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Effectively Approaching B2B Prospects Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, April 15, 2020



If you're used to making your pitch on the shop floor and closing the deal with a firm handshake, social distancing may have you at a loss. You can still find effective ways to approach your prospects.

You're adapting your lifestyle to the coronavirus limitations. You can adapt your sales style as well.

Stay attuned to the market and scope out demand. As a B2B rep, you could find yourself busier than ever.

Many industries are still up and running. Food handlers, chemical producers, farm equipment manufacturers and fabricators of food-related products are going strong.

Other manufacturers are looking for ways to repurpose idled machinery or reach out to clients in critical industrial segments.

Your challenge is finding a way to help them succeed.

Making a Plan

If you're meeting with potential clients online, the last thing you want is for them to feel that you're wasting their time. Have a schedule in mind. Prepare and test whatever tech you're going to use in advance. Glitches don't sell.

Even more important than planning what you'll say is taking time to listen.

If you're going to address a manufacturer's problem, you need to understand what it is.

Fitting the New Model

If you sell communications services, you can help your clients locate outlets to replace those they've lost. For example, if you point them to executive email listings like the ones IndustrySelect provides, your customers can reach out directly to new decision-maker contacts.

If you serve companies struggling to comply with travel restrictions, they may welcome platforms that deal with videoconferencing and setting up remote events.

Offering enhanced security or insurance will reassure companies experiencing unprecedented growth of online transactions. Proposing opportunities to cut costs is another strategy to keep your foot in the digital door.

When a client formerly allotted thousands of dollars to travel, facilitating ways to maintain customer contacts and pursue sales opportunities through videoconferencing will improve its bottom line.

If your prospect customarily impresses potential purchasers with tours of its facilities, explain how you can make a virtual tour work.

Take notes on the features that make the company stand out and offer to incorporate them into an engrossing online experience.

Repurposing Machinery

The coronavirus has triggered an unanticipated shift in manufacturing priorities. Health care workers urgently need masks, gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Repurposing existing machinery to produce it can require some out-of-the-box thinking. A recent example is Nike making the leap from sneakers to face shields.

On a smaller scale, workers at a sail maintenance company switched from turning out tote bags to making masks.

If you facilitate supply-chain access for the materials to make new goods, you and your customer will cement a mutually beneficial relationship.

You'll also gain community goodwill to promote further sales.

Retooling for New Markets

As consumer habits change, the requirements to accommodate them change as well. Instead of visiting a supermarket or big-box store, homeschooling parents or stay-in workers order food and supplies to be delivered.

While demand for these products has risen under stay-at-home orders, expansion began even before the coronavirus took hold. Many items, such as fresh meal kits, require specialized packaging, and manufacturers need the equipment to produce it.

If your portfolio includes types of machinery necessary to address new markets, you and your client can work together to find the capital to complete a purchase.

The economics of the pandemic have promoted the availability of loans and other financial support for small businesses.

By familiarizing yourself with these programs, you'll help your clients emerge from these difficult circumstances with new capabilities.

Looking to retool your sales approach? Get instant access to nearly 500,000 industrial companies and one million executives with IndustrySelect, the industrial database for sales, prospecting, marketing and business development. Profiles include direct executive email addresses, so you can easily reach prospects. Try a free demo today!



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