The Coronavirus pandemic brought a huge shift in the world of sales, forcing sales teams around the world to adapt and learn remote selling techniques. A study by the RAIN Group shows that pre-pandemic only 27% of salespeople used remote sales, but by May 2020 that number had increased to 71%. That’s an increase of 163%.
What’s more, the way things are going, remote selling is here to stay. A survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics revealed that 76% of global employees and 82% of employees in the U.S want to continue with remote work even after the pandemic is over. Thus, whether you are a sales leader, a sales manager, or a small business owner, you need to become an expert at remote sales moving forward.
What Is Remote Selling?
Remote selling is defined as a process in which the entire sales journey is facilitated virtually between a salesperson and their customer who are in two different geographical locations.
So in lieu of in-person meetings, emails, instant messaging, social media, and phone and video calls will be used. For example, you could be prospecting using LinkedIn and sharing relevant content to attract the prospect. This could be word or video messages personalized for the prospect.
Challenges In Remote Selling
The biggest challenge in remote selling is to keep your audience’s attention over a video call. They could be multitasking and it is harder to read their body language over a call. Moreover, if your presentation is too passive, and you don’t make an effort to interact, your audience can just sit back and work on other things while they listen to your monologue.
Tips To Succeed In Remote Sales
Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to avoid the above mistakes and to make your presentation over online meetings more effective. Here are a few:
- Join Early:
Treat an online meeting like any in-person meeting in terms of preparedness and time management. You wouldn’t keep your prospects waiting in an in-person meeting, and you shouldn’t for an online one either.
Moreover, allow for a ten-to-fifteen minute buffer between meetings, which will give you time to prepare. That way, you can go over the meeting objectives, any technical aspects you may have to cover, and top up your coffee or water.
A good way to do this is to set forty-five-minute meetings instead of 1 hour. That will give you time to get your head in the game before the next meeting.
- Share An Agenda Before The Meeting:
This helps provide context for your meeting and ensures optimal use of your time. You should outline talking points and upload and share any material that you want your prospect to go through before the meeting. This also gives your prospect a chance to add any relevant points they might want to discuss.
Meeting agendas add to your professionalism and offer an archive of past meetings and a reference of next steps and decisions made.
- Dress Professionally:
Your appearance always makes a difference in sales meetings, whether in-person or virtual. Dressing professionally shows your prospects that you are taking the meeting seriously and it gives your confidence a boost as well.
Solid colors and neutrals are preferred for online meetings as loud prints can be distracting on video. Additionally, don’t be half-dressed for video calls, because accidents do happen and that can be very embarrassing and awkward for everyone.
- Simplify Your Background And Minimize Distractions:
A cluttered background can be distracting on video calls. So, ensure that your surroundings are clean and professional looking.
If you’re using a virtual background, be aware of how it will appear to your audience. Virtual backgrounds often seem pixelated and unrealistic, which could also be quite distracting.
In fact, it is a good idea to set up a space in an out-of-the-way area of your house to have your calls. Doing so also helps minimize distractions. Additionally, inform your family/roommates ahead of time about your meetings, so they know not to disturb you.
- Check Your Lighting And Sound Quality:
If your light source isn’t bright enough, your video will look grainy, and if it isn’t positioned properly people won’t be able to see your face while you are presenting.
So, ensure that your light source is in front of you. Bright natural light from a window works best. If that isn’t possible, however, use a two-point lighting set-up.
Similarly, be sure to check the quality of your audio before the meeting to ensure that you can be heard clearly. Use headphones with a built-in mike to minimize background noise and improve sound quality. You can also improve your video quality by upgrading your webcam.
- Position Your Camera Well And Stay In Frame:
You should be the focal point in your frame. For this, your camera should be at (or slightly above) eye-level. Additionally, your distance from your camera is important. Your head and shoulders should be seen without too much or too little space around you.
Another thing to remember is that you should stay seated and stay in frame. Don’t multitask during the meeting just because you can. You won’t be able to concentrate and neither will your audience. If moving around is inevitable, be sure to inform the attendees of the same and keep your camera off. This is basic courtesy and improves the overall effectiveness of the meeting.
- Be Aware Of Your Body Language:
Your body language conveys a lot to your client about you and your professionalism. Be sure to sit straight with both feet on the ground and lean slightly forward with your arms eight to ten inches apart. Additionally, don’t forget to smile. All of this shows your clients that you are friendly and ready to engage.
- Be Empathetic To Others In The Meeting:
Everyone is still adapting to this new work environment. Therefore, it is important to be empathetic if someone forgets to mute or someone’s child comes into the frame seeking attention. Additionally, have empathy for yourself as well and don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. Just apologize and move on.
Thus, with a little practice and preparation, you can make your remote sales process as effective as your field sales one, if not more so. After all, with remote sales, geographical boundaries don’t matter as much.