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When offices were shuttered during the various lockdowns of the past couple of years, the channel was forced to embrace digital as a means of marketing and generating fresh business.
Vendors reacted with increased support, and resellers across the channel brushed up on their web and digital skills to make sure they could continue to be in front of customers in one form or another during the pandemic.
Two years down the line, a large proportion of the channel are now well-versed in the methods and techniques needed to operate digital sales. But a warning has come from Kyocera that although digital is good, the channel needs to remember the value of face-to-face interactions in the sales process.
The print and document player quoted research that showed in-person requests are 34 times more successful than those made over email, with the close rate for face-to-face being 57%.
Armed with that evidence, the vendor is urging those in the business-to-business world to not overlook the value of personal contact and to make sure it had a role in the sales process.
“The importance of face-to-face communication is often undervalued in organisations because it’s difficult to measure, but its power in shaping company culture, team engagement and sales outcomes should not be underestimated,” said Rod Tonna-Barthet, president and chief executive officer at Kyocera Document Solutions UK.
“First, the human brain is wired for connection and appreciation – we want to belong and feel valued. To build relationships and close deals, it is essential to understand what makes each person tick. Businesses need to remember that face-to-face sales are often the first time a customer gets acquainted with your brand, products and services,” he added.
A lot of the sales that Kyocera’s channel is pitching concerns hardware and document management that would benefit from being shown to customers and demonstrated so the benefits of the technology can be fully understood.
Kyocera also made reference to findings from Stellar Global, which found that 65% of customers would be more likely to buy a product if they were walked through a demo.
“These findings highlight the importance of taking the time to demonstrate your product, educate prospective customers about its advantages and answer any questions they have. This provides prospects the opportunity to learn how it will benefit them the most. Using face-to-face meetings to show how your product helps them solve their problems, wants and desires is crucial,” said Tonna-Barthet.
“In some cases, technology improves communication efficiency during the sales process. In other cases, technology exacerbates the problem of poor sales communication – any sale can, for example, be ruined by a dropped call or poor internet connection.
“Face-to-face selling overcomes these technical challenges, allowing salespeople to build real relationships with prospects. You’ll also be able to better measure prospects’ reactions by using body language cues,” he concluded.