As the world inches back to normal following the Covid-19 pandemic, you’ll be sure to feel a lot of emotions: joy, relief, excitement to get back to some semblance of regular life.
If you’re a salesperson, though, one emotion you might not have expected — and one you might already be feeling — is uneasiness.
That’s because you’ll be entering a business world that’ll look similar to the one you worked in pre-pandemic, but will still be markedly changed by the aftereffects of Covid-19. Keep these three tips in mind as you return to the “old” normal, with a few traces of the “new” normal left behind.
Don’t dump Zoom just yet
Ask Google the simple question “Are virtual meetings here to stay?” and you’ll get a resounding and definitive answer: yup.
Despite widespread gripes about “Zoom fatigue” and even scientific studies into the psychological downsides of virtual meetings, experts say that the practice — as draining as it can be to some — likely isn’t going anywhere, even once Covid-19 is completely in the rear view mirror. Companies are already realizing that in-person meetings are often time-consuming and financially taxing; Forbes projects that
“In the post-pandemic world, businesses and academic institutions will favor cost-effective hybrid and virtual workspaces over traditional face-to-face and physical work places.”
So if you haven’t already, consider implementing a few basic tips for Zooming effectively: Create a dedicated physical space for virtual meetings. Invest in a decent microphone and lighting setup. Use greenscreens and virtual backgrounds to lighten the mood when necessary.
Sure, the meetings won’t be as frequent as they once were, and you’ll (hopefully) be able to interact with coworkers in person rather than only seeing them in tiny boxes on a computer screen. But it’s worth bearing in mind that Zoom might still take up a decent chunk of your workday, whether you like it or not.
Prioritize digital-first approaches
Similarly, a decrease in in-person meetings means a decrease in in-person sales. According to Domo,
“[s]ince COVID-19, digital enabled sales interactions are now seen as twice as important as traditional sales interactions: 66% of respondents rated digital-enabled interactions as most important to their customers compared with 34% for traditional sales interactions.”
So in addition to Zoom, double down on your other digital avenues for sales success.
With that in mind, consider the differences between selling in person and selling digitally. The attention span of people in virtual meetings is much lower than that of physical meetings. Give customers all the relevant info, but don’t overload them. Keep it light and energetic. And it helps to give your audience a road map of the things you plan on discussing beforehand, so they always have an idea of where you’re headed next.
Finally, have a backup plan! We’ve all been the person who forgot to unmute ourselves before speaking up, or had to repeat ourselves after our internet connection garbled what we were trying to say. Let’s say you’re giving a presentation with another colleague; have a game plan in place where if one of you drops out temporarily or encounters any other digital snafu, the other can pick up where you left off and cover for you. More than ever in the digital world, teamwork and planning are crucial to sales success.
Be flexible — realize that customer’s needs might have changed
Covid-19 was a look-in-the-mirror moment for everyone. New problems arose, policies changed, priorities were shifted. As a salesperson, your job is to figure out if and how your customer’s needs might have changed, and work to help them as best you can.
Maybe the industry you’re selling to is still struggling to get back on its feet. Maybe it had to undergo massive change just to make it to the other side. Maybe — perhaps most unexpectedly of all — it carried on or even thrived throughout the pandemic, but is now unsure how to proceed in the aftermath. In each case, the key is to listen, learn and find a solution that’s beneficial for you and the customer.
Take restaurants, for example, which saw a huge uptick in delivery and to-go orders during Covid-19. According to the National Restaurant Association, 53% of adults say purchasing takeout or delivery food is now “essential to the way they live,” and 68% of customers say they are more likely to purchase takeout or delivery food than they were before the pandemic.
That’s a huge shift, one you’d definitely want to take into account if you’re selling to that industry. Our “Sales Advantage Series” has helpful tips on how to listen and think critically to boost your consultative sales skills. Above all, if you’re continuing to implement digital-first approaches and adapting to your customer’s changing wants and needs, you’re on the right track for success in a post-Covid world.