The sales department of many B2B companies lives from personal talks – whether at trade shows or during business appointments. But what do you do when half of Europe is in home office and social contact is prohibited? We have a few tips for successful sales in times of the coronavirus pandemic.
The sales force must be digitally equipped in 2020
Sales managers in the B2B segment use personal talks to build trusting relations to potential business customers, and they use these to inform them personally about their products. There’s a reason for this: the solutions being discussed are frequently so complex and the financial sums so high, that a high level of convincing is required, along with tailored adjustments and the skilful ability to negotiate deals – until the customer signs on the dotted line.
But this tactic is not a successful one in the spring sales season of 2020. Trade shows are being cancelled one after the other or postponed, and most contact persons from the procurement and other specialist departments are now working in home office. Sales, too, is now working from home and must re-organise itself while leveraging new ways to contact customers.
Successful sales while working from home: how that works
Jil Bovelette is Head of Regional Sales Region South for Visable and one of our most experienced sales professionals. On her Instagram channel, she reports about the everyday working life of sales force staff and her personal barriers and solutions. In one video (in German language), she reveals her tips for all sales managers who are currently making sales happen from their home office.
Tip 1: Ensure you are structured and organised
Get up punctually every day and sit at the desk, dress up as you would for a business appointment and ensure you are well groomed – not necessarily a matter of course when working in home office. But should you be successful with a motivated and efficient working day, and with a convincing charisma that has a positive impact on the customer, this is an important first step.
Tip 2: Use video calls – they work!
A personal talk on-site cannot be replaced, but the best substitute at the moment is video calls. With video meeting tools like zoom or Skype, sales managers can talk to their business customers much more personally than is possible with a conventional telephone call or even email.
Tip 3: Be aware of opportunities
Without a doubt, these are uncertain and unprecedented times – both in our social lives and in the business environment. This makes sales not particularly easy. But be aware: uncertain times give sellers of innovative and truly effective solutions the chance to grab attention and to convince business partners of what they have on offer. Face this challenge!
Tip 4: Approach customers now
Do you think now is not the right time to approach potential customers? Think again! Especially now is when companies are thinking twice about who they give their money to. Precisely now is when buyers and other decision-makers in a company should and want to be advised and convinced of solutions. After all, new needs are arising. In a snap poll conducted by Visable, 28 per cent of medium-sized enterprises asked said they are suffering due to procurement problems on account of the coronavirus.
What’s more: in times of the coronavirus overload and of childminding while in home office, the one buyer or another is happy for the distraction and the professional dialogue with you.
Sales in the spring of crisis: take advantage of opportunities
In these uncertain times, one thing is certain: you have to be creative and rethink – especially in careers which are based on personal contact like sales and the sales force. But if you have a strong product, a proactive vein running through you and an open-minded attitude towards digital communication solutions, you have the chance to successfully withstand the coming months – and even grow from it as well as adopt new sales channels.