There's no need to mention that working from home is becoming more and more important. There are hundreds of tips on how to dress for zoom calls and what tools have which advantages. However, it’s another story with sales. Even though it is the year 2020, sales is still a face-to-face and personal business. That’s why we summed up our top 10 tips to sell successfully on virtual occasions.
Why do we mention this obvious point? Well, a virtual meeting sometimes can appear less important than a private appointment. Maybe because it's in between some other meetings or because it’s just scheduled for 30 minutes and therefore it seems less important in our head. There are plenty of reasons why, but none make it true. Also, no need to say that your vis-à-vis deserves to receive a well prepared meeting. After all, they took the time to e-meet you and most probably invested some time in preparation, too. Therefore, no matter how short or long the meeting is, always prepare yourself. Look at their website, make notes, write down questions and especially come with a coordinated presentation.
Use a platform that is easy for your customers, not you. Ideally they have already used it before. There are many solutions available on the web, but two of them, Zoom or Google Meet are very easy to use and free of charge in the basic versions, which are sufficient for one-to-one calls and several participants. You most probably know all of that already, but why do we mention it again? Well, as we said it is more important that your prospects know the tool than you do. However, you might not know this but on both platforms the background can be changed easily to paradisiacal or personalized images.
Keep calls shorter than physical meetings. Simply, because people can only concentrate well for 60 - 90 minutes. And virtual meetings are more exhausting than in-person appointments. If the meeting needs to extend to 2 hours, make sure you include breaks. Nothing is more embarrassing than being on the toilet while others call your name and ask you a question.
If you lose the internet connection, you need to act fast. First, deactivate the video function. Video needs most of your mbits. Or call the person you are talking to by phone and transmit the sound over the phone line and the picture over the Internet. This is how you reduce the bandwidth required. If the connection is lost, the rule applies that the person who was originally the caller calls again so as not to block each other. Another possibility is to use your smartphone as a hotspot. However, the best preparation does not protect against technical problems. It is important to have a troubleshooting plan or alternative ready. For example, the plan should provide an answer to what to do if a customer cannot connect. It should also be clarified what happens if the planned sales pitch cannot be carried out. We suggest having the presentation ready to send it immediately and go over it by phone. Another solution is to ask for a break and hurry to a cafe or restaurant with wifi nearby (find one before the meeting), because finding another free slot and getting a second chance is harder than asking them to wait 10 minutes. Plus, you will seem very eager and motivated.
Having connection troubles is one thing. Having a bad microphone or a noisy surrounding like a restaurant or a construction site is unprepared and unprofessional. Although a headset is not absolutely necessary, good headphones can improve the sound by reducing echoes and noise cancellation. If you are working on a PC, make sure to have tested your external camera and headset or microphone before as some PCs don’t have the best quality. Choose an appropriate workplace with a calm, subtle background. Make sure there is good lighting. Light should come from the front and never from behind. No toys, drying rack or kitchen utensils in the background. People are curious and look closely at the background. Better to choose a quiet setting and position for the camera so it points to a bookshelf or a picture wall. This way you appear more professional and prepared to the other participants.
Sit as close to the camera as possible and make sure that the camera is at eye level. If the camera is set too low, the conversation looks somehow arrogant. If it is set too high, you will appear too small – which is, especially for women, a disadvantage. If you have to do a virtual meeting with your mobile phone, make sure you don’t just hold it in your hand, but put it somewhere safely.
Regardless of whether the sales pitch takes place in person or virtually, the first impression is the most important! Remaining authentic, a positive attitude towards the person you are talking to and the topic is absolutely essential for a good sales pitch. Sympathy counts before professional competence. Always repeat questions from customers so that nothing is lost during the video transmission. Speak slowly and clearly.
Although competence, behaviour and professionality are the key to a successful sales pitch, appropriately dressing is too. Dark clothing is recommended in front of a white wall and vice versa. Do not wear striped or small checked clothes as both can produce a flicker. Women are never wrong with a classic black blazer thrown over a simple blouse, sweater or plain white t-shirt if your office dress code is casual. But as important as the first impression is, so is the last one. That’s why you should never forget to say goodbye or hang up too early. And especially think of a remarkable last sentence to stay in the mind of your lead or client.
Do you remember when a news channel has accidently showed an employee watching porn in the background? As funny as it was for us, it was bad for them. And nobody wants that, right? For that reason, close unnecessary programs in the background and do not show any confidential information. If possible, deactivate push messages that pop up on the screen. Ask the participants whether they can see the shared screen clearly. Basically, all visual tools and interactive elements are very suitable for maintaining the concentration of the participants.
Not everyone will be able to understand it, but everyone certainly knows a person to whom the following applies. DON’T come HUNGRY to a meeting. Some people, not a few, aren’t just hungry but hangry (hungry and angry) when they reach a certain point of hunger. And that can be quite dangerous. It leads to a lack of concentration, impatience and tiredness. Your vis-à-vis might think you are rude and impatient or worse, that you have no interest in talking to them at all. Hence, make sure to eat something before or if there is not time at all to have some snacks like nuts or a banana to eat - just make sure you are muted while eating the nuts. Another possibility is to ask for a 5 minute delay or after 30 minutes for a short break.
At the end of every virtual sales pitch, the most important points should be summarized. This contributes to the clear and efficient communication that is essential in virtual conversations. It is better to repeat the following steps several times to avoid the risk of misinterpretation or forgetting. The most important results and the next steps must be forwarded to the participants via e-mail after the meeting and should be recorded in a CRM system.
For all of you, who haven’t had time to read all 10 points carefully, here is a summary of it.
Challenging times call for alternatives in the sales pitch – but the calls don't have to be any less successful.