Building rapport, reading the ‘Zoom’ room and cutting through noise. Some of the most difficult tasks you face when selling virtually. Believe me when I say that you are far from alone in struggles to develop meaningful relationships and rapport within the nuances of a virtual world. I’ve put together this short article which I hope will give you some ideas on how to maximise your ‘virtual sell’. If you’ve got customers buying your products virtually or sales teams who are struggling, read this »
Challenges you might be facing when selling online:
- Struggling to gain buyer attention and keep them engaged online
- Feeling awkward about having sales calls online rather than face-to-face
- Tech issues. We’re talking customer and business competency. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that people vastly differ in their tech abilities and that whilst technology is great when it works… it’s horrifically frustrating when it doesn’t
- Gauging how your customer This one is a biggie. Body language is a powerful thing, and understanding how your customer feels about you, your team and your product is a lot easier when they are in front of you in a meeting, or interacting in a store.
- Uncovering needs. Remember when you could do this over a coffee?
- Filling the pipeline and prospecting, virtually.
- Leading virtual needs discovery
- Communicating value and ROI successfully
- Distractions at home
Top five things to consider when selling virtually:
1.) This is important. Make time for rapport
Don’t dive straight in. Try to think of your virtual meetings as you might a face-to-face one. See the first ten minutes as you might if waiting in line for a Costa with a customer or ordering lunch pre Covid. This time is for building rapport. Talk family, sport, food, weather. If the virtual meeting is with an existing or past customer, try to recall non-business topics they are interested in. If it’s with a prospect or new customer, this is your chance to get to know them. If your meeting is going to be held without video, ask beforehand if you can turn your camera on for at least the first five minutes so you can see your customers face and look them in the eye (despite Zoom’s best efforts to make this impossible) – face-to-face contact build trust and aids discovery. No one wants to end a call with the buyer thinking ‘I just didn’t like them’.
2.) Lead a Virtual Discovery
Essential to successfully building relationships with buyers is finding a way to discover their concerns, wants and needs.
How to lead a successful virtual discovery 101: Listen.
Customers are highly influenced by sellers who listen to them. You cannot and will not lead a successful virtual discovery if you are not listening. Sellers who listen to buyers and therefore fully understand their problems and needs are able to expand their thinking, show what’s possible, and clearly demonstrate the ROI.
3.) Show buyers how to solve a problem – inspire them with what’s possible
Once you have listened to your customer and their challenge is clear, you must succinctly demonstrate how you can solve the problem for them. This means knowing your product inside out. Attention spans are tougher to keep virtually, so the benefits and how it relates to the buyer problem need to come first. The worst thing that can happen is that they leave the virtual meeting feeling they were not understood, or that their problem was not addressed.
4.) Make a solid ROI case
Ipso facto, if you cannot communicate your value, then buyers will not buy. Communicating benefits, value and ROI – clearly – is a huge challenge at any time, let alone whilst selling virtually. Put time and energy into simple, impactful ROI messaging. Share your screen with buyers, add a couple of easy to follow stats, have an answer ready when they enquire about the direct benefits to them – you know it’s going to happen, so don’t be caught short.
5.) Differentiate yourself
Virtual ‘noise’ means it’s hard for buyers to distinguish between similar products and services. Work on what sets you and your product apart and communicate that. Try to educate buyers with new ideas and perspective – give them something that will make them remember you. Make sure you help the buyer feel like this is a collaboration between their needs and your solution, check in with them throughout the conversation to ask their opinion on things and check if everything you’re talking about makes sense. Ask them to question you on things they aren’t clear on. You don’t want buyers to feel ‘pitched at’ – so work on a back and forth rather than a one-person dialogue.
Unleashing your teams’ potential for selling virtually has never been more important (or profitable!). If you’d like to discuss these points and more in detail, or perhaps arrange for some advice for your sales team – please feel free to drop me an email, I would love to help.
I’ll be putting together more of these handy articles in future editions of Rambling On. So if you would like to receive them into your inbox every couple of weeks you can sign up, here.