When was the last time you used the camera on your phone? Snapping a picture of the dinner you ate last night? The odd selfie?

If you’re a sales rep on the road or at a trade show, that camera can do more for you than chronicle a Wednesday night plate of avocado rolls or provide you with a (let’s face it) subpar LinkedIn photo.

The camera on your phone or tablet can become a powerful mobile sales tool, multitasking as an inventory tracker and merchandising guide. Whether or not you’re currently using sales order management software, here are some innovative ways to utilize that mobile camera.

How to Use Your Camera as a Mobile Sales Tool

1. Document empty shelf space to write more orders:

During an in-store appointment, quickly photograph an empty product display to provide a visual representation of what inventory needs to be filled. Say you’re a rep selling shoes. You’re on a store visit, and you see that a quarter of the men’s athletic shoe rack is empty. Snap a quick photo of it, fill in the assortment on a suggested order, and send it to the retailer along with the photo.

This provides not just a powerful visual aid to go along with the order, it also demonstrates that you’re looking out directly for the retailer’s individual needs. If you happen to be using mobile sales order management software, the process will be even easier. You can email the suggested order and photo from your phone or tablet in seconds. The retailer can then make adjustments to the order, if any, and confirm it.

2. Capture a retailer’s chosen products at a trade show:

When talking with a retail buyer at a trade show, you’re always pulling product off the shelves/displays. By the end of the conversation, you have the buyer’s chosen items on the table or on a separate rack nearby. Rather than taking up your (and the buyer’s) valuable time to mark down their product choices by hand, take a photo to capture their merchandise selection. You can also merchandise according to their needs and take individual pictures of each assortment.

Sales order management software allows you to then write a quick order, attach the photo(s) to remind the buyer of your exchange and the products they chose, and have it in their inbox before they’ve even left the trade show floor. You can bet that a sales rep who made the process efficient and enjoyable will stand out from the crowd.

3. Use photos as merchandising guides:

Take a picture of a POP display at a showroom or trade show and use that image to communicate exactly how the retailer can merchandise the product when it arrives at their store.

If you have multiple display ideas, send multiple photos and let the retailer choose which one they’d like to implement. You’ll get major points for making the retailer’s job much easier, while also helping them keep your brand in mind.

4. Snap photos of business cards to save time:

You can associate snapshots of business cards with orders to save time, whether it’s because you don’t have time to fully fill out their new contact information in the midst of writing an order, or you want to keep it on file for your customer service team in case questions arise during the order fulfillment process.

And how many times have you encountered someone at a trade show or conference who ended up not bringing enough business cards? Save them a card by just snapping a photo of theirs. You won’t have a bunch of cumbersome bits of paper to deal with at the end of the day either.

5. Keep a record of documentation that you need for later:

We talked with a Michigan-based sales rep who uses his mobile camera in order to store and send necessary documentation like sales certificates or tax certificates.

If you have any kind of paper documentation that you need to keep track of, send, or attach to an order (including preseason terms, new dealer agreements, credit applications, etc.), just use your camera to take a crystal clear picture of it and hit ‘send’ right from your phone, rather than working off a scanner and computer or trying to figure out how to use a dreaded fax machine.

Making the Most of Your Mobile Device

These innovative ideas can help you harness the full power of your mobile phone or tablet in a professional setting. Especially when used in conjunction with a sales order management app, your mobile camera can become an essential tool at all of your sales appointments, meetings, and trade shows. Click here for a list of more sales technologies that will help you get ahead, and let us know in the comments if you have other useful ideas to share.