Selling in the Covid Economy

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Sail business

Customers are 70 percent more likely to purchase a product from the first company with whom they have face-to-face contact. However, in a time of social distancing, getting in front of customers can prove challenging, sales and marketing expert Marcus Sheridan said during a virtual workshop on the business of boating, hosted by Sail America on Tuesday.

Delivering “Going Virtual: How to Evolve Your Digital Sales and Marketing to Meet the Demands of Today’s Buyer,” Sheridan said experience can be mimicked on video calls if retailers use some best practices.

“You shouldn’t necessarily have to meet someone in your showroom to meet them face to face,” he said.

Before meeting with customers via video, dealers should ask the prospect to keep their cameras on, and get confirmation, Sheridan said. “If you can address this on the front end, you don’t have to waste time on the call asking them to turn on video,” he said.

Slide decks should have no more than 25 words per slide, and retailers should avoid sharing screens with the slides for the entire call. “That way they can focus on one thing at a time, versus the person talking and the slide deck,” Sheridan said.

In addition to video calls, retailers and manufacturers should create videos that answer the top seven questions customers ask and post it to their websites so they can go further down the “sales funnel” before making direct contact, he said.

Sheridan said each member of the sales team should have a brief video bio, and every product or service on a company’s page should include a video to not only describe the product or service, but also explain pricing and whom the product or service might not work for.

The marine industry tends to create videos explaining why a particular boat is “awesome,” Sheridan said. “That’s fine — you want to say who it’s for — but you also want to say who it’s not good for,” he said. “This is the most common mistake I see manufacturers and retailers make.”

Tools like Vidyard can help companies customize videos, and Outgrow can help them create an interactive website that will better help them understand customer needs.

Facing unprecedented demand, many dealers have said it’s difficult to keep up with leads. Emailing video to new leads explaining the reason for a delayed response, as well as the video answering the top questions, can help dealers spend less time on the phone, Sheridan said.

Imtra president Eric Braitmayer said being forced to ground the sales team prompted the company to put its video strategy into action. “The thing we didn’t anticipate was for customers to share those videos,” Braitmayer said. “They could forward the video directly to the customer that was in our staff’s own words, and we’ve gotten a really positive reaction to that.”

Edson International prioritized video in May when CEO Adam Cove saw boat shows being canceled. “We didn’t have a dedicated space for video until Covid,” he said. “That really made a big difference for us, especially investing in equipment.”

Companies should consider using money saved from not attending boat shows to invest in video, Braitmayer said. “I would urge companies that are saving those show dollars to invest in videographer,” he said.

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