We’re back meeting with customers face-to-face. Yet in this “post pandemic era,” it feels like the way we do business will never be the same. Sales reps report that online ordering has become a comfortable habit for their clients.  They also note that customers have moved to alternative wholesale channels and some are even ordering directly from suppliers. Many reps feel like they are starting over from scratch and need to learn new sales skills. As the 19th century French poet and novelist, Victor Hugo, wrote “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” For sales reps in a post-COVID world, that idea is proactive selling.

3 Proactive Sales Tips

Given that alternative sales channels are here to stay, let’s consider proactive ways to compete against them by adding value.

  • Develop an eCommerce presenceTo compete against the Amazons of our world, you need to provide on-line ordering and fast delivery. Enlist a well-qualified eCommerce platform designer to develop your website. Stock your on-line store with the products most in demand by your top customers. Then organize a shipping system that enables overnight delivery from your location or that of your supplier.
  • Add vendor managed inventory (VMI) – For easy-to-dispense products that you sell, work with a vending machine manufacturer to purchase or lease equipment that can be installed at your customer’s location. This enables you to compete against next day delivery services. Add vending machines at your location(s) to allow walk-in customers to make quick and easy purchases.
  • Initiate productivity enhancement – Work with your manufacturers’ reps to look for cost reduction opportunities. Tour customer’s facilities to do the same. Consider adding lean manufacturing and engineering personnel to support your company’s sales effort. These steps enhance productivity and can help you cement and secure new business.

Value added services

In the post-COVID world, value added services are a proactive way to offset the benefits of online sales and overnight delivery (see more: differentiate-yourself). In most cases you can charge for them, which can strengthen your bottom line. Stephen Covey writes, “Proactive people carry their own weather with them.” Add value added services to your sales process and enjoy a sunny forecast.

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