Sellers have had plenty of time to get a bit more comfortable with virtual sales calls. Now it’s time to raise the bar.
According to Justin DiBella, writing for The Brevet Group, leading sales teams are “turning remote meetings into highly differentiated sales experiences. This differentiation means greater win rates and faster movement through complex decision cycles.”
Virtual sales calls are the new norm
And buyers are receptive to this. The 2023 Voice of the B2B Buyer study found online meetings are a top-preferred way of engaging with sellers.
Because of wide adoption, sellers have gotten the hang of the basics, from clearing clutter to using lighting appropriately. So now, to further differentiate and add value, level up. As DiBella explains, “In pre-pandemic ‘business-as-usual’ times, there were meeting elements that separated the best sellers. In today’s environment, there are 4 mission-critical actions that drive winning virtual meetings.”
One of the critical actions that he recommends is “extreme preparation” for your virtual sales calls. Pre-call prep has always been vital, but now, it’s even more of a success factor.
There are certain elements that make virtual-call preparation different. One difference is how you set your agenda and plan your time.
“Assume 50% less productivity in a virtual setting compared to a face-to-face,” he points out. “Did you factor-in time for building rapport and handling tech issues? Time seems to move much faster in virtual settings. Meeting time planning is a must.”
Knowing that productivity ebbs, pinpoint only one or two must-have focuses for the call. This way, you ensure the most important points get discussed. And be sure to be clear and concise with these topics. Know how to tie them into your value proposition. Also, have a clear goal of what information you want gathered.
Planning for these nuances will make the meeting go more smoothly and be effective for all.
Elay Cohen, CEO & founder of Sales Hood, suggests role-playing prior to each virtual sales call. He points out that while one can never be fully prepared, “role-play is the best way to prepare.” Before each call, do a run through with someone else (a team member, manager, etc.) to see what challenges or issues arise. This will help you be ready, and ready to think fast, for the real call.
Meetings via a screen require the host to be in control. Attendees can easily get “Zoom fatigue” or become distracted. In fact, Showpad’s State of Selling Survey found that 76% of respondents say they get more distracted when on video calls compared to in-person meetings.
This is where sellers need to tie in modern strategies with the digital delivery. “Modern selling is all about collaboration – clarifying the problem together and co-creating a solution,” DiBella explains. “Virtual meetings are not meant to be lectures. Sellers need a strategy for building in engagement and dialogue.”
Because engagement won’t always naturally happen virtually, it’s up to you to create it. DiBella suggests pre-planning for points of engagement throughout the virtual sales call. To avoid monotony, include sections for interactive discussions.
Plan open-ended questions to ask; introduce a poll to encourage dialogue. Digital whiteboards are also an engaging and creative way to include the prospects.
Steve Bookbinder, writing for Impact Plus, suggests asking yourself the following throughout the meeting:
- Is your prospect engaged?
- Are they interested in what you’re saying?
- Are you ready to respond to any questions or concerns your prospect may have?
He notes that, “Paying close attention to their engagement level will help you steer the conversation and respond. If you’re talking about a feature of your product or service and your prospect appears to have a glazed look on their face? Move on.”
Use these advanced techniques to take your virtual sales calls to the next level. Go beyond the basics to create an engaging, valuable experience for your prospects.
Photo by Martine Savard