Virtual work is tough. It’s not something many of us (if any) of us have perfectly mastered yet it will likely continue to be a big part of our lives.
For now, salespeople are forgoing in-person formal meetings, networking events, and even casual chats over coffee with a client. Virtual work has now changed that dynamic. Despite the changes taking place in the world, reps still need to build rapport, trust and strong relationships despite the lack of being face-to-face.
“Covid-19 didn't kill the business lunch–it just pushed it online,” writes Burt Helm for Inc. You can still wine and dine, engage and entertain, but you just have to adjust your methods to the virtual work world. It’s up to reps to tap into their innovation and imagination to come up with ways to reach out to prospects and clients via a screen. Virtual work doesn’t have to mean lack of rapport.
For inspiration, Helm looked to Inc. 5000 companies and how they are still engaging despite challenges. Helm shares their ideas, which can help reps shift their mindset in regard to outreach. Salespeople can take these ideas and put their own spin on them, personalizing them for their own company, as well as their prospects and clients. While his examples come from large companies, small ones can as easily adapt these ideas to fit their own budgets and needs.
Virtual work and relationships
One suggestion Helm makes is to send out a little something for meetings that the client or prospect receives in advance. When you plan a Zoom session, set aside time to ship out something to them that can enhance the meeting. Adding this element of fun to a virtual work meeting can achieve many things. It gives you the opportunity to draw on your knowledge of the person to know what to send.
Do they enjoy coffee? Ship out a local blend for a morning meeting you have planned. Do you have clients with whom you sometimes meet for a casual happy hour? Find a local winery near the person and have a bottle delivered for your next post-work Zoom chat. Have a lunch meeting scheduled? Have a favorite food delivered to both of you so you can enjoy it together over a distant lunch. Little touches like these make your outreaches feel a little more like an actual pre-pandemic get-together than a basic video call.
In addition to adding a bit of fun, a personal touch like this makes virtual work meetings even more valuable because they also showcase two things. One is that you have taken the time to really get to know them and what they like, and you’ve retained that information. It shows that you aren’t just a salesperson; you are someone who has taken the time to get to know them as more than just a prospect or client. And two, sending along a little something shows genuine thought and care, and right now, empathy is so important.
This is just one example of how to make virtual work meetings “work” for you during times when meeting in person just isn’t possible. Empower yourself with these ideas (and others SalesFuel has posted about) and get creative by adapting them to your own prospects and clients. Even though you’re working virtually, your outreaches with prospects and clients can still be engaging and meaningful.