COVID-19 & Business Interactions

Will COVID-19 change the way we conduct business in future?

The recent lockdown has had a profound effect on all of our lives and I’m sure many people’s perspectives and priorities will have changed for good when we emerge from this terrible pandemic but how will it effect the way we do business? Most people are working remotely, will this become more of the norm? How has it affected productivity and the mental wellbeing of employees? Will there be less of a requirement to conduct face to face meetings as we become accustomed to connecting with people via all of the digital platforms available to us? Well it’s certainly worth considering the following:

The Benefits of Face-to-Face Interaction in Sales
In-person meetings may occur less frequently, but that doesn’t mean they’ve become any less effective. Consider these statistics:

  • In-person requests are 34 times more successful than those made over email.
  • The close rate for in-person meetings is 40%.
  • Executives and business travellers estimate that 28% of their current business would be lost without in-person meetings.

Though virtual communication has its obvious advantages, face-to-face meetings have several unique benefits. Let’s look at a few examples:

  1. Build stronger personal connections.
    A B2B purchase decision isn’t just about the products—B2B buyers want to buy from businesses they know and trust. It’s not impossible to build strong connections through virtual communication, but face-to-face meetings are inherently more personal.By sitting down with a customer or prospect in person, you demonstrate you value their business by putting in the time and effort required for a face-to-face meeting. They’ll leave the meeting feeling like they got to know you and your company as people—which rarely happens in an online conversation. It’s no wonder nearly 100% of people say in-person meetings are essential for long-term business relationships!
  2. Avoid miscommunication and technical difficulties.
    Technology may provide increased efficiency, but it leaves room for error throughout the sales process. How many times has a customer missed a crucial detail on a phone call, or had a connection issue derail an important conversation?In-person meetings remove many barriers between B2B sales representatives and their customers. The sales rep has the customer’s undivided attention and can communicate information clearly and thoroughly—without interruption.
  3. Present your product in person.
    The most effective way to sell someone on your product is to put the product in front of them and let them interact with it. Product demos and free trials show prospects exactly what your product does and how it can alleviate their pain points. But, conducting a product demo via phone call or Skype session doesn’t compare to the benefits of a live demo.When you give a remote sales presentation, you can’t always gauge a prospect’s true reactions—consider how often you mute your own phone during meetings or give a colleague a look of confusion. In person, these small interchanges are more noticeable—allowing you to address any hurdles as they arise.

Key Takeaways About Face-to-Face Meetings in Sales
Innovative technology is by no means a bad thing—sales professionals should continue to embrace the many different ways they can interact with prospects and customers. But, it’s still important to recognise when it’s time to set aside the phone calls and video chats.

As the old saying goes, people buy from people. An in-person meeting might not always be the most convenient option, but the extra effort is often worth it.

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