If you are like me, you have sat through more zoom sales pitches in the last 6 months than you can count. In fact, according to Business of Apps, Zoom was downloaded over 2 million times daily in March— up from just 56,000 in January. In addition, Zoom saw 30 times the amount of participants on calls at peak times through March and April compared to previous months.
With this level of rapid adoption and force participation, it is clear that virtual meetings and virtual selling are here to stay.
But, while the methods and technology used may be changing, the selling itself remains the same. Simply put, the market has shifted, but many foundational behaviors that increase sales success remain unchanged.
Here are 4 targeted things you can do to ensure you always put your best foot forward in virtual sales meetings.
Tip 1: Turn on your camera, even if they don’t.
Many sales reps assume that if a prospect does not turn on their camera at the start of the meeting, they should not turn on theirs. The reasoning for this ranges from not wanting the prospect to feel left out to just being lazy. In one case, I even heard someone say their choice not to use the camera was based on mirroring.
The reason you should ALWAYS use your camera in a sales call is that selling is all about connection, and the connection is easier when it’s visual.
By allowing the prospect to see you, it creates a personal association, even if all you are looking at are the block letters of their name. Have you ever used the phrase, “it’s great to finally put a face to a name,” in a sales meeting? That’s the significance of visual connection.
Virtual backgrounds create a similar barrier to connecting with prospects, which is why I advise sales leaders NEVER to use them.
In most meetings where virtual backgrounds are used, the user looks blocky and the background is distracting. Plus (for the record), I know you aren’t sitting on a beach, or in the office from The Office, or underwater. Personally, I love seeing the small signs of life that occupy people’s real homes and offices in the background. They’re always a great cue for connection.
Tip 2: Dress the part
Let me say first, in the early days of the pandemic, I was guilty of this mistake. I took the casualness of being at home as an excuse to wear hats and t-shirts on sales calls. My thinking was that everyone is at home so why be dressed up for no reason.
This came to an abrupt end when a client of mine saw me in a button-down and mentioned that I always wore “funny” shirts. It was then that I realized, even during a pandemic, streaming into meetings from the confines of my apartment, my personal brand is being presented.
Sales calls are like dates. You are not dressing up out of formality. You are putting your best foot forward. Don’t let the medium you are selling through decrease the strong, yet subtle factors you are able to control and personalize.
Tip 3: Be more engaging
Reading a room is a skill set that I generally excel in, which made the transition to Zoom sales calls all the more frustrating initially. Being able to see and understand the dynamics between contacts in a room allows me to prioritize where to focus my attention.
Virtual selling makes this much more difficult. The biggest difference is that you cannot simply observe. You must DRAW PEOPLE OUT.
Put some extra effort into details when asking questions. For example, don’t ask, “Are there any questions?” Instead ask, “How does this compare to other things you have seen?”
Another way to drive an engaging conversation is to stay away from what I call the “Powerpoint Nap.” This is when a seller only uses a slide deck to present to a prospect.
No-one wants a slide by slide presentation virtually presented. If you’re not engaging the prospect to actively participate in the buying process, they’re not listening. Not even a little bit.
A great exercise for sales leaders is to explore what tools are available to make presenting virtually more dynamic. Leaders who find ways to differentiate not only with the product but also the buying experience will see sales going up regardless of where the call takes place.
To use a phrase from Simon Sinek, sales is an “infinite game.” This means that adapting to a changing sales marketplace is simply part of the evolving journey that we get to be a part of in our role as sales leaders.
Be well and hit quota.