The Sales Specialist
This spring, meeting culture went online. Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams were quickly leveraged, so no meetings were missed. As grateful as we are to technology, allowing us to still connect during times of crisis, nothing takes the place of a face-to-face meeting. In-person meetings will enable us to communicate with clients better, and when we can connect - we build a relationship that better helps us serve them.
As stay-at-home orders are lifted, and offices reopen, it's important to many business travelers to get back on the road and meet up with their clients. With a vaccine still months away, we might need to get creative with how we meet our customers in the foreseeable future.
Understand that meeting at your client's office might not be feasible.
Different areas of the country are in various stages of reopening. Many offices are still closed and might remain so for the foreseeable future. Even those offices that are opening back up might not be accepting visitors. Before reaching out to your client, please do some research on their location to understand the local restrictions in place. If it's an area that has opened back up for business, talk to your client to gauge if and when a meeting would be appropriate.
Get creative on location and consider taking the meeting outside.
One thing that all experts agree on is that fresh air is good for us right now. Don't be afraid to take the meeting outside. With parks and golf courses back open, take advantage of the great outdoors.
As restaurants begin to reopen at a lower capacity, suggest meeting on a patio for coffee or lunch. Call ahead to make a reservation and check that they are following safety protocols that make you comfortable and your client comfortable. Feel free to reach out for suggestions from your customer. This is a great time to support a local business and try out cuisines local to the area. Be aware that your customer might not be comfortable with food sharing - so when ordering an appetizer, look for individual plates or pieces instead of dips. If the weather prevents outdoor activities, ask your hotel about open meeting spaces.
Keep social distancing habits and your customer's comfort top of mind.
We know getting back to business is crucial. Many of us are wondering what the new normal is and might be worried about how to get it right. DO you wear a mask? Do you skip the handshake? The answers to these questions will be different in each situation. Keep in mind that we are all in this together, and the "new normal" is still being defined. Communicate with your customer and be open about any concerns you may have!