Did you know, only 20% of B2B buyers say they want to return to in-person sales?- Sales Hacker
Sounds absurd, right?
Note: The images in the blog belong to Netflix.
Why wouldn’t sellers want to go back to regular meet and greet selling?
Don't clients eagerly anticipate face-to-face grilling sessions?
Unfortunately, this is the new normal, and it’s here to stay.
With the changes traversing since last year, you could be on a flight to Los Angeles at 1.20 pm from Seattle and interacting with a client at 5 pm from LA. Only this time, the meetings are virtual and being conducted at LA airport. (Was that possible two years back?)
I agree with what Nick Capozzi, Founder of Salespitching, has to say about today’s situation.
He clearly mentions,
“The world we live in now is not going back, there’ll be some hybrid but not like it was, so the sooner people master virtual selling skills, the better it is.”
And why not?
Virtual selling has its advantages, and leaders have their eyes on it.
Companies are saving tons of money, and sales teams are enjoying the convenience of staying home and selling efficiently. Sales leaders are saving up on travel costs and extracting extra work in place of the travel time.
“Amazon announced that it has saved almost $1bn on travel expenses in 2020”- GlobalData
And that’s not all!
Let’s not forget the client’s perspective.
Customers are more receptive to virtual calls than face-to-face meetings. They find tighter meetings highly productive and easier to grasp, not to mention that their teams are working remotely.
Now comes the elephant in the room.
With all the optimistic views coming from all directions, there’s a huge gap that no one’s talking about. Let’s check the facts one by one:
- Virtual selling is brand new, and skillsets are poor.
- You only have a few seconds to grab the prospect's attention.
- Adaption and acceptance of virtual selling are still low, but a future demand.
Keeping the above facts under consideration, it’s safe to say we need to accept and prepare for the future sales landscape.
But before we jump directly to the skillset your team needs for success, let’s quickly skim through the fundamentals you need to get in order.
“The world we In the new normal, You need to respond, not react. Always stay curious, don't get triggered. Always be ready to label the underlying dynamics. Make sure you anticipate all the objections because that really builds trust. Don't be afraid of vulnerability. Replace all Yes oriented questions with No oriented questions. But remember, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Go deeper! - Daria Ładyżyńska
Fundamental requirements of Virtual Selling
You must complete the below checklist before jumping to the next step of nailing the skillsets. Ready?
What mediums would you use to communicate with your buyer?
- Video conferencing
- Audio conferencing
- Phone calls
- Text Messages
What are the basic requirements to make the above mediums work perfectly?
- Fast, uninterrupted internet
- Bright room lighting
- Working microphone
- Speakers (if required)
- Clear web camera
- Good quality headphones or earphones(whichever applicable)
- Speaker’s posture
- Integration with other sales stack in place
Now that the hygiene factors are in check, we can switch to the main spotlight of the post.
Virtual selling skills your team needs for success today
Virtual selling and its nitty-gritty converge at the same point- Great Engagement!
Without good engagement skills and preferences, it’s impossible to keep the customer at home and welcome new prospects to the party.
So, let’s get deeper into the skillsets you need to keep your buyers and audience engaged during the new normal:
1. Impactful sales assets
A 45-sec video in the awareness stage can do what a 45-minute demo call can’t do in the decision stage.
You must hone your video development skills and create more easily consumable assets, which means assets available on the fly and need a few minutes to walk by.
Are you creating video assets on call recording software?
2. Confidence on Camera
You may not be able to answer all the questions thrown at you. But that’s how it is for everyone.
In such a situation, you’ll have two options-
- Dodge the question and act silly.
- Or park the question confidently and turn around with a response in time.
Now that you are reading it here, point number 2 will be your preferred option. But that’s what’s also expected on a live video call.
There’s no need to stumble or stammer in front of the buyer. Put your confident face in front and handle objections smartly, sometimes with witty comebacks!
How do you maintain your calm in front of the camera?
3. Use of multiple touchpoints
You remember the mediums of engagement for virtual selling we shared earlier.
Well, you need to engage with all your accounts and contacts on all the channels. ( Unless the prospect/account is not present on that channel).
Just sending an email or saying “Hi” at meetings won’t suffice. Linkedin messages and engagement are equally needed.
Can you list down all the customer touchpoints for your business?
4. Killer follow-up
You must never stop at one email or one sales meeting. Stay connected with your prospect.
Build a rapport with them. If possible, share exciting ideas and knowledgeable information. Don’t be pushy or nosy while you do it.
Follow up with grace and genuineness, don’t be a stalker.
What is the ideal time to follow up after a sales meeting?
5. Prepare for calls
You must not step into a call without prior preparation.
No, sales number desperation won’t help. It’ll only end up ruining your first impression on the call.
Instead, research well and research a lot.
Go to LinkedIn and online communities, find whatever you can to know your prospect, their business. Be a detective and search every nook and corner of their pain points, preferences, and characteristic traits.
How do you research your prospect?
6. Conversation starters
It’s always good to know a few unique nuggets from your prospect’s life.
Maybe a lofty dream. A hobby they are passionate about. Favorite soccer team. Travel experiences. Most-loved NBA player. Reminiscing festivals and related incidents. Last Super Bowl experience. It could also be a mutual contact in the industry.
Conversation starters need not be about business.
Also, you may not know everything in prior research, but casually try to find out at the beginning of the call.
The idea is to start conversations with an ice breaker and then lead to the main agenda of the discussion.
How do you break the ice between your prospect and yourself?
7. Build trust
People do business with people, and people do business with people they trust.
Give your prospect genuine industry insights and master detailing in every sales content & information.
The more you share authentic and genuine content, the more chances the prospect will trust you.
You can also earn a prospect’s faith by revolving all discussions around their pain points and product requirements.
Trust is also a by-product of networking which we’ll discuss in the next point. The more popular you are in your industry, the easier it is to find references and get noticed.
What extra effort do you make to earn your prospect’s trust?
Networking during virtual times is of utmost importance. You can’t expect to sit behind a computer screen and sign a million-dollar worth deal.
First, get noticed and build referrals.
Catch a few eyeballs in the industry and improve your contact lists.
Start with joining virtual forums, digital events, webinars, workshops, talks, and most importantly, participate during breakout sessions.
LinkedIn is another terrific platform to get yourself a few acquaintances and create an audience.
Your customer will always respond more optimistically when you’re aware of their business performance and challenges.
Prospects are even more attentive when they read some internal facts about their company that are difficult to find online. You caught them off guard!
Clients appreciate personalization in meetings, demos, content, and calls. They prefer tailored content that talks about their problems and needs.
It’s simple, meet the client where they are, not where you want them to be.
What’s your personalization trick? Do you personalize the content on every channel?
10. Technology Preparation
If you are a newcomer to the Zoom meeting, so is your client. If you are using web cameras for the first time, the audience may be using one for the first time.
But the difference between sellers and buyers is that sellers don’t have the time or audacity to make mistakes and fidget with the gadgets during a meeting, but the buyer can.
On several occasions, the internet services are poor, and the seller gets disconnected during the call. Also, the microphone settings were incorrect, delaying the call by 5-10 minutes.
Can you afford to lose 5-10 minutes in a 30-minute call?
Then prepare your tech stack in advance and ensure you have used them on mock calls and internal activities.
11. Improve call quality
Call quality depends on a few call parameters that make the call digestible and valuable to the prospect.
You must work on improving the simple call metrics on your mock virtual calls:
- Talk ratio,
- Longest rep monologue,
- Longest customer monologue,
- And question rate.
Unless your call quality is high and engaging, the chance of receiving a prospect’s response is a tough call.
What software do you use to improve your teams’ call quality?
12. Be creative
Ultimately, if you want to stand out in the crowd, you have to; you must be creative in your sales dealings.
Nobody cares if you go on a TikTok spree, choose funny video backgrounds, or sit with your pet on calls; as long as it’s creating an impact and leading conversion rate, it’s all good.
Don’t be shy to use analogies, everyday use cases, witty sales scripts, personal experiences, and be as humorous as possible.
Remember, your buyer is not evaluating only you. There are hundreds of players in the market who are going insane to capture the buyers’ attention.
So, what are you doing differently to keep your audience captivated?
How to prepare for Virtual Selling with the help of Conversation Intelligence?
All said and done; the virtual selling skills won’t become a habit overnight.
You’ll need time and practice to gain control over the skills.
Better still, you’ll need some guidance and a seasoned seller to assist you in filtering the right from the wrong. Don’t forget, virtual selling invites more security and compliance issues.
This is where firms bet on conversation intelligence software.
Why use conversation intelligence software for virtual selling?
Well, virtual selling is comparatively new and tricky. Practicing the calls and recording them on software can help in timely evaluation and feedback, and more importantly, catching gaps and improvement areas way before the D-day.
One area where conversation intelligence adds value is sales coaching.
Newcomers and low-performers can learn practical tips from seasoned and top-performing sellers.
Before you carry on with your selling chores for the day, let us give you a quick and honest reminder.
Stop doing things the same way; you’ll be left behind.
Accept virtual selling and jump in the trend train. The sooner you catch it the more destinations you can reach early.
Hybrid sales meetings may pick up pace sooner or later, but virtual selling isn’t going anywhere. Garner the skills for virtual sales and be an ace seller in your industry.
Also, don’t miss the excellent tips by Matt Walch on startups selling in the new normal- Tune in to Sales Gambit!
Results first, payment later.