Sauga 960 Series – Returning To Sales Work (Almost) Full Strength

In our continuing Sauga 960 radio interview series, we tackle sales strategy and tactics as life gets back to (somewhat) normal!

Your Business, presented by David Wojcik, understands business. As the CEO/President of the Mississauga Board of Trade, he focuses on current commercial issues and how they affect entrepreneurs and key executives. 

Listen here:

 

 

David Wojcik:

Salespeople have been struggling to meet targets during the COVID crisis. Working over the phone and virtual meetings has been a challenge for those not familiar with the technology. What should salespeople be doing now? How can you get a prospect’s attention during a crisis? And when is the right time to ask for that face-to-face meeting? To help us with the conversation is sales guru, Linda Kern. Linda is the President of The Kern Group, providing a sales growth process and unique tools for driving sales results, powering both sales managers and sales representatives to succeed. Linda ensures both parties are listened to, understood, and aligned to meet their objectives. Welcome, Linda.

 

Linda Kern:

Thank you, David.

 

David Wojcik, Sauga 360

David Wojcik:

So Linda, we’re almost getting back to some sense of what things used to be like with respect to sales. People are receptive to calls, are starting to return calls, maybe even they’re accepting calls. What are you hearing?

 

Linda Kern:

What I’m experiencing now as companies start going back into the office, people are getting a little bit back to normal. It’s a completely new normal, but there’s some movement towards going back to what we used to do. So I’m hearing people are being receptive to calls now, responding to emails now. That’s what I’m seeing.

 

David Wojcik:

So what should salespeople be doing now? I mean, we would hope that they would always be making the phone calls all the way through the crisis, whether it’s … We talked about this before, touching base, providing information, being there as a resource, but what should they be doing now?

 

Linda Kern:

Well, some of what I’m going to say is really dependent on the business that you’re in. So I’ll speak to the middle, if you will. Salespeople and those of you that lead salespeople should ensure that your salespeople are as fully back up to normal activity as makes sense for your business. So you have to ensure some sensitivities to the businesses that have been impacted. Retail restaurants, they’re not fully back yet. So it depends on who you call on. But because I’m sensing and experiencing myself, people being receptive to calls and emails, I think we can get pretty much back up to normal.

 

David Wojcik:

And are we talking normal with respect to in-person meetings? Or are we still looking at a virtual meeting or a phone call?

 

Linda Kern:

Yeah. Great question. So not seeing too much in the way of face-to-face meetings at this point in time. In fact, one of my clients is not letting their people out into the world at all, to have any face-to-face meetings. And again, for everybody’s safety. It’s more about the activity that goes on in the office that I’m thinking about. So what is the activity that you as a salesperson or your sales team should be doing on a weekly basis that will lead to success? Being really crystal clear about that. I talk about that a lot and I really can’t emphasize it enough. What are the steps your salespeople should be doing that lead to a sale? When they get a meeting, it’s still a Zoom meeting. If it normally would have been a face-to-face meeting, it’s a Zoom meeting. And that’s a whole another topic on being compelling on a Zoom meeting.

 

David Wojcik:

What do salespeople do differently now to get that meeting? Because when it was a face-to-face meeting, maybe it was easier, maybe it wasn’t easier. But what do salespeople need to do differently now to get that telephone or Zoom meeting?

 

Linda Kern, The Kern Group Inc.

Linda Kern:

I’m pretty much doing the same thing I’ve always done. I am reaching out by email, I’m following up with a phone call voicemail. Getting the meeting is still fairly, fairly much the same. And what I’m hearing is … Although I think this’ll change weekly, is people are actually answering their phone because most of the time or a lot of the time, their office number has been forwarded to their cellphone. So I’m finding that the prospecting piece, just getting the meeting is pretty much the same. Email, voicemail, LinkedIn request. You can even send out a little note card as a way to catch people’s attention because the mail is being forwarded. So the prospecting itself is fairly similar. I’d say the differences come in what you’re requesting. You’re requesting perhaps a phone call first. And then after that initial phone call, depending on your sales process, then the next step would have normally been a face-to-face meeting. You might be able to convert that into a Zoom meeting depending on your company policies and your prospect’s policies.

 

David Wojcik:

Lots of different types of ways to conduct the virtual meeting, whether using Zoom, or RingCentral, or GoToMeeting, or Teams, or whatever protocol you’re using. Is the meeting different? How do you prepare for it? How do you present it? What are the do’s and don’ts when you’re conducting a virtual meeting?

 

Linda Kern:

I’d say the first do is if you would normally have as your first face-to-face meeting a 90 minute meeting, if you were lucky enough to get that kind of time with a prospect, I would cut that back to one hour. That’s something that I have done. I find that those virtual meetings are one hour. I prepare the same and I conduct it the same. One thing I would recommend people do is … because I did this myself last week, is take, take that … What are the best practices in conducting Zoom sales calls? There was a webinar I attended by some neuroscientists and they talked about the distraction that happens on Zoom. So I definitely encourage cameras, it’s less distracted with a camera. But the fellow I just go off the Zoom call with just now, he was distracted. I actually made a note of it in my notes that I was taking. So you are distracted. You’re distracted by sounds around you, you’re distracted by things that may be popping up on their screen. So definitely use the camera.

 

Linda Kern:

The other thing that I learned that stuck with me was the first thing that you say, and the last thing that you say are what people will remember most. So be very crisp and clear on your opening and be very crisp and clear at the end of the meeting. Those are the things that will stay and resonate.

 

David Wojcik:

I would imagine the distraction part goes for the person who’s conducting the meeting as well. They need to have the things around them put away so that they’re not distracted and develop a Squirrel Syndrome.

 

Linda Kern:

100%. It’s a really great point. Close your internet down, close your email down. Anything that would at all remind you or pop up on your screen to distract you, close it all down. That’s 100% true. We are too getting distracted. The other thing I’m noticing at certain times of the day is Zoom is … Because my connection has been great up until about the last couple of weeks. So closing all those things down, including taking your … If you’re using your computer, take your phone off of WiFi, take everything as many things as you can off of WiFi in your home, and that will stabilize and give you a little bit more bandwidth. But all of those things come into play. You’ve got to really button it down when it comes to these Zoom meetings or these virtual meetings.

 

David Wojcik:

One thing that I’ve noticed about the virtual meetings is people are getting very casual in their dress. And I’m not talking about whether they’re wearing pants or no pants, I’m talking about from what’s visible on the screen and on the camera. Is it okay to be that casual? I mean, we’re not talking about tank tops or things like that. But I noticed people are wearing T-shirts. And golf shirts are usually acceptable this time of year. But are you finding the people are getting more casual? Is that okay? Or as a salesperson, should just still dress like you would normally dress for any other type of meeting?

 

Linda Kern:

Oh, I’m 100% for dressing the way you would normally dress. My guidelines around that, however, are … even in the face-to-face world are dress how you expect your prospect to be dressed. So in other words, if it’s a manufacturing facility and you perhaps you’re meeting somebody who’s on the floor and in the back kind of thing, you want to dress according to that person. Now, not … You want to be, I always say, one notch above. On Zoom, I think the same thing holds. I mean, when I’m on a virtual meeting and I’m a presenter, I’m a speaker, I will have a business attire waist up. If I’m on a Zoom meeting where I’m just observing, I’m in a company meeting or something like that, I might be a little more casual. But never am I in a T-shirt, I’m always in a dress shirt, like a blouse or something like that as a woman. But a man should be in a dress shirt. Because people are constantly, even virtually, we’re assessing each other.

 

Linda Kern:

And decision makers are looking for people they can trust, people who are authentic, and genuine, professional. And all of that goes to that.

 

David Wojcik:

Well, I would imagine that with the Zoom meetings, it is a little bit easier to make those quick changes than … I mean, say, if you’re meeting a CEO at one point in time, and then you’re meeting a supervisor on the floor, or a manager on the floor of a plant in the next meeting, you can do those quick changes. Linda, thanks so much for being with us today. We’ve been talking with Linda Kern, she’s the President of The Kern Group. Linda, thanks so much for being with us.

 

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