For me, it had been more than a year in the making. It did not take me long to get back that feeling of adventure, taking an airplane once again to go work with a customer. Airports, airplanes, shuttles, and hotels brought me back to a familiar place that before Covid-19 was second nature. My client had asked if I was able to visit with them to do my sales training in person. I think it was cathartic for all involved, getting to interact with one another in a safe environment. Zoom and Teams have done a wonderful job in the absence of business travel for us to be able to interact, but nothing substitutes in my mind for the face-to-face interaction, a live sales training or sales call can deliver.
I am often asked if I think face-to-face selling will go away as a result of the last 12 months. While it is true that 96% of sales organizations have changed their go-to-market strategy, most would be foolish to decree that face-to-face selling was dead. Going forward it would be smart for businesses to employ a strategy that allows customers and salespeople to find what that right balance is. Certainly, CFOs of large corporate salesforces are loving the reduced selling expenses associated with reduced travel. It will be interesting to see whether these savings fall right to the corporate bottom line or are they re-invested in some form back into the selling operation for the benefit of the salesforce. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Virtual selling on the other side is here to stay. In the past few weeks, I have been in South Africa, Lebanon, Israel, France, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Canada, and the Czech Republic without ever leaving my home office. The thoughts of traveling to those countries, glamorous and all as it might seem would have been exhausting and expensive for all the parties involved. So, what are our next steps to a balance?
Going forward I believe that salespeople will have to adopt a new set of questions for their clients and prospects to discover how they w