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Selling for a Meeting vs. Selling on the Phone

In this COVID challenged world, we are faced with some significant obstacles when it comes to trying to break into and develop new clients. Pre-COVID, we called, emailed, or otherwise networked with prospects or clients to set face-to-face meetings. No real selling, just enough to gain an opportunity to meet and speak in-person – where the real selling began.

In the current work-from-home environment, face-to-face meetings (i.e. coffee or lunches) are few and far between and will likely remain that way for the remainder of the year (and possibly beyond). Even when people do begin to return to the office, visitors will not be readily welcomed while the efforts to control the spread and protect employees continues.

That leaves sales people in an unfamiliar and even more resistant world. Expanding our selling efforts within existing clients is challenging enough. But breaking into brand new prospects will take some different tactics including a bit more homework. Since we will need to get a prospective client to engage in a more detailed conversation, the usual banter about who we are or how long we have been in business, etc., will only serve to expedite the impending “hang up”. So what will catch a prospect's attention? What can we say that will cause them to pause or pique their curiosity long enough for us to provide evidence of our uniqueness? That all depends upon what we learn from our research or what we know to be a distinct advantage of our offering.

One tip that all sales people should do with their prospective contacts is to “google” their name to find out where they might have contributed a blog or a whitepaper, or participated in a networking group. Anything that gives us the opportunity to lead with an opening statement such as “I read your blog on the challenges of managing a remote workforce and was particularly interested in your thoughts about…

How we handle the inevitable rejections of “not interested” or “send me your information” or “we are happy with the current vendors” will also be the difference between extending the chance to be a new vendor or being hung-up on. Bottom line: sales efforts must evolve with the times.

The TechServe Sales & Recruiting Management Program utilizes highly skilled sales managers to help sales representatives deal with and overcome these challenges in an effort to drive new business. The COVID-19 dilemma is forcing us to adjust how we sell. The seasoned veterans of the TechServe S&RMP team are there to coach and guide your people to drive better results. For more information about the program, call or email for a more in-depth conversation.

Rick Carlson
Sales & Recruiting Management Program Director
TechServe Alliance