Technology adoption in fashion has shot up like mushrooms. Whether out of dire need or natural evolution, the industry is looking for new ways to fit it all in. And B2B sales is no exception. There are plenty of stories where sales teams text photographs or home made videos of the collection to their buyers. Or even use social media live feeds to give sneak peeks and create a pre-hype around the collection. Sound familiar?
Back in 2015, sales reps would have laughed in your face when suggesting these methods as alternative sales tools. Yet, in 2020 and beyond, it works.
Why is that?
Because it has offered a quick and easy solution to staying connected.
Every customer and every buyer is different. Nowadays, sales teams need to take into account different travel regulations and personal preferences. Your brand may even decide to make a distinction between different buyer segments. Opting for key accounts to come to the showroom, while allowing longtail buyers to connect remotely.
Whatever the reason, it is a fact of life that some buyers will be coming to the showroom, and others will be dialling in from afar. No matter how you run your next sales appointment, the key is to keep them human. Wherever they are.
Like in a musical quartet, staying connected in a hybrid sales model consists of four components that when used together, work harmoniously to create an engaging sales appointment. These are:
Building and maintaining a human relationship has always been the basis of fashion wholesale's success. This forms the rhythm that drives a song. And when connecting digitally, it has become more important than ever to make that connection personal. So, think about where you and the buyer are working from. From home, the office, the showroom? These are all factors to be taken into account when establishing a digital connection in hybrid sales. Like the bass drums that drive the rhythm of a song, so does the digital connection drive the hybrid sales appointment.
PRO tip: Get more personal with your buyer. Think of having merchandise or a snack available in line with the seasonal theme. Is the main color of a collection banana yellow? Send them some yummy banana-flavored candy. Go the extra mile to get an extra smile. Have fun with it!
Adding onto the bass are the strings of your composition. Think of them as implementing the right technology in support of the desired digital connection. In this evermore digital life, receiving your buyers in the showroom has become a special moment. The question is, how do you turn a traditional showroom set up into a digital showroom experience? Into that unique way to truly WOW the customer in the hybrid sales model.
Technology should not dictate your decisions. Instead, the value you're looking to gain from it. If you're looking to build or maintain a deeper connection with your customers, take that as the starting point. Look for technology that creates value for the buyer and keeps them engaged. And that helps provide a feeling of involvement and engagement. Regardless of where you're located.
Now, let's add the wind instruments to the composition. Think of a collection's colors, the fabrics, the details, the patterns. Like with wind instruments in a composition, these elements of the collection are used to create emphasis to the appointment. When in the showroom, pulling up a physical sample to emphasize a key item in the collection is easy. But how do you get that same emphasis across when you do not have access to a sample?
Having the right content is key. Look into product shots that go beyond a front, side, and back view. Good shots can let the collection speak for itself, by taking the buyer deeper into the product details. Allowing the buyer to get an understanding of the threading, fabric density, and stitching. This will help in establishing a connection with the collection.
Rounding off the hybrid sales quartet are the keys. And with that we bring in the emotional connection to the appointment. The showroom is your brand's B2B arena, where sales reps feel the most confident. And buyers feel the most connected with the brand. So, how can you bring that emotional connection to the hybrid showroom?
Through the power of storytelling. Include marketing assets in your hybrid sales flow. They are powerful tools to bring the collection's stories to life. Check in with central merchandising teams to get an understanding of the history behind a key item in the collection. Start owning your hybrid showroom, and your buyer will feel it too!
And there you have it, a perfectly harmonious composition to help you stay connected during your hybrid sales journey. To make this work for a specific customer or buyer, it may need some fine tuning and some elements may need to be balanced out more. But get these four components together, and you're off to a great hybrid performance!
Can you hear the music…?