HARDISON’S TIPS – AUGUST 31, 2021 – The New Business As Usual Model
It’s been a challenging time we’ve all lived through — adapting, surviving and, in some cases, thriving during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now what? Do we simply pick up where we left off, returning to our business-as-usual comfort zones? Or did the global economic, social and health crisis change everything, creating a “new normal” with new rules for sales performance and success? The still-unfolding truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but the pandemic has certainly forced us to redefine success and evaluate strategies as we’ve learned new ways to operate. Here are some of the emerging norms that will likely shape the post-Covid-19 sales landscape:
As the pandemic unfolded and the rules of doing business changed, it all seemed so impersonal. No longer being able to meet face-to-face seemed to put up barriers. Suddenly, being in the same room meant being in the same Zoom! But then something happened. By letting our business associates into our homes (albeit via a computer screen), we were still able to meet person-to-person on a level that may have even strengthened connections by making rapport-building easier. It is likely that personal connections will be more important than ever in the post-pandemic world. 2020 has taught many that they can foster meaningful business relationships virtually. While it is true that virtual meetings will never have the depth of connection that a face-to-face meeting provides, many have learned that virtual meetings should play a role in our future.
As difficult as the pandemic was, there was a bright side for many, if not most, sales professionals. Working from home kept them closer to family. Oh, sure, homeschooling and having pets photobomb a Zoom call might have proven challenging at times, but more time with loved ones was a new normal many would love to maintain. Moving forward, savvy employers might be wise to empower sales staff to work from home more regularly.
Business travel became almost non-existent during the pandemic. Again, this allowed more time with family. It also reduced expenses significantly (and reduced stress for many, most likely). Because online connections and video calls became so essential and prevalent, they’ve quickly become standard operating procedures in a great percentage of companies. Expect this to continue, even as travel opens up. Traveling to conferences might still be common but spending hours on an airplane to participate in a half-hour one-on-one sales meeting will likely be seen as an unnecessary exorbitant expense. Cross-town windshield time to reach a local sales prospect or client, however, will likely resume at near pre-pandemic levels. Business leaders who assumed that furthering a client opportunity can only take place in person have learned that online interaction has its place. Covid-19 forced organizations to explore whether sales could be made virtually. That realization now has sales and business leaders considering what the proper balance should be in the future.