With more virtual sales conversations occurring these days than ever, what can you do to make sure that you maximize the productivity and the efficiency of your efforts in that conversation, in that sales opportunity?
In a previous video, I shared what you can do before a conversation to help the buyer be ready and have expectations for the experience. But what do you have control over? What can you do so that you are best prepared?
The Importance of Preparation
In our control studies with clients, we found that 17 to 25% more effectiveness for achieving the right outcome occurred when people properly prepared and consistently prepared. And there are actions we can take before the conversation to make sure that we get those increased probabilities.
What Can You Control?
What you control is what you do days or moments before the conversation. So, we’re going to break the preparation into two levels for these virtual sales.
The first level is the preparation we can do in advance – hours, days even a week in advance and that includes us being ready doing our research, outlining the conversation. When we know the objective, we can determine the information exchange that needs to happen.
Prepare Your Information
What information might I need to share? How am I going to share them? What resources and tools do I have that is going to help me connect this information and make it relevant and understandable to that buyer?
Prepare Your Environment
You can also prepare your environment in advance. Make sure that if you are working in a place that you’re normally not, that the background sends the right message, that it doesn’t look like you’re working in the basement or in a closet, for example.
Prepare Your Presentation
Prepare for the flow and the format. What are you going to do to keep them engaged along the way if you’re not face-to-face? What are you going to be able to have them look at? What are you going to be able to have them touch? What are you going to be able to think about? Plan that out in advance.
Prepare Your Resources and Your Backup Plan
Whatever tools you’re using, practice using them and have a backup planned.
The other day, I was in a conversation with someone and the bandwidth on their end was pixelating the video, so we turned off the video, but then even the audio was very choppy, so we switched to phone.
So the best practice is knowing how to troubleshoot and having a backup plan ready that you can quickly switch to. That way you’re not wasting valuable time and worst of all, you’re not wasting the flow that you have going with the buyer.
Set the Stage
Also, depending on your buyer and situation, what can you send them physically in advance? I have one advisor in New York who got an important virtual meeting with a center of influence and he sent him lunch to be delivered to him in advance. That sure caught their attention.
Depending on your situation, can you send an e-gift card for a coffee house so that you can have a virtual coffee together? Or is there some type of document that you could send them in advance instead of them pulling it up on the screen or having to print it out themselves when maybe they don’t have those capabilities?
The Moments Leading Up to the Conversation
The second level of preparation that you can take is the moments and minutes right before the interaction. What can you do to engage them when they join, whether it’s an audio or video conversation.
So, first of all, get on whatever platform you’re using a few minutes early. If it’s that buyer’s first time using that platform, they might be on early to make sure that they can troubleshoot and that it’s going to work for them. So, be there early so that you can help them and not waste precious schedule time.
Second, get rid of all your distractions. Remove things from your sight line that might cause you to avert your eyes or to pull your brain away from the information and conversation exchange that’s happening.
Look the Part
Next, make sure your appearance is appropriate. Depending on who your buyer is, what are their expectations of looking at you? What do they expect from someone with your experience level, your credentials, your knowledge? And are you looking the part even though you and the buyer aren’t physically together?
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been watching some recorded sales conversations for a client of mine, and I was surprised at how quickly the salespeople converted to being very casual in their look. And while that might seem old fashioned, it depends on who your buyer is. Certain buyers, if they’re going to be putting a lot of money or a lot of trust in you, might need to see that you look the part. T-shirts with concert logos or beer logos probably aren’t right for most buyers – unless of course you’re a liquor salesman.
Consider How You Communicate Your Message
So, in a virtual selling environment, we use our face, maybe our hands, and anything in the short periphery around us to communicate. That’s why it’s so important prior to the conversation to make sure that all these different components are representing us and the message we want to send. Make sure there is nothing that’s going to distract your prospects, and that in fact, these other elements add to them being focused on you and the information exchange that you’re having.
More to Come
Stay tuned for further videos in which I talk about the things we should do during that virtual sales conversation to achieve the right outcome. See you then.
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