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Keeping Your Customers Engaged When You Can’t be Face-to-Face

Published: 19th March 2019
by: Glenn Hewson

Sales for the most part, has always been a one-to-one activity. We speak on the phone, and communicate over SMS and email, but we earn our money by building relationships on a face-to-face basis. Why? Because people buy from people they like.

So, what can you do to keep your prospects and customers engaged when you can’t meet on a face-to-face basis either on an individual or company level? Fortunately, high tech companies, in an effort to increase sales volumes and keep costs down have implemented technologies and techniques to sell and support remotely that we can learn from.

Communicate with your customers

Like me, and the rest of my company, you are probably now finding yourself working from home. This means your customers are probably wondering how you are going to continue to serve them.  As soon as possible, you need to put out a communication in which you:

  • Acknowledge the situation
  • Tell them what you are doing about it (i.e communicating/trading primarily over electronic means)
  • That otherwise, it is business as usual
  • And finally: you are here for your customers and welcome any questions

If you are a storefront, not being able to trade face to face offers additional challenges. Consider communicating that although the stores may be closed, your eCommerce site is operating normally, and that inventory is up to date. You can also consider adding click and collect and home delivery.

Use online collaboration tools

There is a plethora of basically free online conferencing tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and Skype from which to host virtual meetings and conferences. Most support text messaging, audio, video and screensharing while others include whiteboarding and other collaboration tools. Use these tools instead of face-to-face sales calls and larger meetings such as webinars. These tools work great internally as well. Our company is using Skype for our morning stand-ups and for meetings and quick chats throughout the day.

For companies who use lots of paper (you know who you are), consider scanning documents and sharing electronically using tools like Google Docs, SharePoint or Dropbox. These tools are also useful for storing your online documents and facilitating collaboration from ideation to final editing. Most will tie into your CRM so that information can be accessed from the customer record.

For customer signatures consider adopting online e-sign tools like DocuSign, PandaDoc and Adobe sign.  E-signatures are legally binding  and these tools almost always include built-in workflows to streamline the process of routing documents. 

Use your on-line presence to drive business

Your website should now become your competitive weapon for attracting new business and repeat sales. Take time to make more than a passing review of it’s content and look and feel. Update descriptions and pictures of products and services where necessary. 

Re-evaluate your eCommerce strategy. Maybe your website is currently an online brochure, but you probably could sell and deliver your products and services from it. You’ll need professionals to help you make this happen and one of the considerations is to make sure inventory is kept up-to-date online by tying in with your company’s stock control and order management systems.

If you are already selling online, consider implementing chat. This is easily done and 56% of people prefer to converse online via chat rather than making or receiving calls and 63% prefer to go back to websites that offer chat for their repeat purchases. 

Also consider expanding your presence to online marketplaces. Many eCommerce solutions such as our own already support sites like Amazon and eBay, but there are many other specialty marketplaces available as well, possibly for your own industry.

Put together a marketing plan to drive your online business

Start to drive customers to your site through mail campaigns from your CRM.  Consider hosting webinars that offer timely information about how your company’s offerings can help in this unprecedented situation. You’ll probably find a very interested audience.  

Also revive that newsletter if you have one.  Talk about tips and tricks, customer successes, new products and features and special offers. Once started don’t forget to keep it going. 

Speaking of special offers, create drip campaigns that upsell to your current customers. Manage it in your CRM to measure trends and tailor offers. 

Help with the way forward

If you want to ask me more about any of these solutions and how you might implement, I’m happy to offer my advice and help.  We are all in this together.  glennh@sparkstone.co.uk

 

 

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