Over the last few months, my experience as a trainer has shown me how difficult it is for salespeople to adapt to a reality without in-person meetings and face-to-face contact with clients.
There are many factors, of course, and unfortunately there’s no universal formula for dealing with the current situation. However, the new reality is forcing salespeople to adapt. Sales managers play a huge role in helping salespeople shift to phone-based or online sales. What a manager should do to make it easier for salespeople to sell remotely Here are some practical tips:
1. Above all, pay attention to salespeople’s attitudes
As a manager, you have to make salespeople understand that even though there are no face-to-face meetings, the world hasn’t stopped clients still need their solutions and products. All the more when you consider that the one who gets the client will be the one who understands their situation and can best help them. Could you imagine postponing all your employees’ meetings and sales opportunities and returning to them three months later? Perhaps, but would they then have time to meet all their clients and close all their sales? It’s not very realistic. Firstly, due to limited time, and secondly, clients have to function somehow, even now - especially now, and if your salespeople haven’t stayed in touch with them, it’s possible that the competition has already taken your place. If you find out that your clients are suspending their purchasing decisions and freezing their budgets and that there isn’t much to talk about, your team should still keep their ears to the ground and propose solutions that will ‘hold’ the client and ensure sales in the future. How can you do this without face-to-face meetings? The solution is simple - you have to switch to online meetings or teleconferences. If done right, they are as effective as a traditional meetings. There’s no room for ‘whining’. You have to act within your sphere of influence and take advantage of the opportunities and tools that are available to you. If salespeople say that online meetings don’t work, they probably won’t be able to run them well. So, in addition to working on their attitude, make sure that you provide them with the knowledge and skills to run them effectively.
2. Set clear tasks and goals
In the past, a salesperson would just get into the car, drive over to the client, and sell. They performed all their other tasks in the time ‘in between’ meetings. Today, some salespeople struggle with a lack of clear goals. Many companies are making nervous moves that are causing even more chaos. Meanwhile, salespeople need specific tasks and a clear goal to be achieved. Of course, the goal has to be adapted to the current situation - but you have to set a goal nonetheless. That’s why you have to make sure salespeople know what to do in the absence of face-to-face meetings. Though a good salesperson is by definition an independent person, you can increase their effectiveness by assigning specific tasks and providing external support. Include tasks that will promote remote contact with clients. The goal may be, for example, to conduct 5-10 phone calls with key clients each day. It’s worth taking the time to talk with each client about their current situation, any changes to their strategy, their plans for the future, and how you can help as a supplier. These conversations build lasting relationships and can help the salesperson prepare an appropriate offer adapted to the client’s current situation.