Bring back the face-to-face sales rep

Posted by Jackie Russell

Could it be the heartbeat of social media is fluttering and its lifespan for business communication looks threatened, particularly in Western countries?  

The overlooked function of face-to-face sales calls that fell victim to digital marketing, online sales and social media campaigns, could be in for a resurgence.

Our primal need for real contact with real living beings, may be the solution to increase sales and long-term business growth.

I can hear the protests now.

“Who has time to sit round chatting with a sales rep?”

“What will it cost to put a sales force on the road?”

“We can send out hundreds of emails with a few clicks and reach so many more people.”

However, have you ever poured mountains of resources into emails, web content, social media campaigns and come up with zip, nadda, zilch…. absolutely nothing?

And, when you meet with people and ask them if they heard about your promotion, campaign or business idea you are met with a blank stare.

Don’t worry – the irony of me sending this out into the ether via email and Chatterbox PR's website isn’t lost on me.

Build a business relationship with your clients

The time is right to support your marketing and communication strategy with grassroots, in-your-face connections.

There isn’t a get rich quick scheme that will deliver results as quickly as hard work, grit and tenacity.

Leave your desk for a day and knock on the door of old clients, prospective new clients and great current clients and see what you can achieve.

Of course, you need a plan and something that builds your connection with them.

  • What are you going to offer them? Do you have a new product, added value, discount or even a branded item you are ‘just popping in to deliver’ to them?  
  • What does your marketing collateral look like?
  • What does your business card look like?
  • What does your website look like when they check you out online?

Create sales experiences at a trade expo

When you are time and resource poor, a trade expo is a brilliant and less expensive sales tool to  reach your target audience.

Your business can reach far more people in one hit and it’s highly likely you will bump into someone you know, especially in New Zealand.

Every time you have a chance to meet someone face-to-face it will have far more impact than an email that is deleted before the recipient has taken a few seconds to read your subject line.

Planning your stand at a trade expo is essential and you need to be confident, have something quirky to gain attention and in New Zealand, have a non-sales pitch that doesn’t frighten people.

Create a game, be prepared to move around and get out from behind the trestle table and ask people lots of questions.

Get people talking about themselves and you’ll start to build a business relationship with them.

Prompt sales follow up with your customers

Develop a strategy to quickly re-connect with people you met during sales calls, and make sure it is something that is worth their while.

  • Make a time for a face-to-face meeting
  • Phone them
  • Email them
  • Tag them in a post on your Facebook page
  • Consider connecting them with someone else who might useful for them

More than anything, you MUST be genuine and sincere. Yes – I am shouting this because it is essential for your business’s reputation.

We are all over-exposed to the international call centre pitch, “Hi how’s your day going Jackie?”

Good grief – really? You really care how my day is going all the way from your crowded call centre in the far reaches of a developing nation. I think not.

Stay in touch to build a long-term business connection

In New Zealand, sales are frequently gained via mates of a mate and to be a good mate – you need to stay in touch.

Persistence without being painful will go a long way to developing your long-term client base.

  • Send them a Christmas card
  • Invite them to an event
  • Attend an event they are hosting
  • Pop in to let them know about a new something-or-other.
  • Send them anything that isn’t digital that they must open.

At Chatterbox PR we believe marketing and communications are essential for every business, and we also believe for a business to be successful, human contact with a good sales rep is equally essential.

It is all about doing something different, which is often re-inventing something that everyone else has forgotten about. That could just be the good old sales rep.