As we all weather the coronavirus crisis, the world has quickly adapted to radically new working environments. We reached out to members of the AirPlus community to find out just how these changes look. New Sales Development Manager Paolo Bruzzese shares his experience as he prepares to become a father in a unique time.
Paolo, how are you doing? Can you bring us up to date on the current situation in Italy?
My family and I are fine. (This is the most important thing considering we are also expecting a baby!) The situation here in Italy is hard. Everybody needs to stay at home and during lockdowns are allowed to go out only for food, medicine, or health reasons. We are expecting to have already reached the peak of contagion and are starting to see the numbers of infected people sink. What is really sad and hard to believe is that we see people dying every day, and it is terrible for those families that are in this tremendous tragedy since they cannot even be with their dying relatives, as they could still be contagious.
How did you react to the fact that you are were suddenly no longer allowed to leave the house?
Since I am live in Milan and our office is based in Bologna, I, like most sales colleagues, am used to working from home when I’m not meeting clients.
What is your current working day like?
Mostly managing meetings with prospects over the phone, hosting webinars with new clients who have begun using our solutions, maintaining the sales pipeline feeding through analysis and research to find new opportunities to gain new business – including in the B2B procurement arena.
What has been the biggest challenge for you during this strange time?
Finding the right way to get in touch with clients and prospects. You need to be careful to show that you’re reaching out for the right reasons, since the situation is critical and you don’t want to risk looking insensitive by using the wrong approach or words. You need to let them understand that we are trying to help their businesses with our solutions
How do you stay motivated? How do you keep in touch with your colleagues?
First of all, I think of my first son coming soon! This helps a lot in terms of stimulus (apart from thoughts regarding the world and situation he could face…). I believe that we need to resist negativity since there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Regarding my colleagues, we are in touch through regular conference calls and other communications platforms. We are a great team and share a lot.
How difficult is it to keep up team spirit in times like these?
I believe our culture helps us a lot in trying to see the best in any problematic situation. It is a hard time but we believe that this could also open new doors since there will surely be a need for our solutions when business picks up again.
You’re clearly a proponent of the power of positive thinking. What advice would you give customers wondering about the future of business travel payment in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis?
I would suggest them to support AirPlus centralized digital solution rather than any other form of payment considering the increased need for duty of care to monitor traveling employees. Travel risk management is a proactive approach to avoid risks for travelers and keeping them safe.
Do you have any advice for those who might be struggling because of this global crisis?
I would just mention this quotation from Robert T. Bennet: “Keep going. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”
Thanks, Paolo, and all the best for you and your growing family!