I know, I know, face to face meetings are so 2019 in this COVID world we call the new reality. However, savvy reps and sales managers know that even though a lot of their client engagements will have to be via Zoom, Teams, Go To Meeting etc., there are still many important reasons I expect my team to be with their clients whenever the deal is big enough, the risks of losing are high enough, or as the famous saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

Keep Your Eyes Open and Your Phone Ready

1. A Zoom call doesn’t show the Sales Manager the Rep actually knows where the account is. Not as surprising as you might think. You roll for a road trip with the rep expecting to see the accounts he/she has been dutifully cultivating and making the entries in your CRM, only to discover they cannot easily find the account (even with GPS). Warning, Will Rogers!

2. You don’t know who has been calling on your special buddy at a key account if you can’t sneak a peak at the visitor log for the past week, or however long the receptionist is away getting you the cold bottle of water you politely requested. Much easier these days with a cell phone for some quick pics.

3. Zoom doesn’t take you to the customer lobby. Company awards, newsletters, idle chat – all helpful in your pursuit of owning the account – are totally lost on a Zoom call.

4. Walking the hallways of a key account will tell you more than 20 activity reports by your creative writing genius of an account manager. I was with the Asia territory manager on a trip to China last year, and I swear, he knew everyone in the building! The hellos, and/or lack thereof, all around your account tells a good sales manager a lot about account control and therefore, the reality of your rep’s forecast…

5. At the good ole trade conferences we so fondly remember, you can see how much juice your decision makers have by the People They Are Interacting With; Respect from Their Team and Their Management is Clearly Seen in a Group Setting but lost on Zoom.

What You’re Missing on Zoom

6. Before hiring, I still insist on FTF (or mask to mask). Full sleeve tattoos? Can’t match their shoes with their slacks? Their Presence. Sure, everyone can have the freedom to express themselves in their own personal way, but the employer also has the right to protect their valuable brand and have their field team be consistent with that and the company values.

7. What is lost in the talking head Zoom presos is the art of effective communication, with Dr. Jerry Shuster of the University of Pittsburgh tagging audience takeaways are based on 85% on body language, mannerisms and facial expressions.

8. Reading the audience is lost on Zoom. Even the gallery shots do not really tell you your message is sinking in, And what does it mean when they turn off their video?

9. There is nothing like the client’s office, where their life is usually on display for the perceptive Sales Rep. Family, golf fanatic, awards, plus the books they read and enjoy enough to have on the shelf. I well remember finally getting to meet the head of procurement for an energy company in San Ramon, CA. The first thing that caught my eye was the ball and chain hanging on the coatrack. Then the shelf full of books like How to Win in Negotiations Every Time and How to Wear Down the Smart-Assed Salesperson. You get the idea. He enjoyed bringing reps to his den.

10. It is just way more fun to be out and about, meeting different people, in their space. Seeing the warehouse, the production line, the engineering team – they are always so happy to have someone actually care about all they do. And if you want to do a lot of business, I truly hope you do care. I miss it every day that I am not there with my customers, doing what I love most.