Written By: Meridith Elliott Powell
In this economy, asking whether you need to sell online or in person is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg.
I was keynoting at a conference last week, when a member of my audience approached me to ask a question. He was new in his role, and new to fields of business and selling. In addition to trying to keep up with the changes going on in the marketplace today, he was struggling with the best way to go about engaging customers and finding prospects.
His fellow team members had been more than helpful, giving him advice on how best to meet his goals. The problem was their advice was conflicting. Some suggested he change up his strategy and learn to sell online. Suggesting he try more online prospecting, and learn to master the social networking sites such as Linked In and Twitter.
Others on his team were quick to tell him that was bad advice, and that sales is a relationship business and it needs to be done the old-fashioned way, meaning in person. They suggested he start going to lunch, meeting face-to-face and that he dust off the golf clubs and play a few rounds.
So again he was struggling, and his question to me was should he sell online or in person, which strategy would get him better results? My answer to him was yes! Yes, you should sell more online if you want to close more business, and yes you should sell more in person if you want to close more business.
In this economy, asking whether you need to sell online or in person is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. In today’s ever shifting market place you need to use every strategy available to build relationships and close more sales.
One strategy is not better than the other. There is not one right way to sell. In fact, I think if you are only using one strategy than you are pushing clients away, and leaving money on the table. Therefore, my answer is to sell successfully in today’s economy you have to do it all, you have to understand how to connect, stay visible and build relationships online and in person.
To sell successfully today you need to get above the white noise, really connect and build relationships. You need to have the stamina to follow-up and follow-thru to be there when your customer is ready to buy. The business owner that learns to integrate their online and in-person strategies is going to master business growth in today’s marketplace.
Face it. This is a crowded marketing place, there is more than one financial services provider your prospects can choose from. To succeed today you have to get above the white noise and standout from your competition. Your online presence gives you a great opportunity to showcase your accomplishments, share powerful content and invite your prospects to get to know you before you knock on their door. In person, getting above the white noise is all about community involvement, the attitude and presence you have when you enter a room, and how you engage with clients. In today’s world your reputation is your greatest calling card, and to succeed you need to manage it in person and online.
In today’s economy you need to invest in your prospect before you ask them to invest in you. Networking the art of cultivating contacts, has become the new cold calling. In a world where time is precious, being able to network both online and in person is critical for your sales success. Spending time online focused on other people and their accomplishments, as well as attending strategic events where you spend more time listening than talking will go a long way to both enhance your reputation and keep your sales pipeline full.
In today’s economy customers and prospects have a choice as to where and from whom they buy. The sales cycle does not always move as fast as we want it to, so if you want to close the sale you need to be visible when your prospect is ready to go. Now who has time to make a face-to-face contact every two or three weeks just to see if your customer is ready to buy? That is the power of integrating your online and in person strategies. You can follow-up and in person meeting, with emailing them a great article, commenting on something they posted on Linked In. Follow-up is not about bugging the prospect, it is your chance to add more value and build the relationship.
So there you have it, the three strategies you need to integrate your online or in person sales strategy. Remember, it is not an either or. Sales today is highly competitive and at best challenging. You need to use all of your tools and all of your strategies, you need to learn to integrate your online and in-person sales strategies.
Meridith Elliott Powell
Meridith Elliott Powell has been named one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts…
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