The world as we know it is changing. The existing COVID-19 pandemic is devouring everything we know as normal. As a Sales Representative, losing the human to human contact with my customers is a scary thought.
How will I build or maintain my existing relationships?
How can I ensure my customers remember me or feel supported from a far?
Sales revolve around human emotion and interaction, right? Well what now, I’m forced to work from home!!
There is an abundance of articles written around productivity and working from home but no ‘How To’ guide on building relationships from behind your keyboard.
There is no rule book to teach a salesperson how to build rapport or trust from behind a boring computer screen.
The way in which we operate our businesses and engage with our customers must change, it is the only way to survive this global crisis and hopefully, we can emerge on the other side with stronger relationships than before.
So what measures can we put in place now to ensure our success for a post-pandemic business?
Well, I’ll show you now!
First things first, some advice
The first thing as a Rep that needs to be recognised is that we may not be able to sell as we used to.
Our day to day activities have changed dramatically and social distancing laws impact how we would normally interact with our customers and conduct business.
Millions of people and businesses have lost income so we need to adapt and position ourselves as individuals to add value to our customers.
It is more important now than ever to become memorable and be recognised as a trustworthy and knowledgeable advisor.
Therefore, the key to selling whilst in quarantine is to ensure you remain at the forefront of your customers thoughts for future sales opportunities.
4 Steps that your clients will remember you for
Below are the 4 key tips I’ve been implementing during this time to ensure my customers will call on me when the pandemic is over:
1. Use mail to get personal
Surely you have plenty of marketing brochures, normally the stuff you carry around in your briefcase or bag and leave with your customer at the end of the meeting?
These physical tools are even more valuable now! Mail them to your customers with a personalised handwritten note.
Podcast, ‘The Art of Sales’ by Art Sobczac featuring Jim Domanski states that a simple, physical, handwritten note sets you apart in today’s digital world and keeps you memorable.
When was the last time someone gave you a handwritten note?
If you received one in the mail today you’d probably remember it for being unusual and out of the ordinary, right? Right!
2. Maintain communication
You MUST stay relevant, reach out to customers weekly or fortnightly via email or text to let them know you’re operational and available to support them when required.
Ask if they need any resources or further training which can be remotely delivered.
Appeal to their emotional needs too, ask how they’re doing and show them that you are there to support their businesses and teams during such unprecedented and difficult times.
This, in turn, will demonstrate your empathy and subsequently develop trusting and loyal relationships and highlight your emotional sensibilities as a person rather than as a Sales Representative.
3. Make the most of video or conference calls
Customers ALWAYS love education. Now you have all of the time in the world to give it to them.
Use self-isolation to brush up on your product knowledge and solidify it by reaching out virtually to those opportunistic customers that you didn’t quite get around to visiting before.
Offer them a video conference session to run over how to use/set up/troubleshoot your products or simply to see if they have any questions that you can address.
4. Ask for a commitment
Book in a face-to-face appointment for when it’s all over.
If you’ve been following up with your customers regularly then it would be socially acceptable to ask if they’d be interested in a meeting when the pandemic is over.
Getting your customer to commit to this in due course ensures you will have their time and attention when the social distancing rules are a thing of the past!
In summary, the plan shouldn’t be about selling your product now (people don’t have the money to spend anyway), it should be about building rapport and providing value to your customer in such tough times.
If you invest in your customers NOW, they will invest in you LATER (and possibly for a lifetime)!
It is important to accept that the world is at a standstill and we need longer term plans when trying to build or maintain relationships with customers.
You must stay relevant and current in their peripheries so when the time does come to pitch your product they know exactly who you are and what you sell.
Use this time wisely, focus on the long term game and work hard to sell yourself as a trusted advisor in order to build lasting relationships for when the pandemic is history.
How are you maintaining your relationships during the pandemic?
Comment below with your thoughts and suggestions