This is a service we’ve offered for a long time, informally, in our Marketing Lab. But there are enough people needing some additional help because of recent events and developments in the industry we thought we’d better formalize it.
Thought leaders in Aviation aren’t just born knowing how to effectively use digital tools like Zoom and LinkedIn to communicate!
We have Marketing Lab customers and confidential customers for our other services that needed some coaching to be comfortable, confident and effective using digital platforms, including LinkedIn, Zoom, and other visual and digital technologies.
So, we’ve FINALLY put together a program for people who don’t need our sales training or other products or services, they just need some one-on-one coaching.
Paula Williams: Welcome to this week’s episode. I am Paula Williams.
John Williams: I am John Williams.
Paula: And we are ABCI, and ABCI‘s mission is…
John: We help aviation companies sell more of their products and services.
Paula: Absolutely. In this case, we are helping aviation executives sell more of their products or services, or to be more effective in a digital environment, right?
Paula: Okay. This is actually introducing our Executive Digital Media Coaching Product. Which we have always done informally, but we have never really put a program together for it. So we are going to tell you some of the reasons that we have come to this conclusion and tell you what is included in this program, right?
Paula: Okay. There are people in your organization who are, what we call digital citizens. And then, there are people who are kind of not, right? Do you know what I mean?
John: Digital citizens? Like Ditizens?
Paula: Ditizens, digital citizens. People who are comfortable with a laptop. They are comfortable with the phone. They can do stuff. They can make things happen. They can contact people via video conference and feel totally fine about it. They can make a Snapchat video and stick it out there and think nothing of it. It is not necessarily young people or old people because I have seen a lot of 40, 50, 60, 70-year-old people who are very, very digitally literate, right?
Paula: I have also seen 20-year-olds, 20 to 30-year-olds who are–
John: Afraid that they will look into their camera. They will not even turn the camera on without being lashed out with a whip. [inaudible]
Paula: Right, and they are really uncomfortable with LinkedIn, and they are really uncomfortable with Facebook or TikTok or Instagram or any of those things. Which is totally fine. People start from wherever they are starting from, right?
Paula: But, you are at a serious disadvantage nowadays, if you are not a digital citizen.
Paula: Okay. So our–
John: Our yes, that is correct what you said?
Paula: I am glad you think so. Show them your coffee cup.
John: Okay, you have seen this before, right?
Paula: Yes, exactly. If you have not seen this before, this was inspired by Tiberius Baxter. Who commented on one of our posts, which was–
John: about my sarcasm–
Paula: Sarcasm exactly, exuding sarcasm. So, Tiberius is probably a digital citizen.
John: I would say.
Paula: Yeah and they are totally comfortable interacting in a digital environment and other people are not. So, if you are not, right? And you have been doing, maybe sales in the Aviation Industry for 20 years or 10 years or whatever number of years. Very successful in your environment and in your life–
John: Even if you have been doing it for two or three years prior to COVID.
Paula: Yeah, and you are great at a trade show and you are great in a one-on-one situation. You are great sitting at a table with someone and that is the way that you are the most comfortable doing business. And that is great, right? Do not want to take anything away from that. That is another arrow in your quiver that is super powerful and fantastic. But–
John: You have to cite it with digital.
Paula: Right. You do not have the opportunity to sit at a table with anyone without doing some digital work nowadays it seems.
Paula: Okay. So–
John: At least it is rare.
Paula: Share some information that we picked up. This is surprising. If you are thinking that things are going to go back to normal? They are not, right? And this is in business-to-business. This is not retail, right? So this is people who sit in offices and do stuff and buy things on behalf of their business. In aviation, this is the closest analogy to what we have, that has the largest number– That has a large enough number that the press is writing about it, right? Okay.
Paula: So, both B2B, buyers and sellers prefer the new digital reality when it comes to sales. They do not particularly care to have a salesperson come to their office.
John: That is crazy.
John: I mean, you know, I get it.
John: But, okay.
Paula: And this is a pretty respected survey. More than three-quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-service and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions. And of course, this does not mean that they have all of a sudden turned anti-social or whatever but it is just they would rather be spending the time with their family. They would rather be spending time on vacation. They would rather be able to just tune in from their laptop and do what needs to be done without the human interaction.
Paula: Safety is one reason of course, given COVID and and all that. But self service and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information. It puts the buyer more in control I think, of the process than they used to be. Because it used to be, you were waiting for a salesperson to provide this to you and now you can get what you want from other sources and I think that is part of the reason.
Paula: Only about 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales. Even in sectors where field sales models of traditionally dominated such as p
Pharma, medical products and I would add industrial products, aviation products, things like that. So, that often follows Pharma and medical, you know.
John: With even an aviation, I mean. You may start digital. I do not know if I would buy an airplane without looking at the airplane.
Paula: Oh yeah. Absolutely!
John: With the sales guy, with somebody
Paula: Right! And that is why the best of both worlds is to have both worlds, right? So that you have got all of that going on and you can talk to someone, and you can zoom with someone, and you can have all of that ground work out of the way before you get on an airplane and go see the airplane that you are thinking about buying.
John: All right.
Paula: Okay. So, that is interesting. I will wait for things to get back to normal. Here is another reason that is not going to happen. Most B2B seller interactions have moved to remote or digital. The current way of interacting with supplier sales reps during different stages of the process. So, this is talking about identifying your suppliers, evaluating the options that are on the market, placing your orders, receiving, re-ordering. All of that stuff is now digital, right?
John: Yes, it is.
Paula: So, I mean it really is moving to online. So, you really need to have this skill set in your wallet. Okay. So, you might say, well there are some things that just cannot be done except in person.
John: I am one of those guys that says that.
Paula: And Aviation is one of the more traditional fields, okay? Some– an argument on the other side of that is, that remote engagement successfully supports both selling and prospecting. You might think, well, remote is fine if we have made a sale to this person before and we are just doing a resale, or remote is fine if we already know who the customers are or who the prospects are and we are just engaging with them. But this shows that digital– Yeah
John: I get that. But if I am going to go buy an airplane. If I am to buy an airplane–
Paula: you are gonna go
John: Particularly if it is a pre-owned airplane. I mean, you can talk to me but either there have been too many cases where you show up to the airplane and it is not as–
Paula: As advertised.
John: That is right. One way or another.
Paula: Well, you will notice these numbers are not 100%, right?
Paula: So, this is– as of August 16th is when they did the survey.
John: And I am okay with everything, not everything but most things going digital and so forth the would of work. But I am also realistic enough to know that sometimes you get to a point where you have to have a physical interaction.
Paula: Right.That is absolutely right. Totally agree with that but you can see the numbers are supporting a digital model and having both is the the ideal scenario where you got–where you are really really powerful and you have got good skills in both camps.
John: Oh, yes.
Paula: All right. But business-to-business in aviation companies do not change as quickly as others. So, you are talking about medical and Pharma [inaudible]. right?
John: But they are gonna have to.
Paula: Exactly. So, the majority of business to business companies have shifted their go to market model from traditional to digital with heavy reliance on video and online chat. They are down 52% on the traditional and in-person method, 41% for video conference, and 23% for online chat. So, before– probably two years ago I do not think you would ever used an online chat. Is that accurate?
John: Before when?
Paula: Maybe two years ago? maybe three years ago?
John: Oh, no. There were a few companies who use that.
Paula: Okay. But in the last two years–
John: has really gone nuts.
Paula: Yeah. So, you have done. I mean, just on observing the way that you use computers, and I think this is pretty indicative of a lot of Aviation buyers.
John: This better be good.
Paula: You will resist– at least you used to resist really heavily getting involved in a chat.
John: Oh, yeah. And I still do because it depends if I want to chat. I can tell right up front if it is AI driven. If it is, I will just throw it out the window.
Paula: Right. Because they used to be terrible and they still are pretty terrible.
John: They still are because they often know what you want to know then when the person comes on they say, “How can I help you?”.
Paula: You are right. I just went through all this. I do not want to tell the whole story again. Cut and paste is the way I do it.
John: No. Telephone call–
Paula: That is their– you know, that is their problem. They should not ask you the same question twice.
John: Well, but they do and that forces me to go somewhere else or pick up the phone.
Paula: Right. Okay. But if I were to look at five years ago versus this year.
John: 16, Okay?
Paula: Okay. How much more likely are you to do a chat now than five years ago?
John: Actually probably less because they are all AI driven.
Paula: Okay. Interesting.
John: And I am not going to go down that road. Though they are not good enough. I will not interact with AI on a telephone. That is just not– Once you have done this enough– made enough calls, made enough chats, you know when it is driven by AI.
Paula: But you have had some good chats with sales people and–
John: I had a few
Paula: –and were they five years ago or were they more recent?
John: They were a while back.
Paula: Okay. Interesting. So he is bucking the statistics and making this hard for me. That is okay.
John: No, I am going to make it real.
Paula: Same question, video conference.
John: Well, that is different. The reason that is different is because you can tell, is that me? is that her? Now I know.
Paula: There are deep fakes. We could be Nancy Pelosi and you have Donald Trump standing in here
John: –dollars and time. You can do anything with pictures and audio, but when you first sign on I mean, video is good because I have actually set up meetings with people to meet. We have never met before, face-to-face. We go meet at a restaurant and because we did video or did LinkedIn look up we know what each other looks like.
Paula: Yeah. And I have actually seen some product demos on videos that were really, really good. Where people have taken a part and shown all the pieces and done a really good demo by video. Either recorded on their website or live in a webinar, something like that. So, I think that pretty much bears this out. That video conference is more likely than chat. Many people still hate chat. You know,
John: I would not mind it actually. The people that– well–
Paula: As long as it is a human.
John: As long as it is human. I am good with that.
Paula: Okay. Cool. And that is part of what we learn. Part of what we teach is how to engage in an online conversation with a prospect. A lot of people do not really know that and they are not really comfortable with that but you will be by the end of this program, right? Okay. You are saying– but large ticket sales have to be done in person.
John: Not necessarily.
Paula: Okay. You are not saying that?
John: No. What I am saying is, it does not matter if it is a one-person airplane or a twenty-person airplane. I am not going to buy it without looking at it. If it is pre-owned.
Paula: Right that makes sense.
John: If it is a– If it is manufactured new that is different. A new manufacturer
Paula: Exactly. Non-traditional channels are now driving the Lion’s Share of Revenue that is changing hands nowadays in those sales transactions.
Paula: So, yeah that last interaction may be in person but I would say that the decision is made by that time.
John: Oh, yeah. Given that the product bears out and then ensure it is already made.
Paula: You are just confirming a decision that you made from a digital conversation.
Paula: Okay. So, it just becomes more and more and more important to do things digitally. So, you are thinking I do not need the video, I am just going to use the phone. And I get on meetings with people who say I do not want to turn my camera on.
John: And that is what she does too.
John: What the hell.
Paula: Right, and you do not have to be glamorous, right? You do not have to be fabulous in order to make this work but it is a thousand times more effective. It is actually not a thousand times. It is something like 70 something percent more effective to have a conversation with someone you can see than to have a conversation with someone that you can only hear.
John: Not the least of which is it is less likely to step– to over ride what they are saying.
Paula: Exactly. So, there have been a lot of studies saying that a lot of the meaning in a conversation is nonverbal. So, it is facial expressions, it is, you know–
John: Yes. You can tell if somebody says yes, and you know they are going to kill the sale. Just by looking at them.
Paula: Right. Interrogators and law enforcement. I would never do that by phone. They have to see a person’s face. They had to see a person’s body, ideally, so that you can actually have a good conversation. And this is some really good statistics. Preference for video, this would include things like Zoom WebEx Microsoft teams. It does not matter what the tool is. What matters is that they see your face. So, meeting with others in your company, 79 percent preferred video to phone. Meeting with existing customers, 76 percent prefer video to phone. Meeting with prospect, 76 percent prefer video to phone. I do not know why that number is not higher. I mean, it really should be. Meeting with vendors and suppliers, 77 percent prefer video to phone. Vendors and suppliers is usually fairly cut and dried.
John: So what was the date on this particular survey? Is it part of the same one?
Paula: Yeah. So, August of last year.
John: Wow. And I will bet it has changed now.
Paula: Right. I would bet that the numbers are even higher. So, if you ever have the opportunity especially in a sales call to do video in– you have a choice video or phone, the answer is always video. Absolutely. You are just killing your chances if you opt for the phone call, right? Okay. So, you are thinking, and a lot of people think, a lot of the folks in our group tell me over and over and over again, this is not my thing. I cannot do these stuff. I did not learn this stuff when I was younger. I am– this is not my language. This is not whatever and stuff like that until we get through that process with you. You can be just as comfortable with this as the digital citizens in your organization.
John: Backtrack a bit here. It seems I recall, I bought my first airplane. Plus I got to– I actually talked to the guy which was on phone and then we met and decided on options and everything, down payment. But the second airplane. Of course these are both factory new. Second airplane, I think we just picked up the phone and made the call. But these were new, not pre-owned. So, I either called and told him what I wanted and how the financing must occur and it was all done. Back then, if video was not available I would have done that. Anyway, just backtrack.
Paula: Okay, so you would have done video if it had been available?
John: Oh, Yes. Yes because you– even when you are buying you can see what the sellers facial expressions are whether you think, “really?”. Have you say sure and the expression is “really?”
Paula: So, negotiating is more comfortable, I think for everybody when you can see each other. Even working out the details, you know, making sure that you are understood. Making sure that they will really do what they say they are going to do. That they really have the confidence behind their product or service. If you have learned sales in any format whatsoever, you can learn to do this digital stuff. It is not that hard.
John: No, it is easy.
Paula: Exactly. But what you do need is a safe place to practice because you do not want to practice on your prospects. Most of this have a fairly limited number of prospects. In fact, we had one client that had 68. An entire universe of 68 possible customers because she sold a very specific service that was only available for a particular make of aircraft, right? and under certain circumstances. And in certain geographical locations and a whole bunch of other things. Yours may not be that–
Paula: –Specific or small. But you do have a small number of prospects in the grand scheme of things compared to retail. So you do not want to be practicing this stuff on your customers. You do not want to be fumbling with social media. You do not want to be fumbling with zoom.
John: And we can set this up so that you can do it from your house. From your office. From your car if you want. Starbucks if they let you in there. So, it does not matter where so that you get used to it.
Paula: Right. And we have an optional service where we will actually come to your location and set this up for the first time. So the first call, the first set up, everything else. We can send you an equipment list. We can help you set it up. We can do all of those things if you need that. Most people, their equipment is fine, they are able to set that up or get someone to help them set that up, but they want a safe place to practice. So you get to practice with us. Which is more fun, less stress and you get to try something out.
John: We make mistakes too. You can laugh at us.
Paula: Right. And then you will be super polished and really really confident when you meet with a client.
Paula: All right. So here is what’s included with our executive digital media coaching. Zoom video conference, of course. We have the optional set up where we will come to your location and set up your video setup. Your cameras, your microphones, your lighting, your whole [inaudible]. LinkedIn profile setup and optimization. Digital Prospect Research, we will show you how to research prospects digitally using what is on the web. Social Media Prospecting, how to reach out to people using social media and how not to reach out to people using social media, right? There is a lot of people doing this badly nowadays. We are not those kind of people.
John: One would hope not.
Paula: Social Media Participation Coaching. Now, this is something that– People say, well, you should know how to do this. You just make comments on people’s posts but you do not know what to say if you have never really done this before. It is kind of awkward until you get comfortable. Right?
Paula: So, we have got a group of– I was going to say very nice people but–
John: Well, they are very nice people individually.
Paula: There is a saying that I saw yesterday and it said east coast people are kind but not nice, west coast people are nice but not kind. I am still trying to figure out what that means, exactly. And if I agree with it, because I actually think that west coast people are much nicer than east coast people, and kinder. Anyway, these folks are really good people, honestly. They are very helpful and sometimes they can be unkind.
John: Well, but they expect it in return. So, they want to be real. They want straight answers and they will give you straight answers.
Paula: Exactly. That group gives you a nice kiddie pool to play in, where you are not going to drown, right? And it is a private group. It is only among friends where you are making comments and you are doing some of these social media interactions and things like that. So, that is a really nice practice area as well. Social media update collaboration will put together 12 updates that you can use over time. Maybe every Tuesday or whatever you want on your social media so that you have something to say, right? That is relevant to your specialty and helps position you as an expert in your field. Intro video production, so, we will put together for you. We will talk you through, putting together an intro video. You will record the footage. We call it footage even though there is no tape, right? It is all digits nowadays. You will send us the digital footage and we will produce it for you so that you have a nice intro video for your website or for your LinkedIn profile or for wherever you want to use that. We can do that either in an interview format or we can do that in a monologue format. Whatever is most convenient for you, but we will make it look good. We will make you look–
Paula: –fabulous. You will be comfortable with it. Actually, that is not true. A lot of people do not like the way they look on video.
John: Or the way they sound and audio.
Paula: It is just because they are not used to it. So, we will make you look very professional and very polished. You still may not like the way you look.
John: And sound
Paula: And sound. That is just life
John: Because I do not like the way I look and sound, whether or not I look polished and professional it does not matter. Just trying to get the job done, you know?
Paula: Exactly. There is a difference between being effective and being perfect, right? We are effective, we are not perfect.
John: Well, speaking for me anyway.
Paula: Alright. We do six, 45 minute one-on-one online coaching sessions from the comfort of your own office or home office or wherever you are. Online on-demand videos of support materials. So, we have got some nice cheat sheets.
We have got some nice videos that you can refer to whenever you like at your convenience and things like that. And then we send you in the mail a printed guide with cheat sheets and checklists and so on, so that you will have something to refer to. I actually really like that. I think it is a really nice way to ground any course that I am taking online. It is to have something that is physical so that if I get lost I know where I am kind of going and coming back to, and all that. In this program, we are actually launching very soon. Probably by the time you are seeing this, we will have a link where you can see the details and how to get started and how to set up your first meeting and all of the details. It is on our website. Go there. Do what we tell you to and I promise if you follow the instructions and if you stick with us for the entire program, you are going to feel so much more comfortable using digital tools and you are going to be that much more powerful as a salesperson or as an executive because you are able to use these tools in addition to all of the in-person skills you already have.
John: You are already confident with sales, now you will be confident with video–
Paula: Right. Absolutely. Go sell more stuff.
John: The Industry Needs the Business. I’ will see you next time. Have a great day.