Your Virtual Sales Persona: Five Areas to Assess for Success
Elite sellers stand out not just by what they sell but by how they sell. How you sell virtually can help you differentiate yourself from competitors and help you build trusted advisor status within your accounts.
Having a seamless and professional virtual presence is the least your buyers expect in remote sales conversations. This expectation leaves no time to let up on basic best practices. Don't let your competition win on better prep and execution.
Assess your virtual persona and ensure you’re maximizing your return from these important sales conversations. Here are some key focus areas:
1. Send an agenda that sets you up for success and maximizes your meeting time
There are a few tricks you can add to your remote process to ensure you’re making the most of your buyer’s time and leaving an impactful impression. First, send an email in advance of your conversation to clarify other logistics of the remote meeting in a way that lets your buyer know the value of the conversation.
In your reach out, add an agenda that covers the purpose, process and payoff of the call at a high level. The agenda should show the buyer the value they’ll receive and highlight any topics that they may want to think through in advance. You can use this pre-call email to ask for clarification of whether your buyer and any other participants will be joining over the phone or on video. Having this information in advance helps you effectively develop a plan for how you’re going to share collateral during the virtual meeting. Then, use their response to develop your backup plan for sharing important documents during the conversation, in case screen sharing becomes disjointed or your buyer opts to join over the phone. In advance, send any collateral you’re okay with sharing ahead of the meeting. This step can create a more seamless flow particularly if you have people joining by phone.
You’d be surprised how many salespeople don’t send this information ahead of time. Leveraging this process is a simple way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
2. Always opt for video calls
Don’t shy away from video calls or you’ll miss out on important advantages to the sales conversation. Being on video provides you with the ability to read a prospect’s body language and easily gauge your customers' non-verbal reactions in real time. Opting for a video call versus a phone call can also significantly improve your ability to build rapport with your buyer.
Keep in mind, video fatigue is now a common experience for remote workers. Be cognizant of your buyer’s schedule. If possible, ask for multiple time options that work best for them and try to be one of their first calls in the day. Choosing an earlier morning meeting can help to make sure you catch them before the fatigue sets in. Also, focus on simplifying your meeting objectives so you can choose shorter meeting times and accomplish everything you need to in that time.
If you’re setting your meeting objectives too broad or you’re trying to accomplish too much, things can quickly go awry. Certainly, you’ll have high-level meetings that require a longer duration, but on your shorter conversations, focus on the key objective you want to accomplish and prepare your agenda accordingly so you can solidify a quick and valuable video call.
3. Be prepared to nail your message to avoid the buyer leaving early
It's easier for a prospect to end a call early when they’re talking to you remotely, as opposed to when you’re sitting in their office. It’s also easier for them to tune out from what you’re saying just by looking at an email or picking up their phone. You can’t control your buyer’s actions, but you can control your presentation and how relevant it is to the needs of every participant.
Earn your right to keep talking. Prepare to keep multiple people in the video conference engaged by making the conversation immediately relevant to their specific goals or challenges. Here are three steps you can take to execute:
- Develop a well-thought-out call agenda
Research necessary information and play back previous discovery conversations. Use what you don’t know and what you do know to tie the purpose of your conversation to a big business challenge and how it impacts everyone on the call. [Dig deeper]
- Focus on the three Ps: purpose, process, payoff
Drive initial momentum in the meeting by delivering a purpose, process, payoff statement that’s relevant to each participant in the meeting. [Dig deeper]
- Build your question flow to maintain momentum and relevancy
Build out a buyer-focused question flow that will help you reach your desired outcomes. Ensure each question is meaningful and relevant to each participant. For example, if your questions are only technical focused, a CTO may be engaged but an operations manager, CRO, CEO may feel like this is wasting their time. [Dig deeper]
If you’ve executed the conversation in a way that’s valuable to each participant, you'll minimize the risk of your prospects cutting the meeting short.
4. Control what you can ahead of time:
Have you ever gotten on a call, only to realize either you can’t get the customer’s conferencing software to work, or they can’t download yours?
Remember, any given customer is going to have their own technology, security, and privacy preferences and needs. Do your best to understand their preferences and requirements so you can adjust your strategies where possible to meet these requirements, ahead of any call with the customer. Ensure you’ve got the technicalities and logistics of the video call figured out hours or even a day in advance before the meeting so you can focus on your pre-call preparation, not the logistics. If you’re prepping for a large meeting with multiple decision makers, leverage an administrator or Champion. Hop on a call with this person the day before the meeting to test the technology, or even do a full dress rehearsal for the meeting.
5. Be audible-ready for any setbacks:
Align internally with any participants from your team around the logistics, so you’re prepared ahead of time for any on-call/on-video issues. Have a defined plan for what to do if someone on your team gets disconnected. Ensure your team can pick up their role as needed and carry on with the presentation without missing a beat.
Focus on the basic fundamentals of good listening. Always be actively listening, which means giving your full attention to the speaker and their answers, so you can understand their position and how to further the conversation. Many people think they are good listeners but sadly miss the mark. Use this article to evaluate your listening skills and make necessary improvements.
When it comes to remote conversations (or any sales conversation), you can’t control everything that happens on your buyer’s side. If something doesn't go as planned, be audible-ready to adjust.
Constantly Hone the Fundamentals of Great Selling
There are certain expectations and challenges that are becoming more prevalent as remote and omnichannel selling remain the norm. Make sure your virtual selling persona and process are constantly buttoned up and focused on your buyer. We have a variety of virtual selling guides and insights you can use to up your game. Here are a few worth reviewing and sharing with your sales team.
- Virtual Selling is Here to Stay: Maximize Your Results
- Virtual Selling Tips & Tricks
- Joining Remotely: 7 Tips for Great Virtual Sales Conversations