Raise a proverbial hand if you’ve been a part of an unengaging Zoom call lately. Hell, throw two up. They happen, but they don’t have to be inevitable from your end.
Over the last few months, we have all had the opportunity to attend multiple conferences and meetings VIRTUALLY. What I have found to be the most perplexing of all of my virtual meeting experiences to date has been participating in a virtual sales presentation. Well, maybe not participating…
A key observation made during a few sales presentations I have been invited to has been the misuse of technology. It seems that the virtual setting is being used mostly as a one-way channel from the sales professional to the customer. In my opinion, the technology is better used as a two-way channel for exchanging and sharing information versus only as a medium for presentation, rather than conversation.
Virtual engagements are more successful if used to facilitate conversation on both sides rather than as a tool for the sales professional to merely present while the customer becomes a passive listener.
What can go wrong if the technology is used as a one-way channel?
- Miss valuable rapport-building opportunities
- Allow environmental distractions to interrupt progress
- Lose the collaborative environment that is critical to selling
- Limit instances of spontaneous discussions that reveal unexpected insights
- Grow disengagement as customers sign off with ease
We definitely don’t want that to happen, now do we?
Let’s face it, selling entirely from a virtual setting has become commonplace, and as a result, we have been challenged with adapting to a new environment at an accelerated pace.
Developing our virtual selling skills is critical, and having the capability to properly engage the customer through digital tools can position us for success in what has proven to be a challenging present and a changed future.
Although selling virtually can never replace face-to-face engagements, with the right approach, we can do almost everything via video that we can do in person including uncovering needs, attaining the status of a trusted advisor, nurturing the relationship, and, of course, closing the deal. Now the schmoozing side of sales—not so easy.
As we all now know, interaction does not flow as naturally in a virtual setting. Unless we can engage our customers, rest assured they will place themselves on mute with their cameras off while multitasking. Therefore, it is our job to create an environment that is welcoming, engaging, and comfortable. Doing so means asking rapport-building questions as well as those difficult questions.
Since business conditions have worsened across our industry, many of us will be speaking with customers who are under stress. Having uncomfortable conversations will be difficult in a virtual setting, but if you venture to ask sensitive questions, you will be rewarded with detail that reveals the pain points the customer wants to resolve.
Put simply, strong communication advances trust, and trust advances the sale.
So, before you go into virtual sales mode, here are a few tips on how you can prepare in advance to maximize engagement:
- Manage expectations by sharing an agenda
- Manage the environment by eliminating distractions
- Plan materials carefully with clean, simple visuals
- Be knowledgeable of your virtual technology, test your technology, and prepare a backup plan in the event of failure
We all need business, and a virtual presence allows regular communication that is critical to establishing and maintaining the trust that precedes every sale.
Need a digital sales tool kit for your virtual meetings? Reach out!