Remote selling is now, more than ever, a part of sales today. Research reveals that buyers are OK with that; now, it’s up to reps to get comfortable as well. In a previous post, I shared tips for improving your virtual sales skills, thanks to insights from RAIN Today’s Mike Schultz. He had broken down his tips by focus areas, and the post highlighted just one of those (video). Now we will move on to the other four:
Remote selling: Audio matters
Obviously, when conducting sales, it’s vital that the prospect and you can hear one another. This aspect of communication can get tricky though once technology is thrown in. So many issues can come up, but reps can get ahead of them by taking note of them and being proactive. Consider these common audio issues that can be easily prevented:
- Microphone quality. Investing in a quality microphone is worth it. Likely, remote selling will continue to be a part of how you do business, so it makes sense to use something better than your computer’s internal mic.
- Dial in if needed. If there are issues with connectivity or bandwidth, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call in. Just make sure that you have an adequate cell signal or use a landline.
- Check your audio. As Schultz points out, “It’s all too common that people buy and plug in a high-quality external mic, then forget to enable it! Don’t let this be you.”
- Turn off notifications. From your cell phone to your office messaging app, make sure all of your audible and visible notifications are off. Pop-ups, dings, banners, and similar distractions are bothersome and pull you (and the prospect’s) attention away from the conversation.
- Minimize background noise. Depending on your remote selling location, it may be tough to avoid all background sounds. But the effort to minimize as much as possible will be worth it. “A high-quality mic with noise-canceling features can help minimize these at-home noises,” he writes. “If you need everyday noise reduction, you can get acoustic foam panels or other home soundproofing systems.” Also, mute your keyboard typing sounds. If that’s not possible, consider getting a quiet keyboard.
Again, depending on your remote selling location, lighting may be adequate–or it may need a bit of improvement. Thankfully, most issues are easy fixes. Typical lighting issues include:
- Facial lighting. Even when not selling in-person, the importance of emoting and eye contact remain; the prospects should be able to see your face clearly. Make sure that your face is brightly lit and visible on-screen.
- Backlighting and overhead lighting. Be conscious of the light source behind you, which can make your face darker or create shadows. Conversely, too-bright overhead lights can be harsh. Before starting the meeting, test both to make sure they’re balanced. Schultz recommends using purpose-built video lighting, desk lights, and dimmers as needed and as lighting conditions change.
When remote selling, you may or may not be in your traditional office setting. This matters. “Your background makes a strong statement about you,” Schultz explains. “It’s a big part of your brand. Many people don’t notice this until it’s pointed out to them, usually because they need to change something.” First, Schultz recommends using one of the four backgrounds, with the first being his top choice: traditional office setting backgrounds that are bright and professional, green screen/virtual, “step and repeat” banner-style, and plain monotone (like a blank wall).
Once you’ve settled on your background types, be mindful of these elements:
- Professionalism. This should be self-explanatory. Is your background tidy or does it include a messy bookcase? Is it minimal or does it include distracting pieces of art or decor? Use a critical eye to survey what your prospects will be seeing and adjust accordingly.
- Motion. If possible, keep background motion to a minimum. “People walking around and other motion in the background is distracting,” he writes. “If you’re going to be on a call, set up in an area where there’s likely to be little going on behind you.”
- Green screen. If you choose to use a virtual background, be sure to use one that utilizes a green screen. Otherwise, they can look sloppy, fuzzy and unprofessional. Also, avoid gimmicky imagery for the backdrop.
Ultimately, you are the focus when you do remote selling. Treat these meetings as you would one that is in-person; be mindful of your appearance, body language (including eye contact!), and your speaking style (no interrupting!).
All of these tips from Schultz combine to help you create and lead a professional, engaging and valuable virtual experience. “With a little forethought and preparation, you can make a great first impression with your buyers,” he adds, even when done virtually.
Photo by Surface