Today, almost 90% of sales calls have moved from in-person meetings to virtual meetings or phone calls. Virtual sales calls present a whole new set of questions for sales teams, like: How do I best establish rapport when I can’t take my prospect out to lunch? How do I come across as highly professional over video? How does my process need to change—if at all?
If you’re looking for tips to help train your sales reps on how to polish their approach to virtual calls—before, during and after—here are some ideas.
Check your tech and background
It’s hard to make an awesome impression on your prospect when your video freezes up or your audio glitches. However, it’s a common occurrence—89% of virtual sellers say tech issues are the number one problem they experience. Ensure this doesn’t happen to your sales team by conducting audio, video and Wi-Fi practice runs. Do this well in advance of sales calls so you have enough time to fix issues beforehand.
Another good way to prep is to make sure your background looks professional. With many people conducting sales calls from their home, a branded backdrop can work well to transform a less-than-polished workspace into a nice-looking office. A full-color imprinted straight wall is easy to set up in home offices and makes for a good-looking background.
Practice, practice, practice
It can feel harder for sales reps to easily connect with a prospect when they’re not in-person. Trying to convince someone that your company is the best one to serve them can feel awkward over video. That’s where practicing comes in. To help your team practice, have them focus on the one thing they want their prospect to know. Make sure their pitch is as specific as possible. Set up times for your team to practice virtual sales calls, and have another team member play the role of the prospect. Not only can this exercise bring to light additional questions and areas that need to be more thoroughly covered—it helps ensure the real virtual encounter will be smooth and professional.
Ask questions—and listen
The big moment arrives—your prospect joins the call. It’s time to sell. But how do you actually use your virtual sales calls to persuade a buyer? Two huge reasons prospects don’t buy are:
- The virtual seller tried to sell something without focusing on the buyer.
- The product didn’t make sense to the buyer.
The bright side to this is that your sales approach doesn’t need to be much different than your normal in-person sales strategy—listen to what your prospect is saying and show them how you can help.
To do this, train your team to ask questions about what the buyer needs and what problem the buyer is trying to eliminate. Truly listen to their answers. Doing this before pitching your offer allows you to angle your pitch to show how your product/service can specifically solve your prospect’s pain points. This approach demonstrates your genuine interest in serving and makes your buyer feel understood.
Whether your prospect decided to go with your business on the call, is still on the fence, or even decided you’re not the perfect fit for them (yet), follow-up is crucial—80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the initial meeting. But 44% of sales reps give up after just one follow-up. Here are some effective follow-up strategies:
- Send an email outlining what you talked about and the questions your prospect raised, including your answers and the specific benefits your offer will provide.
- Mail a handwritten thank-you card. Especially after connecting virtually, a physical card thanking prospects for their time can make a memorable impression. For those who actually made a purchase, a thank-you chocolate bar makes a great gift.
- Drop off useful gifts for potential clients. A beautiful marble ceramic mug or a sophisticated-looking canvas tote is a functional item that will remind your prospective buyer of your brand every time your gift is used.
Hone your virtual sales calls
By preparing, practicing and following up with emails, handwritten notes and useful gifts for potential clients, your sales team will make more effective virtual sales calls. In turn, they’ll make a better impression and close more sales.