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There’s no argument that the world of sales has changed in the past couple of years, but most are still wondering, “how much of this change is permanent?” The simple answer is all of it. We don’t see things going back to the pre-pandemic stage, so it’s just a matter of how fast we can mobilise, adapt and thrive with the tools available to us today. However, transitioning from in-person to online selling can be overwhelming, so here are 9 virtual selling best practices to help sales teams host more effective sales meetings with prospects.
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9 Virtual Selling Best Practices
Here’s what you need to do before, during and after a virtual sales meeting call to make sure that you tick all the boxes and you’re on your way to closing more deals faster and easier than ever before in a virtual selling environment:
Before The Virtual Sales Meeting
1. Make it easy to meet
First of all, if you want to meet with any prospect – you’ve got to make it easy for them to do so. You’ve got to make it super easy for prospects to get in touch with you, rather than creating a constant back and forth where you’re trying to double confirm the arrangements.
That’s not easy for them or you, so how do we make it easier? Use calendar scheduling tools like Calendly, where you can send a link to a prospect that lets them access your calendar to choose a day in time that works for them.
It’s a fast, easy and convenient way to ensure both salesperson and prospect know where and when they’re meeting alongside a handy feature that sends a reminder either one or two days or even a couple of hours before your call.
This virtual selling best practice is so helpful because it helps to reduce the number of cancellations and no-shows and who doesn’t want that!
2. Master the platform
You must be a master of whatever platform you’re using for the virtual sales meeting, whether it’s Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Go to Meeting, whatever platform you’re on; make sure that you master it so that you’re not asking prospects basic questions like:
- How do I share my screen?
- How do I use the chat function?
- How do I get my virtual background to work?
You’ve got to be the master because there’s a good chance that maybe your customer or a prospect isn’t comfortable on the platform which means you’ve got to be doing a little bit of troubleshooting and tech support.
Overall, do some research on the platforms if you need to so that you are a guru when it comes to all of these platforms, and then be sure that you hop on the call at least five or 10 minutes before so that you’re familiar with it.
3. Send an email confirmation in advance
In the email confirmation of the meeting, you want to start by sharing the reason for the meeting. Remind prospects that this is going to be a video conference and then include the login instructions, where you’ll meet to chat (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet etc.), a sales meeting agenda and finally finish by asking if there’s anything the prospect would like to add – that way when it comes to the virtual sales meeting, you can use your precious time with prospects effectively.
4. Research your prospect
Now more than ever, it is easy to get background information on your prospect or customer. So do some research, hop onto LinkedIn, check out their profile, check out their company page on LinkedIn, go on their website, do a Google search and see if there’s any news. Check out financial reports – do whatever you need to do. It’s not good enough to come and say, “Hey, what’s keeping you up at night” instead, you should be telling them, “Here’s what should be keeping you up at night!”
During The Virtual Sales Meeting
5. Turn on the camera
Always turn on the camera and let people see your smiling face. Allowing prospects to feel and see your energy via video helps build trust and create rapport.
We also encourage you to prompt your customer to turn on their video. They may or may not do it, but you have to ask because if they turn it on, you’ll be able to see their body language, and you’ll connect with them a little bit easier. But if they say no, refuse or if they’re not comfortable, that’s okay. Don’t worry about it.
If prospects really aren’t keen to connect via video, say, “Hey, do you mind throwing on your camera? Just so I can put a face to a name?” And they’ll more than likely they’ll turn it on. Or if they’re a little bit hesitant, you can say, “Do you mind just throwing it on for a moment? Just so, just so we can get to know each other a bit better and then feel free to turn it off after!”
Also read: 9 Tips To Look Your Best On A Video Call
6. Use prospect research to build rapport
At this stage, you should already be armed with your prospect’s research information to be able to use to start building rapport. When you check prospects out on LinkedIn, for example, you’ll get a really good feel for who they are on a personal level. Ask yourself:
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- What do they like to do?
- Do they support certain sports teams?
Other topics you can talk about are things like:
- “How’s COVID affecting your business?”
- “Are you all working at home hybrid?”
- “What’s going on right now? How has this current situation effected your working environment?”
Any chitchat to get the ball rolling and build rapport in under two minutes, remember virtual sales meetings are usually a lot shorter than in-person sales meetings.
7. Be energetic
You have to be more animated in a virtual environment; otherwise, your body language may not correctly translate to prospects. Remember to increase your energy by about 10%. That’s all you need. You don’t have to be over the top, but just a little bit more animated than you usually are in person. For example, if you’re going to count things out, go 1, 2, 3, and count it out with your fingers.
8. Have conversations, not pitches
Most salespeople in virtual meetings decide the best course of action is to throw on their sales deck and read through slide after slide after slide. Wrong, this isn’t a sales presentation or pitch; it’s a conversation so ensure you’re engaging prospects by asking them questions or getting feedback. For example:
- “What do you think?”
- “How does that sound?”
- “Is this what you had in mind?”
Again, resist the urge to share your screen right away, and at least spend some time having a conversation. You always ensure you keep it a two-way flow instead of a one-way data dump.
After The Virtual Sales Meeting
9. Send a recap email
Lastly, it’s essential to send a recap email summarizing what you discussed, agreed upon, and who will do what next and when. This is imperative because the speed of business has accelerated -you’ve got to be on the pulse of the prospect’s next steps to ensure no business falls through the cracks.
So once you hop off that call, you’re going to want to send a recap email that thanks them for their time, recaps what you talked about and the agreed-upon next steps.
Remember to mention the product or service you were discussing. To do so, consider,
- What business outcomes do they want to achieve?
- What are some of the indicators that will demonstrate progress and fulfilment?
- What’s the impact on the customer of meeting these objectives.
- What’s the overall value?
Designed and delivered using Prezi: 9 Virtual Selling Best Practices
No one wants to sit through a boring, static, and endless slide-filled meeting – it’s just not engaging. That’s why we used Prezi video to design our Virtual Selling Best practices video. They’re champions of using innovative and dynamic tools to ensure that potential clients emotionally connect with you, thereby more likely to follow through with a purchase.
Seamlessly move from in-person to online selling
Selling virtually is not a matter of just doing the same old sales pitch but online. You have to be highly organised and have tightly planned out presentations, so you don’t leave your prospect bored and disconnected.
Gain the skills to master the process of moving from in-person to virtual selling by enrolling in SOCO’s Virtual Selling online course. Once registered, you will get immediate access through our e-learning portal SOCO Academy.
Prefer live or in-person training? Our virtual selling program equips sales professionals with virtual selling skills and techniques through live training, to help them build rapport virtually, effectively present their solutions online and win deals remotely.