By Charles Brennan Jr.
Things are starting to open up and the idea of face-to-face sales calls and meetings are being scheduled. Are things potentially getting back to what was once called normal?
But we now know, normal is not going to be the same. Normal will be different. Different in several ways. As the advent of face-to-face interactions are considered, it should be reflected, can one leverage this opportunity as things transition from what they were before to what they will be?
In an informal survey of managers and sales professionals, the shift is occurring from virtual sales calls and meetings back to face to face. Percentages are ranging from 90% virtual, 10% live to a slowly evolving 70% virtual to 30% live. In some cases, the numbers are 60% virtual and 40% live. It indicates the shift is occurring, but the predominance of interactions in the short term will still be virtual.
With the shift occurring, can an advantage be gained? Can the salesperson dictate the balance? Can you influence the number of face-to-face calls versus virtual?
Managing the appointment process and the opening of the conversations are more important than ever. As a matter of fact, they are now essential. This is because a growing number of clients, customers or individuals have a receptivity to getting back to face to face.
According to a recent study in the pharmaceutical industry, 44% of healthcare professionals said face-to-face sales visits are their preferred option if it is beneficial, safe and permitted. If these three criteria are available, it is now recommended to dictate the venue of the call that best suits your skill set.
Keep in mind, your customer could still choose virtual, even if this is not your preference or strength. Recently it was determined that 24% of HCPs would still select virtual meetings once things open up. That suggests, there could be at least 32% of the customer population that can be influenced one way or the other. This could be the target group that can provide the most growth.
Strike the Balance
Are you better face to face or virtual? Whichever is your strength, request your preference. When making your request, seek a combination of virtual and face-to-face meetings. If you are better suited for face to face, your request should be overweighed toward more face to face then virtual.
Determine the effective balance that works for both parties. The ask would indicate a series of conversations over the upcoming weeks or months that will review the topics that are most relevant to the individual you are scheduling the meeting with.
Determine the number of calls, sequence of face to face and virtual and the topics of discussion that would be required to initiate and complete the task. Simply stating your desire to have a series of face-to-face
interactions, intermingled with a few virtual conversations, can be the pattern that would give you an advantage.
Strategically, thought needs to occur as to how this choreography plays out.
- Is it two face-to-face meetings followed by a virtual conversation?
- What is the timing, (how often)?
- What is the duration, (how long are the conversations)?
- What is the call to action (request) at the end of each interaction?
These elements should be determined as part of your pregame plan. These elements need to be stated at the beginning of each conversation to seek buy in and understanding of the path you are taking. Consideration can even be given to stating these desires while scheduling your first appointment, alluding to the individual you are seeking the appointment with that this will be the first of a series of conversations that will occur.
As the business world opens, burst through the doors on your terms. Try to set the ground rules that would best suit the outcomes you are looking to achieve. Place the balance in your favor.
Gaining acceptance by some of your customers to this request will provide you with an advantage over those you are competing against.
Charles Brennan Jr. is president of Brennan Sales Institute and author of Rake Your Sales to the Next Level. Email Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org.