To webex or not to webex

I was in my sec­ond sales job (copiers) when my manger took her team to a Zig Zigler sem­i­nar.  At one point Zig drew this on his over­head projector:

THIS!” he pro­claimed, “is THE secret to sales.”

As I stared at it try­ing to fig­ure what the hell it was, Zig said:

Belly to Belly”.

Good one, Zig.  Makes sense, peo­ple buy from peo­ple.  (To this day, it’s still one of the best sem­i­nars I’ve sat through)

Flash-forward a bunch of years and sev­eral cold calls lat­ter – I’m watch­ing a TV I won in a sales con­test, and that com­mer­cial comes on where the guy lights his lug­gage on fire.  It’s a spot for GoToMeet­ing  or Webex  or one of those other remote meet­ing sites.

In it they pro­claim, no more travel, reduced expenses, etc, etc.  The prob­lem is these type things just suck as a sales tool.

Belly to Belly.

Don’t get me wrong this tech­nol­ogy is very cool and is great for train­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tions and mar­ket­ing events.  But as a sub­sti­tute for a belly-to-belly sales call…forget it.

When you use this instead of going there, you have no feel. No feel for the cus­tomer, their reac­tions to the points you are mak­ing and most impor­tantly the dynam­ics of the room – who has the juice who has the boss badge, who is for you and who is against you.  And cer­tainly you can’t develop ANY rela­tion­ship over the Webex.. Your just another sales guy.

For all you know, every­one in that room is wear­ing your com­peti­tors’ logos.

In fact the only folks who it maybe good for are the com­pany accoun­tants and some of your weaker prospects, which are look­ing to keep you at bay.   I have com­peti­tors that only use this stuff for their sales calls and I always kick their ass, cause I go belly-to-belly, not PC to PC.

Now there are some places where you might want to use these ser­vices.  But all of them are after the ini­tial cou­ple of meet­ings, after you know them and they know you. That would be fol­low up pre­sen­ta­tions where you needed to loop back on a par­tic­u­lar fea­ture or func­tion, or pick up a deci­sion maker or two who didn’t make the other meet­ings.  (if you do this always make sure your coach is in the room.)

I sup­pose you could also go through finan­cial infor­ma­tion like ROIs and con­tracts.  But I usu­ally like to do that stuff in per­son when possible.

The tech­nol­ogy tools at our dis­posal are ter­rific; they allow us to do our jobs from almost any­where in the world. But don’t let it get between you and your craft.

Or, between you and your customer’s belly.

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2 Responses to “ To webex or not to webex ”

  1. Tuna says:

    Being live is always an advan­tage. Com­pa­nies are try­ing to cut costs by hav­ing Inside Sales peo­ple con­duct web meet­ings. My only feed­back is that instead of using this after a face-to-face — I often use this to qual­ify mar­ginal buy­ers. It helps me deter­mine if there is suf­fi­cient inter­est (and a bud­get) for my solu­tions. We also use it to clear up any tech­ni­cal ques­tions or deeper issues late in the sales process.

  2. Rescue Me says:

    Nice points by Sales Chick and Tuna, here are two more. For those C level con­tacts that are dodg­ing the sales call, and you have a good coach to push for you, the webex can be a great tool to show your wares and take the pres­sure off. They may be C level folks mak­ing big bucks but they also know if you are call­ing on them you’ve been around and are prob­a­bly the one wild card in their daily grind that can take them out of their game. Usu­ally by the time a senior sales rep (that’s really what we are) gets to them, the process is nearly com­plete. But when sales is savvy enough to get there early , they put their game face on, and live by the mantra that defense wins cham­pi­onships. Using your coach to babysit and them hav­ing the threat a mute but­ton away, gives a safety net that just might get you in front of them. Because you have a strong rela­tion­ship with your coach, it’s pretty easy in the next call to weed out the red flags and if you really have a shot or not. The other good use is get­ting sched­ules together. You can be on site and have those resources you need for the C level pre­sen­ta­tion avail­able. You still give the sense of secu­rity to the room, usu­ally being a 4 to 1 for the cus­tomer, but you have a secret weapon in your resource on the other end feel­ing no pres­sure, another set of ears and another per­cep­tion to what’s really hap­pen­ing in the account.You can make your point in the meet­ing and have a more mean­ing­ful fol­low up to take the next best step toward a decision.

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