit in your vehicle, whether store-bought or self-made to address your individual medical needs.
Also make sure you have roadside assistance set up in case of accident or breakdowns. You can additionally save time and money by learning basic car maintenance and the ins and outs of your car – including familiarizing yourself with your make and model’s frequent problem spots.
You’ll need to also be ready for inclement weather. That includes having an extra change of clothes, comfortable shoes, and blankets or manual fans, depending on the time of year – your heater and/or air conditioner going out in winter or summer with no other means of extreme temperature relief available is an awful experience. In terms of weather, when going to a wintery place, consider an ice scraper/brush as not all car rental companies provide these with their rentals.
Bonus Tip: Although we’ve largely become a cashless society, do carry some bills and change with you in case you run into a situation that doesn’t take cards, or if your credit/debit cards go missing.
Establish your itinerary in advance of your trip
Map out your itinerary in advance, including booking hotels; especially if traveling to popular tourist destinations or during the peak vacation season. To save time and money, if you’re traveling frequently with overnight stays, find a hotel chain that offers a rewards program for business travelers or frequent guests and join the program.
Be prepared to finetune your routes and travel times as the weather changes, and keep tabs on the forecast for the areas you’ll be traveling in.
Organize and Analyze Data
There’s a wealth of productivity apps out there to take advantage of – everything from taking orders right on your phone or tablet, mobile-friendly versions of CRMs, and mileage trackers. Anything you can use to automate your processes, including expense reports, will save you a lot of time, freeing up to be more productive – imagine the ease of sending mileage and expense reports from your phone, without having to manually tabulate everything at the end of the day!
Conferencing and email apps will also let you keep in touch with the team back at the home office, giving you the communication you need to make sure everyone is in sync and the sales process runs smoothly.
Flying the Skies
If you’re a frequent flier, much like with the hotels, find your preferred airline and join their rewards program to rack up points and miles in order to save money – even better if they have a partnership with a hotel chain in your territory, killing two birds with one stone.
Most people also opt for the 5 year, $85 TSA Precheck, which allows you to speed through lines much more quickly, but Global Entry is also 5 years and for $15 more ($100 total) you also have access to expedited customs screenings if you’re traveling abroad. With Global Entry, you’re also automatically entered into TSA Precheck, which makes it a better, more flexible option, even if you only go abroad once or twice during those five years.
Life on the road is definitely thrilling, and there’s nothing quite like a career as an outside sales rep. To stay focused, on task, and maximize your productivity, follow these guidelines – it’ll make one of the best jobs even better.