Face-To-Face Sales Vs Phone Sales

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In the technological age in which we live, there are more ways than ever to do business and make sales pitches, but while face-to-face sales can be time-consuming and costly, sometimes the old ways are still the best. Here are some pointers on when to use face-to-face selling and when to pick up the phone when it comes to winning more business.

Get up close and personal

Because so many people are  using digital technology to interact these days, the personalising power of a face-to-face interaction is more effective than ever. For the simple reason that prospective customers don’t expect sales people to approach them in this way anymore means you should use it to give you an edge on your competitors. While they’re sending out generic email blasts, a face-to-face meeting will generate far more trust and ultimately build a stronger relationship that, in the long term, can deliver more sales.

Your phone - connecting you to new business

Of course, face-to-face sales meetings can be costly in terms of time and money, so it’s important to prioritise these meetings for high value prospects - where there is already a high chance of securing business. But this is where the telephone comes into its own as an important sales tool.  To arrange any face-to-face meeting, you’ll need to make some form of initial contact with your customer or prospect. Email is the quickest, most cost-effective way to do this, but a phone call is more personal and more likely to deliver the outcome you want. An introductory call can help you assess the likelihood of a face-to-face meeting and how likely that will lead to a sale, or, if you’re lucky, a completely new revenue stream.

Put your product in your customers’ hands

While you can describe your product to a customer over the phone, you can’t let them hold it or see it in action. Still one of the best ways to get a potential customer interested in your product is to physically place it in their hands. That’s something you can only do through a face-to-face sales call. By visiting the offices of potential customers with samples of your product, you can demonstrate the benefits first hand. Even if you only get to leave the product with a receptionist, you can always follow up with a call and arrange a face-to-face appointment at a more convenient time for the decision-maker.

Putting words into action

As well as being able to demonstrate your product, in a face-to-face meeting you’re able to use body language to show your passion for what you sell and demonstrate your commitment to servicing the client. On phone calls, you need to be more descriptive and use words and tone of voice to get your message across convincingly.

Most sales professionals find it easier to negotiate face-to-face. It can be more difficult on the phone, where customers find it easier to say ‘no’, or simply hang up. As well as using body language, you’ll be able to read your prospect’s own reactions to your pitch and gauge their sales-readiness. When you’re able to read their body language and get a sense for what they’re thinking, you can fine-tune your pitch and tailor your next move accordingly.

Look around for opportunities

Moreover, a face-to-face at your prospect’s office can tell you a lot about their business – information that could help you shape you sales pitch. This is especially true in B2B sales, as you get to experience their working environment first hand and get some perspective on the challenges their business faces. These are all insights you can use when creating the perfect solution for the needs of their business.

As you can see, there’s still a lot to be said for face-to-face selling, but the phone on your desk, or in your pocket, is still an important business tool in its own right, allowing you to target a lot of prospects in a short period of time without all the cost and time involved with travel. With the information you glean on an initial call, you can decide whether it’s worth your time to follow up the lead with a face-to-face. Remember too, every customer is different. While some don’t want to spend too much time on sales meetings, others don’t want to spend their day fielding cold calls. As the sales person, it’s your job to figure out which sales style your prospect or customer prefers.

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