Is Face-to-Face Selling History?

Written by Posted On Friday, 11 February 2022 00:00

Many companies in the past two years have realized great economies by taking their salespeople off the road and putting them on Zoom and Webinars to do their selling. The big question is “Can they do this without suffering sizable revenue declines?”

Most agree that industries of all stripes have learned how to meet, communicate and sell via an electronic medium of some sort. Some have even realized substantial efficiencies in doing so, but many believe that there is no substitute for pressing the flesh and looking into the eyes of one’s prospects from across the desk.

In the past three years or so, I’ve been increasingly teaching the skills of becoming a trusted advisor. Almost all tactical aspects of this effort are better done in person rather than through electronic communications. For example, here are some of my recommendations for gaining trusted advisor status. Think about each of them and ask yourself, could that better be accomplished in person…

  1. Sincerely Make your prospect’s problem your problem, and brainstorm creative solutions.

  2. Manage your prospect’s stress by making the difficult easy and the complex simple.

  3. Magnify the credibility of your promises with exceptional service and solid evidence.

Some things in business can simply be better achieved in person. This writer believes we can shorten sales cycles and gain customer loyalty more effectively in person.

One of my favorite questions to ask sales professionals is “Tell me, how are your solutions and deliverables superior to or different from those of your competitors?” You would be amazed to know what percentage of salespeople’s initial response is something like “Well, uh…”. So many hardly have a clue. This is disastrous in today’s ultra-competitive environment. We need to be working with the collective intellect of those in each of our companies to discover, formulate and articulate the means and methods by which we are distinctive! Not to do so is representative of our making a decision to reside in a massive vat with everyone else. Sameness is not a good strategy for differentiation!

I’m convinced that if the majority of our competitors are selling electronically, we have a differentiated advantage selling face-to-face.

Most would agree that the quality of communications is compromised to some degree when we resort to electronic communications. Interpersonal relationships are best nurtured and advanced in-person, as we appeal to more of the human senses and find it easier to formulate agreements. Many experts believe that people have more of a tendency to be themselves in person than when on a call of some type. Also, they are more likely to bring up peripheral “sidebar points” when in person. These elaborations can add measurably to the depth and authenticity of a personal relationship.

In fairness to the topic at hand, I’ll share one advantage to selling via Zoom. On occasion we will ask a prospect about including someone else in a meeting only to get to their office and find that the other person was tied up and unable to attend. If it had been a scheduled Zoom call that the other person accepted an invitation to attend a week earlier, they are more likely to show up. They will presumably schedule things around a formerly agreed to commitment. It’s easier to be less committed to a verbal invitation.

But I want to advance the proposition that face-to-face selling is preferable. I also think it is easier to ask a commitment question and get a positive respone in person than it is on Zoom.

Consider your options carefully, and go to market with every advantage you can give yourself. Good selling!

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Don Hutson

After graduation from the University of Memphis, with a major in Sales and a minor in Real Estate, he was #1 salesman in a national organization. He then established his own training firm and shortly thereafter was in demand as a professional speaker.

Since then Don has addressed over half of the Fortune 500 Companies and is featured in over 100 training films. He is Chairman & CEO of U. S. Learning and makes some 50 speaking appearances per year. Perhaps you have seen him on national television where he has been featured on ABC, PBS, TPN and Fox News.

Don is the author of SELLING VALUE, and co-author of the #1 Best Sellers, THE ONE MINUTE ENTREPRENEUR (with Dr. Ken Blanchard) and THE ONE MINUTE NEGOTIATOR (with Dr. George Lucas). He has also authored or co-authored eleven other books.

Don was elected by his peers to the presidency of the National Speakers Association, and has received its prestigious Cavett Award, as member of the year. He has also been honored with NSA's Speakers Hall of Fame Award, and is a recipient their Master of Influence Award along with such notables as Depok Chopra, Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. He is also a member of Speakers Roundtable.

He has addressed over 750 Realtor audiences including the National Association of Realtors on multiple occasions, as well as many prominent real estate companies.

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