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One of the negative outcomes of the pandemic was the shift from meeting with your clients in real life to virtual. It can be difficult to remember to look into the camera instead of the decision maker’s face on your laptop screen. It’s just another way sales is broken.

It seems both salespeople and clients have consented to virtual selling. Many believe it to be efficient, even if it isn’t nearly as effective as a face-to-face sales call. In human relationships it is better to prioritize effectiveness instead of efficiency.

Effective selling relies on creating value, proving you are different, and caring. These are all reasons to meet with your prospective clients and your existing clients face-to-face. There are obstacles and hurdles to overcome to visit your contacts at their office. You must drive or fly to their location, taking time away from other important tasks you still need to address. After your meeting, you must return to your office, or more likely now, your home office. There is a lot of friction in this process that doesn’t exist with a virtual sales call, but putting in the effort gives you an edge. These barriers prevent salespeople from stepping out from behind a screen, but they don’t have to prevent you from doing so.

In the middle of the pandemic, I visited a large client. My client reminded me it was unnecessary to visit him, noting I was the only one who did. It never hurts to be a category of one in sales scenarios.

When you put forth effort others avoid, you gain an advantage over your competition when it comes to caring. Caring is one superpower of sales strategies. (See Chapter Three in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need).

The Problem with Transactional Selling

When sales organizations reduce the B2B sales process to a transactional interaction buyers start to get treated as a commodity by your prospective customers. Buyers like virtual because it generally ends up taking less time. You should play for more time, not less time, as you don’t get enough time as it is. You can ask about the client’s pain points, offer to solve their problems, and pitch your products or services. What you might think is a successful virtual sales call feels nothing close to a face-to-face meeting with clients (even if some of you pretend otherwise).

We own our tools and technology until they end up owning us. Your smartphone is less than 12 inches away from you and should it go missing, you would immediately seek it out. Next time you go to dinner, look around at the top of the heads of people scrolling. You might be one of them. The problem is that this distances you from the people around you. A conversation through a screen doesn’t carry the same weight or significance.

You need not eliminate using value-creation strategies and settle for something less than your best sales conversation. Your prospective clients deserve the improved experience that comes only when you use the sales conversation to create value. Effective selling can come from doing what others will not do.


The Advantages of the Face-to-Face Meeting

There are several positive outcomes in face-to-face sales calls that are much more difficult to achieve in a virtual sales call. For example, when you visit someone at their workplace, you learn more about them than what you can learn from a Zoom meeting. The transactional nature of a virtual meeting makes it difficult to build rapport and a real relationship. Can you imagine not building rapport and having no relationship?

The laziest of our sisters and brothers who avoid meeting face-to-face choose to cede a strategic advantage to competitors who will visit the client. Remember: You are competing for the client’s business, and the stakes are high, especially in the pursuit of large targets.

The salesperson who shows up in person will likely be given a tour, be introduced to other people, and get more time with buyers and decision-makers. You’ll also learn a lot more about your contacts and their business, what they want, what they need, and how you can help them. In a face-to-face sales call, you will learn what your competitors can’t possibly discern by looking through the tiny lens of the laptop camera.

What is communicated through words and body language allows salespeople to understand something they would otherwise miss. It’s hard to catch nuance when you are miles away sitting in front of the screens that dominate our time and attention.

You want to maximize in-person sales opportunities. For one, your sales skills and your sales strategies are more effective. Your interpersonal skills seem duller in virtual meetings, lessening your ability to communicate and build relationships. It’s much easier to overcome objections during a face-to-face sales call.

Face-to-Face Sales Calls Are Effective

None of us would have consented to virtual selling if the pandemic hadn’t happened. Without that event, we’d still be selling in a way that is more effective and allows us to build rapport and relationships. All the outcomes you need in sales are better pursued face-to-face.

As sales continues to be pulled in two directions, some interactions are becoming more transactional, while others are becoming more consultative. To increase your sales effectiveness and win more deals, be consultative. Book first meetings with your dream clients. While you are filling your calendar with meetings, add your existing clients and prioritize the clients that have seen you in real life for months or years.

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Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 16, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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