When in-person meetings become zoom meetings, building and maintaining new and old business relationships is necessary more than ever.
Before COVID, our sales reps were constantly traveling. We were supposed to attend over 60 trade shows in 2020, the majority of which got canceled. Outside of trade shows, our sales team travels to visit customers, conduct training with distributors and their sales teams, sometimes they even go on-site (hotels or college campus) to assist with any issues or installs. So when being in person with others comes to a halt, the question becomes how do we still build, maintain, and strengthen these business relationships?
Here is what our reps had to say:
I’m a people person and always feel I have a better relationship when I can be in-person vs. virtual. COVID changed that. I had to create a personal environment through team meets, zoom, or on the phone. I made sure I took extra time talking about real-life challenges and positive moments before jumping into the work talk. Most of my contacts were having the same challenges and concerns as I was. It kept it “real”. I made it my goal to find something positive with what they shared to reflect on and congratulate them. Finding a bright spot in the dark world truly helped my day.
It’s all about relationships, and successful ones are rooted in security and trust. During a time of such uncertainty, you want to do business and partner with a company you know and trust. Through technology such as MS Teams and Zoom meetings or even via a good old-fashion phone call, we have and continue to respond quickly to questions, provide product guidance, and effectively communicate to our university partners what to anticipate and when.
Here at MicroFridge, we have always customized programs based on customer needs, and this year was no different. This past year many, if not all higher-ed institutions, had to pivot in multiple aspects- on campus, student housing, and dining. Our namesake MicroFridge combination appliance, which was once an amenity in student rooms, is now necessary due to safety guidelines, quarantine restrictions, and demands for students to have individual appliances. Schools knew to call us for their appliance needs, and we were able to meet them. The key besides anticipating needs is to have the ability to respond quickly to our customers, especially in times of crisis.
Outside of the airline and cruise industry, no industry was hurt more by COVID than hospitality. The key to keeping these relationships strong is to stay connected. New hotels that had not broken ground may place the project on hold with an unknown re-start date. These hotels have thousands of items they will need to purchase when they decide to build, and currently they are all are on hold. The good suppliers stay current with these hotels, updating the hotel team on inventory levels, lead times, and possible price increases. I assure them that MicroFridge will be ready when they are ready.
The key is being ready when these hotels open more guest rooms. Some hotels decided that now would be the ideal time to renovate their hotels. With guest stays down to 20%, they decided to renovate and be ready for the recovery. Typically, these renovations would be floor by floor and only need refrigerators for the renovated rooms. With COVID, many hotels decided to close and renovate every room. Now they need all the refrigerators. The refrigerators then need at the proper time the installation process. The key is to be in touch so that the correct number of refrigerators are at the property when they need them.
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