How to be Credible During Your Virtual Sales Pitches

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Before you have the opportunity to present to a prospect, you and your organization have been studied and discussed. Based on what a potential buyer discovers about you online, you’ve either earned a certain amount of credibility, or they’ve moved on. Here’s how to boost the chances of being asked to make a sales pitch to a buyer. And in a new report, the Neuroscience of Credibility, B2B Decision Labs analysts decipher how to excel once you have the opportunity to make your virtual sales pitch.

How to be Credible Before Your Sales Pitches

The first step in being asked to make a sales pitch is to understand when the sales process begins. Back in the day, sales professionals believed the sales process began when they first reached out to a prospect. In today’s digital age, we know better. If you want buyers to consider you as a solutions provider, you must have credibility at the start of the prospect’s buying process. As C. Lee Smith, SalesFuel CEO says, “Sellers no longer make the first impression on buyers. LinkedIn and Google do.”

Our proprietary research shows that 63% of decision-​makers research salespeople on Google, LinkedIn or social media before taking a meeting or call with them. If your profile hasn’t been recently updated, start making posts on a regular basis. With so many buyers checking you out online, “your LinkedIn profile should be crafted to impress them, instead of your next employer,” advises Smith.

In addition to maintaining an active professional social media presence, you must continue to build credibility after you and the prospect connect. A key way to provide value is to ask the right questions during the discovery process. The buyer has agreed to talk with you because they think you might have a solution to their problem. Don’t disappoint them by asking questions you should already know the answers to. A thorough review of their business and their industry will give you enough information to understand major strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. Researching their industry and their place in that industry, in detail, will give you enough information to put together a game-​changing presentation.

Who Should Present?

When measuring how buyers respond to presentations, B2B Decision Labs analysts placed an EEG (electroencephalogram) cap on B2B professionals. Researchers also recorded eye movement and heart rate during the presentation. By doing so, they monitored changes in the subjects as they watched an online presenter give a sales pitch, complete with slides. Specifically, the researchers were observing whether viewers felt excited, annoyed, sad, or relaxed, among other emotional states.

One aspect of the purchase process the researchers wanted to understand was whether buyers responded better to one seller or to a two-​seller team such as a sales rep and an engineer during a formal presentation. Many of today’s sales situations involve the use of technology, which means buyers want to understand the nuances of a solution and how it will interface with legacy systems. A credible sales engineer can help to boost buyers’ confidence in the proposed solution.

Based on the buyers’ response in the B2B Decision Labs study, analysts concluded that the best outcomes resulted from watching one presenter with good speaking skills. Analysts reported, “If you must include one speaker who has subpar skills, assign that person to start the presentation, so the audience is in a positive state of mind at the end.”

The Power of Introductions

In a virtual sales meeting, how many times have you introduced yourself to the other attendees? Possibly too many times to count. Do these introductions make a difference to buyers?

Researchers analyzed buyer responses to various styles of introductions in virtual sales meetings. They found buyers were more engaged when each participant stated their name and job title. The engagement level dropped when participants went on to include other details “such as additional responsibilities and goals for the call.”

Virtual Sales Pitches and Sales Credibility

Our proprietary research reveals that sales professionals rank at the bottom of the credibility list when compared to other professionals such as physicians or teachers. The good news is you can do something about your credibility. It starts with maintaining your online reputation. And once you have a chance to make a virtual sales pitch, limit what you say when introducing yourself. Instead, put your energy into a polished presentation.

Photo by Monstera on Pexels

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.