By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager, IAEE
Last week’s IAEE webinar, Mastering the Digital Handshake: Selling in the Virtual World, explores how the virtual environment has impacted the sales planning process, prospecting and client communication, especially in the last year. It was facilitated by Dr. Cindy McGovern, CEO of Orange Leaf Consulting, who has dedicated her career to helping a wide variety of organizations and individuals achieve dramatic results in the areas of sales, leadership, and change management.
Her vast experience working with organizations to create the changes they need to be more successful and her breadth of current knowledge in a wide variety of industries helps leaders strategize for growth, plan for change, get buy-in from employees, and implement the new behaviors needed to succeed. Here, IAEE Vice President of Partnership Relations Rick Jennings, CEM and IAEE Director of Partnership Relations Karen Gonzales, CMP expand upon some of the key takeaways from the webinar.
One of the first steps in developing your digital sales strategy is determining how your product/service has changed while adjusting to the effects of COVID-19 and to set goals for growth versus survival. And while standard brochures/PDFs are effective in telling your story on the trade show floor or via email, the shift to digital communications with clients (such as Zoom) require a shift in presentation as well and you need to make sure you have the right tool for the job.
“One lesson we have learned over the past year is that suppliers and sponsors need to be able to see that they will experience a return on investment (ROI) outside of the traditional face-to-face setting,” explains Jennings. “One way we have addressed this is by creating the IAEE MarketHub, which is an online marketplace that offers participants the opportunity to make, and expand upon, the personal connections they would have typically only made onsite at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition. While it is not a replacement for face-to-face, it certainly opens doors to potential customers outside of Expo! Expo! and keeps conversations going beyond the show.”
McGovern stresses that keeping the conversation going is crucial in not only building rapport with the client, but also developing the essential element of trust needed to forge long-term business relationships. Now that more conversations are being held digitally, it is more important than ever to accurately gauge how clients are responding to your communications and staying on pointe with their preferences.
“We are in a constant state of evaluation when it comes to how we communicate with our clientele,” notes Gonzales. “We want to make sure that they not only have all the information they could ever need or want, but we are also mindful of making sure that we are meeting their goals and objectives. For example, it is extremely important to us for exhibitors and sponsors to reach their ROI goals, therefore we listen and take time to understand how we can help them reach a successful outcome and partnership. This process of earning their trust means we must meet them where they are and do so in the way that is convenient for them. Whether that means a phone call or a Zoom call or a detailed email, we are there to assist them.”
With all this communication happening, McGovern emphasizes the need for keeping information fresh and relationship-based, in addition to the advantages to involving the entire team in the process. With the expansion of digital selling, every interaction translates into a sales opportunity – whether it moves through the sales department or another department, such as marketing or customer service. The keen sales professional understands the difference between each yet is able to correlate them in order to capitalize on every touch point available.
In Mastering the Digital Handshake: Selling in the Virtual World, McGovern presents an hour-long, comprehensive look at identifying and capitalizing on the new sales opportunities presented by the virtual marketplace, modifying existing strategies, and successfully navigating digital conversations so you can thrive in the digital selling landscape. Sharpen your professional skills every Thursday with IAEE’s webinar series. Presentations can also be revisited through IAEE’s on-demand webinar recordings library in IAEE’s Knowledge Hub – Elevate.