A few months ago I wrote about nothing replacing the personal sales call. That hasn’t changed. What has changed, for those of you with fly territories, is the Coronavirus. SXSW (South by Southwest) the big conference in Austin, TX was cancelled. Soccer games in Italy are being played in empty stadiums. Getting on an airplane may become a risk.
It’s time to get creative and use technology that maybe you haven’t embraced in the past. There are any number of ways to have virtual meetings (Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, etc.). Start now to investigate your options.
Get out and “see” your customers! A longtime client recently decided to finally visit a medium size customer with annual volume of several hundred thousand dollars. While he was there he found three more opportunities. This client may double in size largely because he was visited.
Meeting your current customers – virtually if necessary – on a regular basis sets you apart from all those hoping for a new sales lead. Sales calls are interactive. They talk, you listen and vice versa. A “virtual sales call” is second best, but it sure beats no sales call.
We often hear of good salespeople getting bogged down with estimating, answering emails, writing quotes, doing paperwork. All of that stuff is important, but it doesn’t have to be done during peak selling hours. That time of day when customers can be found in their offices looking at monitor that could have your lovely face on it. Here’s a few hints to get you virtually out of the office maintaining contact with your customers.
- Reach out to those far away customers. Discuss the travel restrictions and suggest a “virtual sales call”.
- Get your IT folks involved. If you need a little technology refresher; get it. Then, you can make your customer feel more comfortable if they are hesitant.
- Be proactive and creative. It will be real easy to use travel restrictions as an excuse not to get off your butt! Have donuts delivered to your customer in advance of your call. Make it fun.
- Plan several virtual calls per week. Practice makes perfect. Embrace the technology and have some fun with it. Make some calls from your car, from under a tree, on a lake, lean into it!
When I was a young salesman a grizzly old veteran told me “plan your work and work you plan.” I’ll bet he never thought of making a sales call without leaving his office.