Insist on face-to-face sales meeting. At the meeting, dialogue, listen, take notes. Get to the nub of the issue. Then consensually agree on way forward. After all, even in a pandemic, we are still social creatures. This piece of advice should be Holy Grail for two sellers. The business to business (B2B) one for whom the sale is dependent on a decision making unit. And secondly, those selling big ticket items. like wealth management products, a house or car for instance.
Why ask for a face-to-face sales meeting?
To begin with, however, when a potential customer makes an email enquiry, say asking for your profile, by all means send it. In any case, it should be in the public domain and likely already is. When another email comes asking for quotations of some of your products or services, pause. What exactly are you quoting for?
‘Duh!’, you say. ‘What they asked for.’ And right there is a problem. Why? Because if you are a doctor you would be prescribing medicine to a patient that has just emailed you saying, “I have this pain on my left side.” Anyone experienced in selling will tell you that customers don’t know what they want. You are safer going with that mind-set than the all too often misguided belief that they do. Customers know their symptoms and very rarely its root cause. Therefore, you will likely be quoting to address a symptom.
People-centred Service industry
Those selling services are the most susceptible to this
For instance, after sending a profile the ‘faceless’ email asks for a quote for a two days sales training. It is even sufficiently comprehensive to include the structure of the sales team and the areas the customer wishes to be addressed. Surely, what more would you want? This is an open and shut sale.
What do you do in a face-to-face client meeting?
Well, that’s until you insist on a face-to-face meeting and in ensuing discussion you discover that training wasn’t the problem. It’s their ridiculous remuneration package that’s repelling sales people. Or, it’s the suffocating micro management. You could also observe that they are nowhere near affording your services and were just harvesting quotes to store in their granary. Perhaps it wasn’t report writing skills they sought but written communication skills to improve their report writing.
These are things that they would never include in their query for a quote because they didn’t know of them, or just won’t report themselves about. There is still another response you can get as you are being seen off. And this is more likely than not to occur, “You really did a good thing coming in to see and understand us. In fact, you are the only one that did of the three companies we contacted. The others just sent a quote.” Forget that that is exactly what the customer had asked for. Now he is insinuating indifference. Which has likely cost the ‘offenders’ a potential sale.
Video conferencing and Zoom calls still have their place
Of course, this insistence on a face-to-face meeting is not always feasible or mandatory. For instance, if you are selling land to those in the diaspora, or, an email comes in asking for a technical quote; say, specific cans of paint and brushes. Or, possibly the prospect is way out of town or it’s a follow up meeting to a face-to-face one. Still, if not face to face, then squeeze for same face time, online. For the paint request, ask them to come in and see how the paint is mixed and they can create their own mix. All the same, physical face-to-face meetings still trump any other.
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