Listening to the news, it seems like the lockdown is slowly being released. If you are in sales, when is the right moment to visit customers again? And if you do visit customers, how best to manage this? Here we present 5 pieces of advice to help you:
Just about everyone is used to virtual calls now. If you don’t actually need to visit customers for your product / service, you might well help your customers a lot by staying virtual for now.
The UK government regularly updates advice for the main work environments here.
A little research will help you understand the specific challenge your customers are facing.
The association of professional sales also backs the work from home principle where possible.
If you are staying virtual, there are plenty of sources for how to make your virtual sales calls effective. For example, sales skills platform provider Kojopro have run webinars on this topic
Mastering virtual technology makes a lot of sense: Reduced travel, less environmental impact, more time and sometimes, more convenience for customers.
Covid-19 has created big winners (healthcare, sterilisation, supermarkets) and big losers (hospitality, automotive, airlines). It’s vital to do your research and understand the specific issues that each customer faces. Anything less looks like ignorance and indifference.
Plus, you can differentiate your approach: Help those in need, focus sales efforts in buoyant sectors.
You can find detailed sector information from the big consultancies. McKinsey, for example, produce regular sentiment and sector updates
If you do decide to visit customers, they will likely be working to strict H&S / government / company guidelines to ensure people are safe. Do your research upfront so you can fully comply with their policies.
Enforcing new procedures and routines is hard enough: Don’t make it difficult for your customers by being non-compliant. www.bbc.co.uk is good source of information. For example, it features advice on face masks here.
Doing a ‘mind’s eye walk-through’ of your visit can help to identify areas you need to pay special attention to in terms of hygiene. What physical space and interaction do you need? How will you manage that? Are there any special requests you would make upfront?
And don’t forget to have your stock of hand sanitiser / masks / gloves in your bags, car, office etc.
Admit it, did you ever wear shorts and a business shirt during a webinar? Sensible at home in the heat, maybe not so ‘a la mode’ face to face. It’s to be expected that we have become a bit more informal / relaxed working from home or on furlough for so long.
Sales is a profession. In the transition back to work, it’s worth challenging ourselves to have higher standards than our customers: In this way, they will not be disappointed. For more on the ‘back to school attitude’, check out our blog and also some of the ‘secret sauce’ for sales excellence.
Yes, things are different now. Who can really predict the way firms will evolve? This means traditional sales processes might need adapting.
Good sales meetings result in a valuable next step for both parties. What does the plan A next step look like? What does plan B and plan C look like if your customer is not in a position to say yes to plan A?
Preparation was always 90% of success for sales calls. Now it is even more so. Having several options in mind means you are more likely to agree a mutually beneficial way forward with your customer. That’s how we stay relevant isn’t it?
You can find out more about the essential attitudes of professional sales people here.
If you want help getting back out there, please get in touch. We have excellent tactical 90-minute virtual classroom sessions to help you.