Keys for Virtual Sales Success
2020 was a year of virtual living — from school to work to happy hours to holidays and even weddings — we all adapted to a new normal. While the transition may not have been seamless, advances in technology allowed corporate America to power through the pandemic, all while wearing pajamas.
For some, this sudden shift to remote work didn’t necessarily disrupt day-to-day tasks. That was not the case for sales professionals. A role built almost entirely on forming relationships and deepening human connections now needed to be done exclusively behind a screen.
Over the course of the year, the authors of the book Virtual Selling learned four virtual imperatives for selling in this new environment; connect, engage, collaborate, influence. Let’s explore each one.
Imperative #1: Connect
Connection is the basic principle of sales. Before even thinking about delivering your sales pitch, the focus must be on establishing a genuine connection, genuine being the key word, and building rapport. To do this virtually, rather than relying on email and phone calls, use Zoom meetings to ensure you’re getting valuable “face time” with those decision makers. Putting a face to a name makes a connection more personal.
Imperative #2: Engage
One downfall of doing everything online is the number of distractions present at all times. It’s much harder to disguise multi-tasking, or just lack of paying attention, in person than it is in a virtual meeting. When hosting a virtual meeting, make sure you open with something that captures your audience’s attention from the start. Once that’s accomplished, make sure you’re engaging them throughout whether by asking for their participation, inviting collaboration, or answering questions. Visual aids are also important — graphs, diagrams and even videos go a long way.
Imperative #3: Collaborate
Speaking of collaboration, this mutual interaction throughout the sales process is key. A good sales person doesn’t talk at someone, they guide a mutual conversation toward a common goal. The more people feel involved in the sales process, the more accountability and investment they’ll feel toward the end result. When collaborating virtually, take advantage of things like screen share or breakout rooms to give everyone a chance to voice their thoughts.
Imperative #4: Influence
At the end of the day, your primary goal in sales is to influence and persuade your audience to do something differently. There are so many virtual mediums you can use to connect with buyers and you should be connecting with them through more than just one. Take advantage of these channels but make sure the content you’re sharing is best suited for each. For example, send an email with a relevant case study, share a positive client review on LinkedIn, retweet an industry influencer, tag someone in an Instagram giveaway — the possibilities are endless. The goal is to always be top of mind.
The Bottom Line
We’ve made a lot of adaptations over the past year due to the pandemic, while some things we’re happy to leave behind (working out in face masks), others are here to stay. Now that we know it is possible to do our jobs remotely, we need to continue refining what that looks like. For sales professionals, focus on the four imperatives for virtual success: connect, engage, collaborate, influence.