Sean McPheat on post-lockdown sales

June 2020

“In its third edition of ‘The State of Sales’ report in 2020, SalesForce reported that “Sales reps have increased their time connecting virtually with customers at a rate 3x greater than connecting in person.”
In addition, it states that “Sales reps can reach more customers with virtual selling or even reach customers in various geographical locations.”

That, of course, was written before the Coronavirus shutdown, but it shows that virtual meetings with clients and prospects were exponentially on the increase before it became the only methodology we could use.

When the lockdowns are over, we may find that the virtual world has uncovered a whole new way of researching our customer base and allowed us to seek out information and facts that we hadn’t tried before.

So, what would be the best practices to adhere to when meeting up with a client virtually?  Here are some ideas that will help when you are holding a virtual meeting with a prospect online.

  • Don’t assume that this will be easier or harder than meeting in person.  Your mindset will play a vital role in how these meetings proceed, so be aware of how you are preparing your mindset and your attitude before you touch base
  • Don’t neglect the preparation  You wouldn’t go into a face-to-face meeting without planning, so don’t use this medium as an excuse to by-pass the professionalism you need to display, even in these times of crises.
  • Don’t treat it as a simple call to touch-base  Remember that your prospects will be as anxious and worried as you are about the situation, so don’t use the chance to meet up virtually as just that…a meet-up. Even though it’s not business as usual, you can still be professional and add some sort of value to the prospect, even if it won’t be seen until we enter the ‘new normal’• Don’t try to ‘sell’  This is true when you’re face-to-face and even more so when you are in the virtual world. See this call for what it really is…a fact-finding and initial meeting online.• Do think about what is on the prospect’s mind  This is not the time to sell your products. Do check in with the prospect to see how they are doing with the current situation. Treat it as a business call, with greater empathy than ever before.  Their mindset will be on how their business will get through this. People will not be making big decisions that will affect their current cashflow or investment.  See this an opportunity to build relationships and prove your human touch, rather than being seen as a transactional interruption.
  • Do be future-focused  We will see a slower return to our usual sales patterns after lockdown, with most economists are referring to the time after the virus as the ‘new normal’.  If you think that you’ll be able to get things back on track with your clients and prospects pretty quickly after the lockdown, we may have to think differently. Although there will no doubt be pent-up demand, the amount of freedom customers will have to invest will be highly limited.  Just like it took many months or years for businesses to recover after the last recession, it will take time now to adjust to what will be a new world order of things.  In the next issue, I’ll explore how to be vigilant in your fact-finding, how to prepare effectively, and how to plan for others to be available online. Until then, happy selling!

Sean McPheat is Managing Director of MTD Training.  
For information please call 0800 849 6732 or visit  www.mtdsalestraining.com.

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