Last month I mentioned Coronavirus more as an inconvenience, never thinking of a Pandemic. Now we are practicing “Safe at Home”. Whew, how quickly our world tipped upside down.
We have learned a lot in a few weeks. We have adjusted in so many ways by implementing technology. Zoom reports user increase from 10 million to 200 million in less than a month. Target reports a 50% increase in the sale of tops (versus bottoms). We only have to look good from the waist up on video calls.
All this begs the question of what will the New Normal look like? One thing we learned is that a ZOOM video call has very good video and audio. You can have multiple people on a call. Do we really need to drive two hours to make a sales call? Can some of our “one off” in person sales calls be converted to a video call?
The whole question of working from home is no longer a question. It can be done and done effectively. Do offices really need all those cubicles?
How long will it be before you can enter a customer’s office? One of my clients has established an outdoor conference room (a picnic table and awning) to meet suppliers.
It’s more important than ever that we not lose the habit of setting appointments to see customers as we come out of this quarantine mentality. 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 and they can be interactive using the likes of ZOOM.
Here are my hints from last month and they still apply.
- 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.