We all know markets can be volatile. One day it’s business as usual, the next it’s full-time remote work. As everyone begins to scramble and adjust to new business models, we thought it best to help everyone navigate these ever-shifting waters.
For whatever reason, if your in-person approach is no longer feasible – meaning tradeshows don’t work for you – here are some tips for staying in front of your audience.
Questionnaires and Polls
Take time to get to know your consumers and employees better.
It’s important to gather as much information as possible to set yourself up for success. By engaging audiences via their email or on social media, you can get real-time feedback. And let’s be honest, you’re probably going to get more honest answers as people look to improve how they interact with companies – now and in the future.
Believe it or not, getting honest employee feedback is more valuable than any consumer feedback. Why? Because they live your business, day in and day out. They see it from an angle that no consumer nor executive ever could. They’ll know where the flaws in the system are, what causes the most dollar losses, and where they can best support you in the long term.
Ask them questions like; “What specifically does this company do better that you don’t see in other, similar companies?” Don’t be afraid to hold their feet to the fire and ensure they can’t just say “yes” or “no” to your questionnaire.
SurveyMonkey makes this pretty easy to accomplish. And their prices aren’t bad, either.
Just because you aren’t in front of your customers physically, that doesn’t mean you can’t be digitally.
Treat conferencing videos – live or pre-recorded – just like you would an in-person conversation. It’s not easy, so you may need a few takes to get the hang of it. But don’t worry, authenticity goes a long way with modern consumers. Sometimes, more polish can come off as too marketed.
Take this opportunity to educate, not just spout sales info. Try to address key issues one by one.
- Walkthrough the benefits of your products/services
- Share what’s happening in the industry
- Talk about how you’re adjusting to any changes in the market
- Provide facts that can be backed up online so viewers can click or visit them on their own
- Teleconference with a guest or two. This will keep viewers engaged. And, if you get positive feedback about a guest, make sure to book them again for another video
- Make sure to include links and a recap of your video in the description!
- We highly suggest adding closed captioning to any videos for those watching on mute or for those unable to hear the audio
By the way, creating an online video will do more than a handshake ever could. How?
If you’re recording a video, it’s there to share again and again. It can be chopped up into different talking points, shared on social media, added as a sales tool, a training tool, or to show Google that you’re adding new content to your website – thus elevating your search rankings.
Whenever possible, get a sales rep with a smartphone and have them do a live demonstration. It’s really as simple as that. Just make sure you have a good WiFi connection!
- If it’s an RV, take them through it like you would if they were at a tradeshow
- If it’s any other product, get one on camera and talk about it genuinely while interacting with it
- If it’s a digital service/platform, do a screen share and walk through perks as well as tips and tricks that can help people use it themselves
Start a Podcast
Sure, everyone and their cousin was already starting one, but when it comes to companies looking to be thought leaders in their industry, now it makes more sense than ever.
If consumers want to learn more about your service or the larger makeup of your industry, a podcast is a great way to deliver information that users can glean while they get work done. This means they don’t have to set aside time to sit and pay attention – so it’s a win-win.
If you’ve done a questionnaire, this is a great time to answer any of the outstanding questions or concerns you see popping up.
So, what should you include in your podcast?
- Interview relevant guests that have unique insights
- Frontline employees will resonate with consumers, just as dealers/distributors will
- Other owners and key stakeholders will resonate with decision-makers looking for advice when it comes to running their own service
- Experts about your industry are always a good choice when trying to engage audiences from different backgrounds
- Segments that break up the monotony
- Helpful tips listeners can utilize right away
- Promotions or changes to your products/services
Optionally, a videocast is another layer to add if you have the means. This will add a level of engagement not accessible to listeners and can include visual graphs, video clips, and more.
Now, your episodes don’t have to be 2-hour epics. They can be a mix or a structured 30- to 1-hour length. It’s up to you depending on the availability of topics, guests, recording time, etc.
Buzzsprout has a pretty in-depth article to help you get started.
There’s nothing like getting on-the-job experience. So, you may want to help new employees learn the job from a visual medium.
How do I go about training my salespeople if they’re remote? We’re glad you asked:
- First, find individuals that can speak to your product and/or service best
- This includes vetted employees, dealers, owners, even consumer advocates familiar with your brand
- Next, deliver them key talking points they can rehearse beforehand, if necessary. You don’t want a stream of consciousness, but you also want something conversational. So, make sure they have something to draw from in case they get camera shy
- Finally, direct them to answer frequently asked questions that usually stifle new employees
- Make sure they share their own methods for success
- How they overcame talking to consumers, how they structure their sales pitches, how they handle hardball or offbeat questions, etc.
- Make sure they share their own methods for success
The more, the merrier. Everyone’s been the new employee at one point in their lives, so we know the best way to learn and advance is by following the lead of those that came before us.
And remember, you can always send your team digital sales sheets, specification guides, manuals, and any relevant information via email or a digital asset manager (DAM). If you’re looking for an inexpensive, yet comprehensive option, Lariat™ is our own platform and the one we offer to all our clients.
This is your chance to reveal the stakeholders behind the curtain. It’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with a small number of decision-makers usually reserved for board rooms.
Now, we know you may not be comfortable with this approach, but in this modern world of transparency and consumer trust-building, humanizing the executive branch is a surefire way to gain an audience and loyal brand advocates.
Consumers want to relate to more than a product or service. Heck, even a product or service that isn’t the best on the market is often ignored for a brand that means something to the consumer – beyond a purchase and a promise.
So, get your team around a table and discuss the business. This can be done over lunch or in an hour or two knowing how valuable everyone’s time is. It doesn’t even have to be recorded or on video – so long as you utilize the information gathered in an informative way, like blogs or initiatives or even the aforementioned sales training.