How to Win The Expense Report Game
Back in the day, sales reps had a lot more leeway with expense accounts. While not officially unlimited, it was generally understood that you could wine and dine a prospect or customer and not be concerned about the cost of the wine or the consumed items that are dined. I can recall one raucous dinner in Dallas with two print equipment sales reps and a prospect when one of the reps pulled me aside to say, “Do you want to come to Vegas with us?” When I asked him when they were going, he replied, “Tonight.” Yikes!
Needless to say, that was then, this is now.
Today, not only do companies watch employee expenses, they closely scrutinize them to the point where they actually want to know what you consumed in that $35.69 dinner, as in, “What did you have to eat?”
But one company president made a comment that really got me thinking: “Do you know what I like about George? He spends company money like it was his own.” That it would not go unnoticed was a real eye-opener for me.
Why does it even matter? Aren’t we talking about just a few dollars either way?
In baseball, there is a rule that the tie goes to the runner. That is, when two feet hit the bag at the same time, it’s assumed that the player on offense got there first. In sales, there are times when a light shines on a sales rep, questioning activity or results. If that rep has been judicious with his or her boss’ money, the tie will most certainly go to that runner.
The days of “I’m on an expense account. Nothing is too good for me” are over, kids. Have been for quite a while. One way to make the boss happy is to sell something. Another way is to save something. Bring in a receipt for a $5 footlong and your month of near donut sales ($0) will be seen differently.
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Bill Farquharson can be reached at (781) 934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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