Inner Leader

Virtual sales teams: here’s how to excel at remote selling

Remote selling tips for virtual sales teams

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 28.8 per cent of sales calls were virtual. When the world locked down, that shot up to 100 per cent. Far from experiencing the predicted slump, sales team leaders were pleased to discover that virtual selling was proving more effective than in-person.

As a salesperson, you’ve likely become part of a new virtual sales team. You’re expected to keep hitting those targets from your home office. Now that virtual selling is becoming the norm, it’s time to level up your remote selling skills.

Unlock the tools you need to keep making those sales with our 10 virtual selling tips.

Remote selling tips for virtual sales teams

Virtual selling offers big opportunities for business growth. But whether you’re a seasoned in-person rep or you’re coming to the practice new, there are a few common stumbling blocks.

Loss of control
Faced with new technology and a new set of skills to learn, you may feel a loss of control as your role changes shape.

Relationship building
Pre-COVID, you might have met your prospects in a more social setting for meals or coffees. In the virtual world, calls tend to be shorter and more business-focused. But without the opportunity to get to know your clients face to face, there’s a risk that your pitch won’t hit the right note.

Holding attention
Similarly, in an in-person setting, your buyer would have to work hard to ignore your sales talk. Your flashy demo or dynamic pitch might lack the same gravitas when conducted over video. Particularly if you’re selling physical goods which the customer can no longer touch and test.

Your buyer is also more likely to become distracted by their environment, making it less likely they’ll remember or purchase your product.

Virtual meeting fatigue
Another post-COVID condition we’re all familiar with is Zoom-fatigue. We’re spending longer than ever on video calls both for work and to keep in touch with loved ones. Experts say the effort of social engagement multiplies in the virtual setting. The stress caused by technological glitches adds to the exhausting nature of video calls.

We know that video calling is an invaluable tool for salespeople. But to be effective, it’s important to acknowledge these challenges in your techniques. Plan how to make your call stand out, how to ensure it’s relaxing, pleasant and memorable for your buyer.

That means learning the tricks to use virtual selling to your advantage.

What are the benefits of selling virtually?

Now that we’ve covered the potential challenges, let’s look at the many benefits of virtual selling.

What better place to start than your prospects. 65 per cent of decision-makers find online sales more effective than in-person.

Where possible, opt for a video over a voice call. A study found that effective body language increased reps’ sales figures by 56 per cent.

Here are some more reasons why virtual calling is a valuable sales tool.

Efficient
Not only is virtual selling more effective, it’s also more efficient. Research suggests that not travelling between meetings can give you as much as 10 per cent of your time back. You can schedule more meetings and enjoy more time with your prospects.

Or, invest that 10 per cent in brushing up on your virtual sales skills with some training.

Customer service
Modern decision-makers are warming up to the virtual sales call. 75 per cent of buyers would rather not waste time meeting face to face.

When you’re calling rather than visiting in person, you can make contact sooner. Research shows that the likelihood of conversion increases by nearly 400 per cent when you make contact within the first minute of lead generation.

You can also up the frequency of your calls when dialling from your desk. It takes just six calls to convert 93 per cent of leads.

Technology
Rather than fearing glitches and screen freeze, consider the ways technology can make your job easier. Placing those six calls becomes almost effortless with appointment scheduling and reminder tools.

Advanced sales platforms offer in-depth analysis on your virtual sales team‘s funnel. You can establish which leads are a priority and where your customers are in their buying journey. With this information, you can tailor your calls and pitches to maximise the chance of conversion.

More personal
With a lack of meetings and less time spent on a stressful commute, your customers will have more bandwidth than normal. They’ll be spending more time on social media networking with the business community, providing plenty of opportunities for you to connect and engage.

Indeed, dialling into your prospect’s home gives you a chance to get to know them better than you might in the traditional office setting. Use these unusual circumstances as a chance to build empathy. You’ll create a bond they’re likely to remember long after the pandemic is over.

Top 10 tips for virtual sales

Now that we know the benefits of excelling at remote selling, we’re going to look at how to sell remotely with our virtual selling best practices.

Your goal during your sales call is to make it as enjoyable, relaxing and stress-free for your prospect as possible. This will help you to establish trust, build or maintain your relationship, convey who you are, and of course, promote your product.

Are you a virtual sales team leader? Check out our upcoming article on how to lead a remote sales team.

1. Be video ready

You know video calls are more effective, now it’s about preparing yourself for your best video call.

Dress appropriately. Wear smart clothes in colours that won’t blend with your chosen background. Keep it simple, avoid fussy necklines or too many accessories. You want to appear professional and trustworthy.

Next, choose a quiet, bright space with no risk of interruption. Ideally, a place that isn’t too echoey to ensure your voice is easily heard. Select a minimal, tidy background so that you’re the most interesting thing in the frame. Too many objects or details behind you will distract your buyer from your pitch.

Think about lighting. With a light source behind you or to the side, your face will be in shadow, making it harder for your buyer to read your facial expressions. Instead, sit facing the best light source so that your face is clearly visible. If your setting is dark, you can invest in an inexpensive portable light ring to solve the problem.

2. Sort your technology

Come prepared. Practice using your video calling platform so the call runs seamlessly.

Avoid using your laptop’s built-in microphone. The sound quality is tinny and echoey, making you sound less credible and engaging. Try an external condenser microphone plugged into your USB or a lavalier microphone pinned to your clothing. Either will amplify your voice and give it a rich, resonant sound that will keep your prospect listening.

A separate webcam is an inexpensive way to improve your video by producing a clearer picture than most inbuilt laptop cameras.

Plus, your inbuilt webcam usually sits too low, giving your prospect an awkward viewpoint. Position your external webcam at eye height to recreate the feeling of looking your prospect in the eye.

Finish with software to adjust the brightness and exposure of your image. The combined effect will be more credible, trustworthy and professional.

3. Prepare for the call

We know that timely calls boost conversions. Make your prospect feel like a priority by booking their call quickly. If they prefer a certain platform or time of day, work around them to ensure their comfort.

Before the call, make a few notes to keep yourself on track. What are your goals? What obstacles might you meet? What information do you want to come away with?

4. Non-verbal communication

Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up great lighting, visuals and audio, make the most of it. According to Albert Mehrabian, communication is 7 per cent spoken, 38 per cent voice and 55 per cent body language.

Adapt your existing interpersonal skills for video to appear calm, engaged and enthusiastic.

Avoid fidgeting and maintain a good posture. Show engagement by leaning forward. Use hand gestures to emphasise certain points without overdoing and distracting your client.

Maintain eye contact with the webcam so that your prospect feels you’re looking directly at them. Use facial expression to show alertness, interest and engagement.

Smile. It increases blood flow to your brain and lowers your body temperature making you feel more confident. But it also activates your prospect’s brain and they’re likely to smile back, building warmth and trust.

Consider also the effect of your voice. Keep your tone energetic and maintain an appropriate volume.

Just as you’re aware of your own signals, be sure to monitor the visual cues your client is giving and respond to them. In a study, negotiators reached agreements in 67 per cent of cases where they used mirroring.

Consider the DiSC personality type of your prospect. Are they Dominant, Influence, Steadiness or Conscientious? How can you adapt your approach accordingly? To find out more about DiSC assessment personality types, check out our recent blog on remote teams.

5. Open Strong

A strong opening is key to your virtual sales success.

Always thank your prospect for taking the call and confirm they have the time and space to talk. Showing courtesy and respect early on will help you build trust. Take the time to exchange warm small talk. Mention the COVID crisis with empathy and understanding. You may even discover some of your clients latest pain points.

Explain the goal of the call. Your client will feel more comfortable knowing what’s to come and where the call is leading.

6. Make a lasting impression

One way to make a lasting impression which only  39 per cent of salespeople are doing is to give value right away. Offer your prospect a new idea, a challenge or an exclusive industry insight. They will come away feeling like they gained something from your call.

Hold your client’s attention using variety, interactivity and making the pitch personal to them. Using visuals will improve how much information your buyer retains. But keep in mind that overly long PowerPoints might impact your relationship building. Instead, only write up the top 10 per cent of information you want your client to walk away thinking about.

7. Be active

Follow up your strong introduction by asking leading questions that help you build a rapport. Give your buyer a chance to share their problems.

When you aren’t speaking, actively listen and take notes. Use those notes to summarise back to your client and refer back to information shared in previous calls or meetings.

Show that you understand your client’s objections before offering alternatives.

The best sales calls happen when the buyer is active too.  A Corporate Visions study found that asking prospects to write things down or even draw a picture increased the effectiveness of the message shared and improved information recall.

8. Closing

Keep an eye out for buying signals. When your client nods, repeats benefits back to you or talks about price, ask for the sale. Do so with confidence and assurance, remembering that you’re offering something they need.

The purchase process has probably changed since you went virtual. Know and understand the new steps so that you’re confident sharing them with your buyer. Close with a summary and confirmation of action points and next steps.

9. Post call strategy

Follow up. This action builds trust and shows that you deliver on your promises. Send over any follow-up information and confirm the next steps in writing with a clear call to action.

10. Embrace the unexpected

As virtual salespeople, you need to embrace the unexpected. The likelihood is a dog will start barking or your client’s toddler will stroll into the room. See it as an opportunity to build a genuine business relationship that will far outlast the current pandemic.

As it becomes clear that remote selling is better for the buyer and better for business, it’s destined to become the new normal. Make sure you’re ready for virtual sales success by knowing how to sell remotely.

Looking to maximise your results this year? Our training for virtual sales teams will equip you with all the skills you need to handle the transition into effective remote selling.

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