As vice-president of Channeled Resources, a Chicago company that sells pressure-sensitive label paper, Cindy Revenaugh does everything in her power to get her sales reps to hang up the phone and hit the road. She encourages them to call on accounts in person by providing an ample car allowance and placing no limit on travel and entertainment expenses.
"None of our seven salespeople travel the way I'd like them to. They like working the phone better," says Revenaugh. "Some people are really comfortable going home every night. If you don't go face-to-face, you don't find out about new projects lying on a customer's desk or discover what the competition is doing. You don't get the whole story over the phone."
Recently, Revenaugh discovered that a customer was looking for a specialty security tape that her company didn't carry. She made a couple of phone calls and found two new sources for it. She was also able to hook the customer up with another customer that she had seen earlier in the week.
"There's no way I would have been able to put together those sales if I wasn't there in person. It's that kind of brainstorming that builds a solid customer relationship," says Revenaugh, who clocks more than 30,000 miles a year on the road. "I'm always on the road, and our revenues are always growing"--from less than $1 million to more than $14 million annually.