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It is probably too early to speculate about life or sales after Corona. I have nevertheless given it some thought. 

In an interview that I gave to the journalist Regina Mittenhuber recently, I talked about the changes that the current Corona situation is bringing with it. Certainly, many things are annoying, especially for those who appreciate personal contact with customers. 

But I also see great opportunities right there. Perhaps we can all learn things, we would like to preserve after this pandemic: 

  1. Less driving
    I understand that some people enjoy driving. On top of that, company cars are often good, high-quality cars that also make it pleasant. But are 50-100,000 km/year still fun? Traffic jams, noise, stench and irritating other drivers can cause stress for even the most die-hard car fan. In addition, it is simply no longer up to date to blow up so many toxins into the air. When I accompany sales representatives on visits, I am often shocked to find that I spend two thirds of the time sitting in the car. And I notice how short the customer visits are in comparison.So how would it be to fundamentally rethink sales? The term ” field sales” is perhaps no longer appropriate. After all, success is not achieved by being on the road a lot, but by doing good business. In this context, there are certain correlations to the frequency of contact. More conversations with more customers often mean more deals. That too is a strong argument against spending two thirds of the time in the car, isn’t it?
  2. Working more efficiently
    I’m talking to a lot of people right now who are surprised how well they can talk to other people via video call. What seemed unthinkable before is suddenly a great opportunity. And why wouldn’t it be? You can see each other, observe body language, facial expressions and gestures, and get to know a bit of your surroundings (including clothes racks and changing tables, which I have already discovered in home offices). Even under these difficult circumstances, conversations occur that have quality. And people take the same amount of time for them as they did for visits “in the past”. Except, that the time-consuming journey is no longer necessary and therefore more conversations per day are possible.How about meeting online more often even after Corona? Soon most of the workstations will be equipped accordingly and the necessary bandwidth will be available. And with video it is also less frustrating if a conversation is not effective. At least then, instead of two hours, only thirty minutes are wasted. A video call can be cancelled more quickly if it is not effective. Instead, if a steaming cup of coffee is in front of you at a client’s office, it’s much harder to leave prematurely.
  3. Better use of media
    Out of sheer desperation, sales staff are currently making videos on mobile phones about their products, taking pictures of applications and otherwise thinking about ways to show their solutions virtually. For me, there is a lot of creativity and a huge opportunity in this. In my opinion, not every video has to be produced in a super elaborate way. After all, the customer is only interested in seeing how something works, how it is connected and ultimately how it can benefit him.All these media can be used from a distance. Another step towards more geographical independence. I am not saying that customer visits should be completely abolished in the future. But questioning their usefulness is a step in the right direction for me. How would it be to go to the customer only if the personal visit really brings benefits? Hands-on experience, trying things out together or looking at the conditions on site is irreplaceable. Many other things can also be done from a distance with the appropriate media tools. 

When I was in sales (a little more than 20 years ago) it was said jokingly: Field sales reps don’t need a desk, they belong on the street. Today, on the other hand, they belong mostly at the monitor and in front of a decent webcam and should learn to make a good impression here too… in my opinion. 

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