The best sales teams can adapt to change. Ask any successful salesperson about last-minute wrenches thrown into deals, and you’ll hear a tale of flexibility and pivoting worthy of Michael Jordan.
COVID-19 has been a big wrench in so many ways.
We’ve all had to adapt quickly to the new norm of doing business online. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing—recent McKinsey & Company data show that suppliers and customers increasingly prefer digital or remote interactions to in-person selling.
But, shifting entirely towards virtual selling hasn’t been easy. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up some top sales tips to help you ace selling in the new normal.
Here are our top virtual sales tips for 2021:
- Help your team transition.
- Engage with new prospects.
- Employ unconventional thinking.
- Take charge of your own communication.
- Learn to read the room.
- Practice makes perfect.
- Leave it to the experts.
Let’s explore these virtual selling tips in more detail.
1. Help Your Team Transition
Lockdowns due to the pandemic came swiftly, leaving our employees and customers scrambling to create make-shift work-from-home policies. It wasn’t easy to adjust to the sudden change, even more so for sales teams.
Give your sales team the chance to get used to the new way of doing things. It’s likely they are mostly extroverts who thrive in face-to-face sales … and they may have trouble being productive in isolated, remote working environments. They’ll undoubtedly appreciate any training or guidance to help them navigate remote working. Remember, salespeople thrive in dialog, so they’ll appreciate you spending time discussing what’s working, what’s frustrating and coming up with some creative solutions together.
2. Engage with New Prospects
While it can be difficult to envision how B2B sales teams can effectively generate leads and engage with new prospects through remote interactions, it’s time to find a way to do so. One way to ensure your virtual selling efforts have maximum impact is by focusing on look-alikes of your “A” customers.
A good place to start is with your existing customer data. What makes an ideal target buyer? Your website will become more important than ever during this time as more prospects expect to find information about your brand, products and services online before engaging with a sales rep. Work closely with your marketing team to translate existing customer and prospect data into content and offers that speak directly to your website visitors and turn them into leads.
Then, find common ground with these prospects by considering the selling strategies you employed with similar customers in the past, and translate those strategies into virtual selling efforts.
3. Employ Unconventional Thinking
“This is how we’ve always done things” is the type of thinking that will set you behind in this rapidly changing world. Instead, open your mind to the possibilities that arise when you set aside conventions. After all, that approach worked really well for the Cubs when Joe Madden upended convention by posting the lineups three days in advance instead of the night before. It wasn’t how things were typically done, but it served the needs of the players and ultimately resulted in success.
Set aside your own conventions and think about goods and services you can offer clients right now to help them weather this situation. You may have product lines that help them keep their employees and customers safe, or that will help them work from home more efficiently. Look carefully at everything you offer and ask if any of it can be used in a new context.
For example, Baltimore-based wire and sheet metal fabricator Marlin Steel Wire Products pivoted to manufacturing test-tube racks for a client conducting coronavirus testing. Although the company had never designed test-tube racks before, they sprang into action and were able to play a critical role in the client’s ability to continue testing.
4. Take Charge of Your Own Communication
The first music video on MTV in 1981 was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The shift to virtual selling we are experiencing now requires new communication acumen to keep up with the times. All the tips and expert hacks in the world aren’t going to help a sales rep who’s simply unpleasant to deal with in a virtual setting. Help your sales team find the resources they need to master virtual presentation skills: verbal, nonverbal and visual. A good place to start is to ensure you have good lighting, a clutter-free background, and have the camera at eye-level.
Don’t be this guy.
5. Learn to Read the Room
Video puts on ten pounds, visually and figuratively.
Remember, everything is exaggerated on video and the forgiveness factor is approximately zero. Calm and confident is usually a good way to go.
A common mistake salespeople make is coming off too strong and exhausting the prospect before they even get to their pitch. This is a serious problem in a virtual setting because it’s much easier for the prospect to end the conversation over the phone or Zoom if they’re feeling steamrolled.
Salespeople will want to observe and get a feel for the customer’s energy level. Communication experts call this “Mirroring your Audience.”
Timing matters more than ever in the virtual medium. So, think Lombardi Time and stay on schedule. Having a detailed agenda in advance of the meeting shows respect for your audience and keeps everyone on track.
6. When Solutions Get Complicated, Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re selling relatively simple products or services that most customers are familiar with and where questions are minimal, virtual selling is easier. However, selling complex cutting tool solutions is trickier through a virtual medium.
When salespeople have to relay in-depth, complex information virtually, then the name of the game is: Dress Rehearsal. Practice these important virtual meetings with your sales team before the live call. Figure out what visual materials need to be available in advance of the meeting to support the message. Practice the delivery until it is concise, compelling and persuasive. Then practice it again.
Customers may be just as apprehensive about buying virtually as you are about selling virtually, so sales reps can anticipate more questions and more handholding. Ask your team to pepper you with questions during your dress rehearsal, so you’re ready for virtual sales calls.
7. Leave It to the Experts
Does your company need sales representatives who expertly navigate virtual selling? Durrie Sales can help. Our industrial manufacturers’ representatives (IMRs) manage your costs, grow your pipeline, and improve your sales performance. Our experienced IMRs convert quotes, filter leads, and begin pivotal conversations with the right prospects on your behalf.
Want to know more virtual sales tips? Get in touch with us today.