Covid-19 has changed not only our industry, but every industry across the globe. We sat down for a Q&A with Ted Bowley, our Sales Manager for the Southeast region, to talk about how he is coping with the pandemic and how it has changed his B2B selling approach.
How are you staying relevant and in touch with current customers?
I’ve kept the mindset that I am here to help our customers find solutions, especially in the midst of this uncertainty. Obviously, face-to-face meetings are out. Since most individuals are working from home, or a mix of office and home, I let the customer set the preference for the meeting medium (video chats, conference calls, etc.). I’ve also been sending out quick text messages just to check-in. These quick messages let me inquire about their work related needs, but also check-in on their families and how they are adjusting to this new environment. The pandemic and this new way of life are a big change for everyone… at the end of the day, business isn’t everything.
Are you using any platforms (zoom, teams, etc.) that you have found useful?
I’ve used every platform out there over the past four months. I really like the features of Microsoft Teams. I’ve also found that some people are more collaborative using video communication than they might have been face-to-face. Some contacts are able to spend more time discussing and collaborating now that they are working virtually.
How are you approaching new customers? Any out of the box or creative ways you want to share that have been successful?
Reaching out to new leads has been very difficult as I’m unaware if the person is at the office and/or if their phones are being forwarded to them at a home location. Since I am unable to travel and set up meetings, I have been doing more research via the internet, LinkedIn, and other platforms to find, learn about and reach out to prospective customers. We can all use a little help right now, and I may not be their solution, but that customer may be the solution for another customer. As an example, I reached out to a company on LinkedIn that made loading and unloading more efficient. Yes, I was interested in pursuing their inbound material transportation, but I also gained valuable knowledge about a service that a future or current customer may not have known existed. Making these connections brings additional value to my partnerships.
What difficulties or challenges have you experienced, and how are you overcoming those?
No one can predict what is going to happen from week-to-week in this environment. You must be able to change at a drop of a hat; which could mean adjusting volumes, changing shipping hours or handling other disruptions in the supply chain. The plan must include the ability to pivot and react to unforeseen occurrences. To get through this, you must have a great team; a team that is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.
Anything else you would like to share?
No matter how many “The Sky is Falling” things you see, read, or hear; remember, this too shall pass. We will adapt and things will get better. On those really off days, turn lemons into lemonade … or Lemon Drop Martinis. Also, stay away from home haircuts; especially those that include dog clippers (which is another story for another time).
Ted Bowley is located at our home terminal in Anderson, IN but is concentrated primarily on selling in the Southeast US. He has over 21 years of experience in the logistics and transportation industry. Ted joined the carter team over 18 years ago and has served in varying capacities ranging from a Logistics Analyst to Director of Logistics Services. He and his wife (& high school sweetheart) Laura, have two children and live near their alma mater, Ball State University. Ted enjoys spending time with the family and working on cars, especially his 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible.
For more information, you can contact Ted directly at email@example.com.
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