Connecting to New Clients and Opportunities within a Pandemic

by Cesar Trabanco

It’s a new day out here for better and for worse, and either way it’s a new reality, and so we regularly share ideas to leverage virtual opportunities for members to find more success.

Global Chamber shifted at the start of the pandemic to a virtual platform that has been assisting our members to grow in a variety of ways. The main thing that we’ve always done and continue to do every day is make warm introductions of members to executives that we know who could become clients, partners or resources for their business growth.

We’ve also always done globinars, which are our own educational webinars created by Global Chamber that assist members to reach the next level with information to grow and succeed. We’ve upped the number of these, and we’re also sharing pertinent programs by our members and collaborators — totaling more than 100 coming up at any time. Our signature events continue, and we sometimes break up the meetings at the end to connect members with each other within the metro or across metros — like our events International State of the Metro, Women in Global Leadership and Global Innovation Summit and Grow Globally Fair.

We also are presenting virtual meetings that connect our members to other members and opportunities — like Virtual Dining, pictured above with a recent networking dinner across metro regions over an Italian meal. Other programs like this include League of Extraordinaries (speed dating for business service providers), League of Opportunities (introduction of new business opportunities by members), Export League (connecting exporters to international clients) and Online Global Women Networking. Our members connect to grow!

I spoke at a globinar with members of the global tribe at Global Chamber® to discuss how to be more effective and proactive with selling across metros and borders within a pandemic. It was educational and fun to hear each of the speakers contribute tips and ideas, and there was significant agreement on the value of having and leveraging a trusted network. Lucie Newcomb, founder and president of NewComm Global Group, talked about a higher bar for return on investment (ROI) these days and how to overcome that in the sales process. She’s a deeply connected expert in global business, and so she updated us on key factors in global markets. The following are among the points she noted:

  • Now is the time (during the pandemic) to nurture and go deeper with customers, prospects and partners — customer intimacy development, as it was once known. Good opportunities here.
  • It is the time to activate and re-energize trusted networks, forwarding brief, value-added opportunities and solutions and making key introductions on request. Counterintuitively, it’s also a good time to lean in a little bit as well for specific needs.
  • Sales cycles are longer now, as many customers are working from home and juggling kids with distance learning and other pandemic effects. As such, the bar for ROI is even higher than usual; likewise for business efficiencies.
  • Relationship-building, nurturing and selling is an advanced selling level. It is not a path for dismissing sales metrics and skills; on the contrary, it’s a time to sharpen skills and intent with augmented levels of sincerity, empathy, et cetera.
  • Attention, always challenged by noise, is at an all-time scarce level. So, being clear and patient, as gentle repetition, preferably accompanied by a value-added resource, may often be required. For example: “Here’s an article on that technology you were researching. And, by the way, have you had a chance to review our proposal yet?”

Larry Harte of Global Chamber Cincinnati talked about some of his key growth techniques.

  • Emotion vs. logic. Build a relationship with clients and prospective clients to encourage their use of the heart to decide to move forward, supplemented by logic.
  • Qualify hard; close easier. Pick your prospects up front who are more likely to “get it,” and that makes closing much easier, too.
  • Pick the right person. Be aware of who you need to speak with and pick the right ones to make the decisions needed.
  • Use a CRM system. Capture key information in the system and have a process to follow up. He talked about how they rank opportunities as a “top 40” and then follow up with 10 every week.

Cesar Trabanco is VP of Member Services at Global Chamber®, based in Puerto Rico.

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