Unit 7: Interview with a sales representative

Listen to the recording as you read the text. Then complete the activities.

Interviewer: Hello, most of us have experienced the frustration of sitting in a traffic jam on our way to work or the horrible feeling when you realize you are lost driving around a city you don’t know. Well, today's guest is here to talk about how to be prepared for your business trips. Welcome to the show James, would you like to introduce yourself to our listeners.

James: Hello, well my name is James McCann and I work as a field sales representative for a large pharmaceutical company. My job involves traveling all over the south west to meet with potential clients.

Interviewer: So you must do a lot of traveling then. How many kilometers do you drive in a normal week?

James: It is hard to say as there really is no such thing as a normal week but last week I did just over 5,000 and I am proud to say that I wasn’t late to a single appointment.

Interviewer: Wow, that is impressive. What is your secret?

James: No secret. I just make sure that I set off at a reasonable time especially if I am going somewhere for the first time.

Interviewer: That sounds sensible, but surely you must come across unexpected hold ups like road works or unusually heavy traffic.

James: Of course that is possible but I use a very advanced GPS which also updates me on traffic conditions so it does’t happen very often and I usually try to avoid the rush hour traffic if I can.

Interviewer: Ok. I suppose with all of that traveling you must get up very early.

James: It depends. Sometimes, like today, if I have an early appointment I will arrive at the venue the night before.

Interviewer: Isn’t that expensive?

James: Yes, but I don’t have to worry about that my per diem allows me to stay in modest hotels when I need to. The only problem is remembering to keep the receipts so I can claim the money back on my monthly expense report.

Interviewer: So you are actually being paid to stay in hotels? Sounds like a great job.

James: It’s not as nice as it sounds. I usually check in too late to use any of the leisure facilities and the restaurant is often closed. Luckily, most of the hotels I use have a business center so at least I can check my mail and Skype my daughter. Then it’s just off to bed. In the morning I’ll usually have breakfast and then freshen up so I am presentable for my first appointment.

Interviewer: Oh yes, it must be tough being away from the family so much.

James: It is, but after 12 years I am used to it. I make sure that I am at home at least three nights a week.

Interviewer: You said that you don’t have a typical week. Why is that?

James: Well, I usually only see a client once every 3 months so I don’t travel to the same places week after week. On Monday morning I receive my itinerary for the week which shows all of my confirmed appointments, then from that I need to try to fit in unconfirmed appointments around these to try to avoid going to the same area on different days.

Interviewer: How do you do this?

James: I use an online service which allows me to enter the destinations I need to visit and it shows my ETA (estimated time of arrival) for each of the stops. Then I can see how much time I have available for other meetings.

Interviewer: And what about break downs? Driving so much, I am sure you must have problems from time to time.

James: It has happened, but actually we have a really good fleet manager who takes care of all of the cars. I just call him and he finds a mechanic and hires a replacement vehicle, all I have to do is let the client know I may be a few minutes late.

Interviewer: Thank you James. So listeners, you see that if you are prepared travel to and from work should be no problem at all.

Now continue to the Activities