Virtual Sales Networking: Seize the Day from COVID-19, Part 2

May 08, 2020


By AMA Staff

Virtual Sales Networking: Seize the Day from COVID-19, Part 2

Continuing our look at virtual networking opportunities to increase sales, here are some additional tips for taking positive action, and expanding your sales toolkit in order to virtually grow your prospects and business:

Always have a follow-up plan ready

Try to schedule a series of two to three follow-up calls or virtual meetings per month for each existing customer or qualified lead. Ask them their preferred method of meeting, whether it’s Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Meetings, or just a phone call or text. Virtual lunches to catch up with customers are a great way to build customer rapport; you can even send them an eGift Card or local food delivery app. Whatever method you choose, it’s essential to keep your name, voice, and face in front of key customers and referral sources at least once per month. Make sure you detail a specific purpose and goal for each call. Initially, it might be to check on a customer’s satisfaction level or see if they have any questions about something they’ve bought or may buy. The second touchpoint might be to ask about their interest in doing additional business with you. The third may be to politely and unobtrusively ask them for the names of friends or relatives who might be interested in your products or services. Position your call as an earnest effort to help them fulfill a need or solve a challenge. The more you call to help them, the more willing they’ll be to help you with additional business or names of others.

Trade shows and other tools of the trade

Some trade shows are moving into virtual events, and if you can find the right ones for your field, the contacts you make through them can more quickly become profitable than with other types of networking. Also, explore trade organizations that are offering free or discounted memberships at this time. In addition, spend some time investigating tools such as LinkedIn Sales Professional Navigator and Sales Navigator Team to help you drive more leads and build trusted relationships with customers and prospects.

Keep momentum going with newsletters or postcards

Taking the time to make a personal touchpoint at a very impersonal time can be especially impactful for customers and prospects. Send monthly or quarterly e-newsletters or e-postcards (or printed postcards, which are cost effective and easy to order online and have shipped to you). These should go to all of your existing customers and anyone else in your network. Maintain an updated database of your past and existing customers, as well as the people in your network, with names, addresses, phone numbers and social media information if available. If you create a newsletter, include topics that may be of interest to your customers, or that can help your customers better utilize or enjoy the products they purchased from you. Try to create original, relevant content to keep them engaged, such as advice or tips for navigating the virtual world of doing business, particularly during times of crisis. This type of content can also be a great conversation starter on issues related to your products or services.

Physical mailings are also an effective way to keep your customers informed about any sales information or new products you are offering. If applicable to what you sell, you can include coupons and special offers for valued customers. In a time when virtual business is the norm, even a simple postcard can capture someone’s attention in ways it wouldn’t have in the past.

A great time for skill-building

Difficult times can also be an ideal opportunity to expand your skills virtually, whether in sales, communication, business writing, or anything else that relates specifically to your field. It can even be a good talking point with prospective customers or organizational leaders when comparing notes about what you did during a time of crisis.

Make the most of a uniquely challenging time, and you’ll be surprised at the dividends that come back to you.