Virtual Selling is Here to Stay: Maximize Your Results
Categories: Sales Conversation
Remote selling is no longer just a tactic used in part of the sales process. It's becoming the way companies do business. Previously, salespeople may have had to conduct some conversations remotely throughout the sales process. Now, it’s becoming increasingly more likely that the entire enterprise sales process will be a remote endeavor for the foreseeable future.
The Shift in Virtual Selling Preferences & Buyer Budgets:
B2B buyers are increasingly open to making new, fully remote purchases online, even for multi-year, high-value contract deals. That’s according to new research just published by McKinsey. About 70% of B2B decision makers say they’re open to making purchases in excess of $50,000 through fully remote interactions. Twenty-seven percent would spend more than $500,000 and finally, 15% at $1M+. In addition, the McKinsey authors note, buyer budgets are opening up and they’re prioritizing OPEX and CAPEX investments.
Our customers and their sales teams are beginning to see similar trends, and they’re maximizing their seller’s ability to close high-value deals in the virtual environment because of it. Improve your ability to compete as well, here’s what you can focus on to drive results:
Be prepared to nail your message
We may all be a little thankful that the remote environment doesn’t require as much memorization. Today, you can stick Post-It notes on your screen and have tough question and objection responses written out so you can deliver them with confidence. With the benefit of easy-access to content, it may be easy to let your pre-call planning and prep fall by the wayside. Don’t fall into this easy out.
Being able to glance over content may help you make sure you’re asking the right questions, but they can’t necessarily help you answer new objections or buyer concerns on the fly, in a way that’s confident and strategic. This skill is what we call “audible-ready”. Salespeople who are succeeding in a tough environment are audible-ready to confidently articulate their solution’s value and differentiation as it relates to their buyer’s biggest business problems and concerns.
As prospect budgets open up, ensure you’re prepared to have relevant and meaningful conversations with your buyer. Below are a few preparation steps you should be taking as part of your sales conversations:
- Review your Value Framework or these essential questions about your solution’s value and differentiation, and how they relate to your prospect’s PBOs and negative consequences
- Leverage what you’re hearing. Based on the Value Framework and trap-setting questions you defined in step 1; write out the questions you want to use, the answers you want to listen for, and the conclusions you need to get them to come to on their own
- Practice ways to guide the conversation toward the answers and buyer criteria you need to uncover and be prepared to pivot your entire sales conversation depending on what the buyer actually tells you
- Validate what you heard. At the end of the call and/or in your follow-up email always be sure to validate that you heard what the customer was saying. Use this conversation to lay the groundwork for your next steps, whether that’s to schedule your next conversations or open doors to new decision makers within your buyer’s organization
Listen with empathy and intent
The ability to listen with empathy and purpose is an effective way to differentiate yourself in front of the buyer. After all, there's as much differentiation in how you sell, as there is in what you sell. Especially during these ever-changing times, listening will not only help you stay relevant, but it will help you make your sales conversations more personable and empathetic, which can be difficult over a video or phone call.
What have you learned over the last five months in selling during a pandemic? What has worked, and what are some commonly asked questions and/or rebuttals that may resonate with your current prospects? Use this knowledge, write it down for later, and keep tabs on what you’ve heard and what’s worked well for you so you can leverage these relevant insights in similar conversations in future opportunities.
Focus on the basic fundamentals of good listening and effective discovery and use it to your advantage: Start by:
- Getting really good at recapping what you heard in previous conversations
- Defining what you need to listen for if you want to map what you hear or discover (negative consequences, before scenarios) to your solutions effectively
- Following up on what you’ve uncovered to get your customer to feel heard & understood
Be memorable and stick the landing
With everything going on and less in-person interactions, it’s that much more difficult to ensure your conversations, especially initial prospecting calls, don’t get lost in the shuffle. It’s easier for people to “hop off” a call without warning because they’ve got another video call scheduled or a challenge at home. Avoid this rushed goodbye, as much as you can, so you have sufficient time to end your discussion in an effective way before you start losing people.
Own the next step by:
- Knowing how you want to close out and rehearsing the ask you want to make
- Time yourself as you practice how you want to finish the call. Make sure to save 5-10 minutes of buffer time, so that if a conversation runs long, you don’t run out of time to close out
- Leave a countdown clock running on your desk and check it to make sure you're leaving enough time
- Know what you can leave out (and share in an email or on the next call) so you can save crucial time for the most important topics and discussions
Be Uncommon: Never Stop Refining Your Skills
Stay ahead of the competition by being uncommon. You’re on the right track by leveraging resources, like this article, at your disposal and using them to sharpen your sales skills. For more tips on virtual selling, check out these 7 Tips for Great Virtual Sales Conversations.
Stay ahead of the competition. Continue to be uncommon and become elite by subscribing to The Audible Ready Podcast. We post weekly episodes that share insights you can use in your current opportunities to sell larger deals and exceed your quotas.