Is it possible to grow a regional business without regularly jumping aboard a plane?
This article first appeared on September 19th, 2011.
I’m located in regional Australia and my potential clients are large distances from me.
Is it possible to conduct sales over the telephone, email, etc or should I be jumping on a plane every other day to do deals face-to-face?
We have such huge distances to travel in Australia but the good news now is that we can now travel digitally.
Because of this amazing new facility I have often wondered why more small businesses do not base themselves in regional areas.
I would suggest that there are a number of ways to handle sales contacts from a regional location.
The first point of call is the telephone. Nothing beats a personal call with a real person behind the product or service.
This is particularly so when large corporates are increasingly removing themselves from personal contact.
The way this call is handled is really important. Find out as much as you can about the client and their needs in advance. Websites are the key to this.
Make sure that your phone contact is to the decision-maker.
I find it very valuable to have the customer and yourself with your respective websites in front of you during this call.
All this makes the importance of your website very high. In fact it seems that this is now the first place everyone goes to learn about you and your company.
Your website reflects you and your brand. If it looks unprofessional no amount of telephone calls will overcome that.
For a regional businesses, your website is your tool to reach the world and attract customers.
Offer to email additional information as required, for example a quote, which may not be on your website and agree to a follow up call.
All this can be done of course by Skype to keep costs down.
If the customer shows real interest and this deal is worthwhile it could be good to make the physical trip, but only after the potential customer and you have agreed that there is mutual interest.
I always prefer a phone call to simply sending an email.
With the Skype facility, calling is extremely cost effective and a phone call shows a personal interest.
So the order of connection should be:
- Phone call
- Possibly a physical meeting but only if agreed there is buying interest by phone and depending on the economics of the deal