2021 – The year in which we need to rethink about business trips
Since early 2020 when Covid-19 pandemic started ravaging the world we have seen many things change; from worldwide lockdown to Companies bankruptcy, from increase of poverty (for those traditional shops for example) to accumulation of wealth (for the e-commerce businesses), from tourism and leisure annihilation to airline stop.
And just the airline stop, and whatever is connected to it, the point that we would like to consider in this article. This does not only affect the tourism industry but of course the business travel and business trips too.
The disruption of business trips
Basically, starting from last March 2020 we have found out it was impossible for business people to travel for business. You can’t take the plain to go to see your Clients in Asian Countries, you can not fly to Thailand to take care of your Thai branch, you can not travel to Indonesia to meet up with some potential clients or potential partners in Jakarta. Those are just some common examples that most of us have been experiencing for more than 1 year.
Some of the business man, that we also personally know, used to travel once a month. Traveling for business is much more than a simple Client meeting for product presentation but is a way to establish a human connection with your counterpart, it is a way to intertwine your personal feeling with your Client feeling. Dining with your counterpart or having a handshake with him is much more than a “business talk”, it is it the action that sometimes spark the light of the business, it enhances and boosts the cooperation for mutual benefits.
This is something that will never be replaced with an overseas phone call or a Zoom meeting and those who are used to work this way know very well what we just meant above.
We need to remark, by the way, that not every business has been affected by the disruption of the business trips, for example e-commerce did not suffer (we can say that it benefitted by it) like traditional businesses, but if we just put ourselves in the shoes of those who are working in the B2B we soon realized that they have been very much affected.
The sales representative as alternative way to restore connections
For at least the entire 2021 and probably even in the early 2022 we do not see any feasible way to go back to do what we were doing before the pandemic. Until the vaccination will be rolled out to reach a heard immunity, we will have to stick to overseas phone call and rely to Zoom meetings in order to at least maintain the current status quo.
But not everything is lost! It is easy to understand that the wining factor to restore the connections is to be physically present in the market and directly available to the Clients and counterparts, so the very best alternative is having a Sales Representative who is working in your behalf (see one of our articles HERE regarding the sales representative). With the sales representative you not only have someone who is doing your business interest promoting sales and developing the relationships but, mostly, you will have “an eye” over the market which will help you to analyze competitions in order to plan your next move.
As per the direct experience of those who are writing this article, we can say that restoring “face2face” connection between you and your Clients is sometime the key to success in closing the deal.
Need an example? Suppose that you are selling a product in the B2B and your counterpart needs a deeper technical explanation where you need to physically show the product, you need to give them a demonstration on how it works, how to set it up etc. Moreover, your counterpart needs to show you samples of your competitor’s product and you need to “touch” it and clearly have a close-up look in order to make a comparison with your product to show your point of strength and advantages.
What we have just described above is a quick example of something happened to us in the second quarter of the 2020 where we have been the only supplier able to meet up several times with the Customer directly (our competitors simply did have not have any chance to fly to Asia and they had no sales representatives) and later-on in the second quarter of the year we have closed the deal (and the deal is still up today..).
If you have been in this situation you can easily recognize the validity of our statements regarding the sales representative and the potential advantages that you might have.
Bangkok 18 April 2021
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