By now we should be getting used to the new virtual world that we are living in. We might even find that when restrictions are lifted, we continue to do some things virtually for efficiency, such as arranging a meeting with a buyer over the internet rather than driving a fair few miles to meet with them face to face for a 30 minute meeting.
But can we sell as effectively via a Teams or Zoom meeting as if we were face to face? We think you can.
Connecting with your buyer virtually shouldn’t be so different from doing it in person. The structure of the meeting should remain the same, and the core selling skills of questioning and listening, closing etc. all still apply. Here are some other things to think about in our ‘new’ virtual world:
Understand your customer’s tech platform and communication platforms
How can you use these to retain continued contact. Knowing if they are using Zoom, Teams or Skype will aid in setting up the meeting and avoid any technical issues as they will be working from a platform they are familiar with.
Think about HOW you communicate virtually:
a. Visual – seeing the face and the reaction is the primary goal. Remember social distancing will have an impact on your customers too. Use this as an opportunity to check in and see how they are, build the rapport and show empathy as you are in the same situation. b. Verbal – where you CANNOT (rather than could not) engage visually, then hold a telephone call with your buyer. At least you are having contact and reminding the buyer of who you are and the products and services you have to offer. c. Written – avoid defaulting to purely written communication (e-mail, text, etc) as this can strip the depth out of the relationship quickly. Written is a great tool as a follow up, to summarise the key things you have agreed on the call/video conference and detail the agreed actions.
Storytelling NOT Presentation decks
This becomes ever more critical in the current environment. What you send might be the only marker of ‘contact’ from a customer perspective. a. Use the presentation as discussion material. If you are able to have a video conference, you don’t need to send the deck in advance. You can share your screen in the call and drive the presentation at your pace. b. If you need to send detail (how it works) this can be sent in report form as required. c. Never put negotiation trade terms into the report or the story – these can only be offered once the idea is bought. Examples to avoid i. Listing fees ii. Guaranteed promotions (and the value of those) iii. Margins
So, don’t be fearful of selling virtually. Pick up the phone and call your buyer. Arrange a time that works for you both to have (ideally) a video conference to discuss how you can assist them in hitting their numbers. Being proactive, surely wins the day!