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Some kind of jobs depend on the presence of customers to do their job. A few examples are inside salesmen, waiters, and so on. My current problem consists in trying to convince the directors against blocking social media usage when they're idle. My argument relies in how easy it is to find alternatives online and how it's not forcing anyone to use their time better.

You'll never finish a list of the things a salesman shouldn't do.

The decision was postponed and I'm now in charge of finding a viable solution to keep the salesmen busy when no customers are attending the store. Calling customers to speak of new products or promotions is something they already do and not enough to fill the idle time.

Activities I thought of so far:

  • Context research. Regular challenges to find a solution to a specific problem related to sales in their idle time.
  • Training. Printed or online sales training to read/watch.
  • Internal Blog. Write something interesting about sales in an internal blog, be it commenting news or sharing a good experience.
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closed as off topic by Robert Cartaino Aug 2 '11 at 5:24

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Are these salesman that are in a retail store or at a desk? It sounds like the former. In which case, how convenient is the computer? (I would think they should be on the floor available in case someone shows up. break time is their own.) But then I thought the later since floor people/waiters don't call customers. –  Jeanne Boyarsky Aug 1 '11 at 23:18
    
@Jeanne You can say it's a retail store and they have one computer at their disposal to use the ERP software. "Break time" may be causing confusion I'll change for something else. –  Renan Aug 1 '11 at 23:38
    
That's clearer. Thanks for updating. –  Jeanne Boyarsky Aug 2 '11 at 1:13
    
@Renan: You're question is really a business management concern and not an issue of "personal productivity." I have to close this as off topic for this site. –  Robert Cartaino Aug 2 '11 at 5:24
    
Well, actually, you SHOULDN'T be keeping salesmen busy. Never work for work's sake. Sales depends strongly on mood. A well rested salesman working only two hours a day when 80% of the customers are around will make far more sales than one working 8 hours a day but is tired by the end of that period. Nothing is more anti-productive than a salesman with a monotonous "Can I help you?" chasing away the customers. –  Muz Aug 29 '13 at 11:09

1 Answer 1

If you have salesmen with free time you aren't using your sales force effectively - as part of their drivers you should have monetary rewards for selling more than their peers... this should be sufficient motivation for them to drive themselves.

While I like your idea of giving them things to do, it really shouldn't be necessary. Every organisation I have worked at with a strongly successful sales force has had the carrot and stick.

  • Carrot being the bonuses for selling past targets and ahead of their peers
  • Stick being a low base salary, and the likelihood of being fired if they were in last place

None of the salesmen I have ever worked with have ever sat around for more than a few minutes between other tasks, as they have all been driven to increase their pay packet.

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He is specifically talking about break time. He does not say the staff doesn't have enough to do, but everybody has the right of a break. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Aug 1 '11 at 15:34
    
@Rory Can you deem the salesmen responsible for the lack of customers? It's not a problem motivation can solve. The directors keep trying to banish activities instead of delegating assignments. Sometimes the salesmen use their lunch time due to the large amount of customers, sometimes they stay longer than their work time. It's really not a matter of motivation. –  Renan Aug 1 '11 at 17:34

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