Virtual prospect meetings became mainstream in 2020 because we didn’t have a choice. Yet, while they were forced, there seemed to be a “magic” to these virtual sales meetings because we no longer had to travel, only had to focus on our appearance from the waist up, and could work with anyone anywhere!
That’s why virtual meetings stuck. Though they aren’t necessary these days, virtual selling has stuck around and grown in popularity.
The Problem with Virtual Sales Meetings
It’s not all upside though. I’ve noticed a distinct inefficiency with virtual meetings too, especially for financial advisors who work with couples (or two or more people on a team who need to be involved in making a decision): Too often the sales process is drawn out because only one of the people who needs to be in the sales conversation is involved from the beginning.
For example, let’s say you’re working with a couple named Bob and Joanne. Joanne is the one who schedules the meeting, and the two of you have a wonderful conversation. In fact, Joanne tells you that you and your service are exactly what they need.
Boom! Sale made.
The problem? She realizes that Bob needs to be on board too.
“Oh, don’t worry,” she says, “He’ll agree, and I’ll make sure he’s at the next meeting.”
That sounds good and you end the meeting and think to yourself, “That went well. I have new clients starting soon.”
Then reality sets in as you get caught in a loop of continuously following up with Joanne.
- “Are you ready to schedule the next meeting with Bob?”
- “Should I talk to Bob?”
- “Should we schedule that meeting with Bob?”
- “What do you need to get going so we can get the meeting with Bob?”
And the weeks and months drag on without any progress.
Why Virtual Sales Stall
Why does the virtual sales opportunity stall?
Assumptions. Our prospects assume it’s easier for us to prepare and show up, so they have less focus to make sure everyone is ready on their end.
This, in turn, means that the person who does show up, Joanne in this example, becomes your defacto salesperson, whether you, or she, knows it or not.
Joanne had the responsibility to decipher everything you talked about and relay it to Bob in a way that he understands and believes in enough to make that next commitment, which is to talk with you. And Joanne wasn’t equipped to do that.
Hey, it’s hard enough to sell services when we’re doing it ourselves.
How to Side-Step the Pitfalls of One-Person Virtual Meetings
I suggest two strategies to avoid these pitfalls and ensure your sales process is as efficient as possible.
Best Practice Strategy #1: Request or Require Both Parties are Present
The first strategy is simple: If it’s a two-party situation, don’t have a meeting with just one person. Many advisors and professionals require both parties to be in the conversations from the beginning. Others strongly suggest it with wording such as,
“Because finances are a family affair, we know that it’s going to be most beneficial for you both to be involved. Let’s get that meeting scheduled for a time that works for both of you.”
If they’re not willing to take this hard of a stance, you can make it a strong suggestion. Just don’t fall victim to the excitement of the opportunity and believe that you need to schedule something as soon as you can even if that means only one person is present. That’s what will get you trapped in the stalled scenario.
Best Practice Strategy #2: Deputize and Empower Your New Salesperson
When a one-person meeting is the only option, empower this new “salesperson to sell!”
We’ve all been in scenarios where one person in the couple or on the team insists, they’re “doing the research” and then they’ll take it to their spouse/team afterward.
In these situations, we need to say something such as,
“Okay great. What is it that you need to support that conversation with your partner? (pause)
What do they need to see or to hear so that they are as excited as you are and will want to get the next meeting scheduled? (pause)
How can I support you?”
By deputizing them and equipping them to have that conversation on behalf of all of us, we have a higher probability of success.
And that success isn’t just about us earning a client to work with, it’s about us helping people and them getting our help.
If you want to speed up your process, take a look at what you’re doing early on to get the right parties in that conversation with you. That’s how you’ll realize the true efficiency possible from virtual meetings.
Financial Advisor sales training doesn’t have to focus on pushy tactics or high-pressure pitches. Genuine Sales teaches the fundamentals for sales success that allow you to be genuine, ethical, and successful!