There’s no denying that the rise of technology has had a positive impact in a great many aspects of our day-to-day life. If we are researching the best product or service to buy; video calling friends, family or work colleagues; buying clothes or groceries, technology is our ‘go to’ vehicle.
There are technology solutions for all aspects of business. Specifically for sales and marketing, digital platforms have been created to support this activity and new – digital – tactics have evolved. There is no doubt business has benefited from these new digital platforms and techniques.
Nonetheless, in our increasingly digital world, face-to-face sales and marketing – the oldest form of sales and marketing – still plays a valuable role and helps brands in ways digital will never be able to. The techniques help build strong relationships with prospects and customers; enhance brand credibility; enable your team to communicate key value propositions quickly and effectively – tactics that identify pain points and drivers quickly and make brands stand out against the competition in an instant.
Many of the clients we work with are tuned into prioritising relationship-building tactics to slice through the digital noise their competitors are making and get in front of their customers.
In summary, we can all agree that consumers purchase from brands that are known and trusted. Face-to-face sales and marketing allows you to put a friendly face to a brand. The trick is to find where your community of consumers reside in the physical world – trade shows, conventions, and industry events and exhibitions are just a few – and build an environment that encourages face-to-face engagement.
Therefore, we believe face-to-face sales and marketing should be an essential component of any sales strategy. A person-to-person approach to selling enables decision-makers to emotionally connect with a brand and understand its values in a very ‘human’ way. Here are our thoughts and tips on the topic…
Understanding the connection
Most people are wired for connection with others – they want to ‘belong’; feel appreciated; be part of a community with common interest and be somewhere they can thrive. Knowing what makes someone ‘tick’ is, therefore, valuable for creating and relationship building.
Our experience tells us that, in this environment, you should hold back on the hard-selling tactics and stick to a softer approach – prioritise relationship-building. This is the space to build the foundation for a long standing relationship where advocacy is the goal – where the customers grow to love your brand and sales are just part of the journey.
“… You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that ratio. Listen twice as hard to what prospects and customers want; find common interests; empathise – put yourself in their shoes. Return ‘business’ communication positively and succinctly – get to the point quickly. Observing body language indicators to better gauge reactions along the way… ”
Trade shows, conventions, and industry events and exhibitions provide the platform to engage directly with consumers; create dialogue; answer their questions. Your team should, therefore, be armed with a wide breadth of knowledge – the industry as whole; the competitors; the brand they are representing and, therefore your brand differentiation… What makes your brand special!
To achieve this, preparation is key. Before attending, run some presentations or workshops with the team who will be working at the event – do a ‘refresher’ to instill values and set some simple objectives.
Sharing values – the quick win to earning trust and credibility
A ‘shared value’ is where a brand and consumer share a broader purpose or philosophy. For example, Continental is one of the world’s leading tyre manufacturers – but tyres only represent 27% of their total business. Their broader purpose is ‘automotive safety’. Of course, tyres play an extremely important part in ‘automotive safety’. After all, tyres are the only part of a car that touches the road and without them, a car is unable to move at all – let alone safely. But tyres are only a component of ‘automotive safety’ – and that is reflected in the Continental broader philosophy.
Shared beliefs, therefore, authenticate a brand – according to Harvard Business School, 64% of people said one of the key reasons they have a relationship with a brand is because of their shared values – the shortcut to earning trust and credibility.
Being in the physical space
And so, the scene is now set. The team is mobilised. When at the event, agree a start time for the team that is before the doors open; have an informal – but motivational – chat (with coffee…or your preferred beverage); ensure everyone knows the rota – being on your toes and at your best for long periods of time is exhausting. Don’t burn out – face-to-face selling provides the opportunity to communicate a brand’s shared values directly with prospects and customers – in a very tangible, real-life experience – and you must be on the top of your game to eliminate barriers and enable a rapport with prospects.
The takeaway from this is… face-to-face sales and marketing is challenging. Sure, we can be in lounge pants at whatever time doing ‘digital’ nurturing customers on-line. But being bright-eyed, looking your best and being face-to-face when the doors open requires a trained and motivated team that are engaging with prospects and customers in an intimate setting is a completely different skill set and expertise. But one that allows you to understand prospects and customers in the physical world and in real-time… and create a long-lasting and personal connection.