It feels more difficult for most people to sell in a virtual world. Since 2020, everyone has had to adapt to networking, prospecting and virtual sales conversations.
Sales meetings have changed, instead of boardrooms we are seeing living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms and instead of suits, and shiny shoes we show up in hoodies, t-shirts and less make-up (albeit a trend that isn’t always setting us up for a great first impression) but what the ‘work at home’ trend has done is brought out the authenticity of people.
Kids might make a cameo appearance in your Zoom meeting or you can’t quiet a barking dog – but these are all the things that make us human and we’ve learned to embrace.
1. Selling Authentically
Remember, when a buyer performs an online search about you, your company and services they are assessing you before they meet you – in a virtual world salespeople need to realize their digital brand has never been more important. To educate their buyers they need to own that digital brand.
Sellers need to be content creators and content distributors. According to LinkedIn, The data suggests content distribution has increased over 60% in the past year. Has your LinkedIn profile had more views in the past year? My guess it has if you have a great profile and you are active on LinkedIn.
That’s why it pays to keep your profile as polished and complete as possible.
2. Leverage the Power of Your Network!
Buyers are bombarded more than ever before, sellers need to realize that their network and their companies networks are the fastest way to get in the door.
Referral selling results in a 5X greater chance of getting the meeting. This is how you get the conversation started on the right foot.
I encourage you to be a social market leader – and that means building value based relationships and aim to consistently develop experiences for all who engage with you, this will elevate you above the noise and people will remember you.
And don’t think of your interactions as a single event, instead, think of them as a campaign to create awareness – in other words, keep a conversation going.
If people are waiting for the pandemic to end and we all get back to normal before building their network and relationships…well, I’m not sure the end is in sight, so why wait.
Buyers aren’t going to wait. They are and have adapted to different ways of doing business.
Transforming your most valuable business contacts into great introductions and referrals will again be your fastest way to new opportunities. Take time today to reconnect with the network you already have, chances are you are already less than six-degrees away from someone you want to meet.
3. Focus on Problem Solving vs Product Pitching
Buyers have less patience with unempathetic salespeople.
90% of C-Suite won’t respond to a cold outreach or an impersonal sales approach. They want a human-touch that builds trust. No one has time for canned, impersonal emails that can be sent to anyone with the same title. This is what the automation tools so many are using today are meant to do and yet, how many of those go unanswered? And more importantly do you trust and want to spend time with someone who is so impersonal?
4. Building Personal Connection
Often our buyers may not know their problems and so we need to be problem finders and then problem solvers.
Be curious about your client, their industry and everything that is going on in their world. That information is out there and you will stand out when you bring that insight to the buyer because so many of your competitors will never take the time to do the research.
You can never know enough about your prospects, it’s an on-going journey and staying curious is the key and then asking informed questions.
Tips for more effective selling online:
- Use a webcam or video. According to the revenue intelligence platform Gong, deals are 127% more likely to close when using a webcam. WHY? Trust is being established when you are face to face. So, always have your camera on. Prospects want to see they are working with a human they can trust. Always turn your video on first, it is likely the buyer will then turn theirs on.
- Body language is telling. When we can see facial expressions, they are cues to know if the person is listening, paying attention and engaged in the conversation.
- Lastly, listening should go without saying but everyone can learn to stop and be a better listener.
Let the prospect lead the conversation before you suggest solutions to their problems. I am often approached via LinkedIn by someone trying to solve a problem they don’t even know I have because they have never had a conversation with me! Don’t make the mistake of not understanding the outcomes and the obstacles of your prospect.
5. Adopt a Buyer First Thinking Attitude
As I mentioned above, find ways to be a problem solver first and this is someone who develops a buyer first mentality.
I really love the insight from Craig Rosenberg, VP and Analyst at Gartner Research, “In a buyer-first mentality, sellers aim to be relevant, timely, and drive engagement. Do your research on social media and platforms like LinkedIn. Use customer data to determine customers needs and deliver something legitimately helpful, without asking for anything in return.”
Solve, Don’t Sell: Buyers want a customized buying experience. Say goodbye to the era of generic, memorized, templatized pitches and demos. Buyers have lots of choices, how will you stand out?
6. Developing New Skills for Sales
Having great people skills is a decisive advantage for sales professionals, But those people skills can be much harder to convey without the benefit of face-to-face interactions according to Irina Soriano, VP and Head of Enablement at Seismic. She advises today’s sellers to focus on letting their personality and expertise shine through in the digital space.
“Things have changed, and we have to adapt, because this, right now – that’s not going away.”
Among the key abilities that salespeople should be seeking to develop or hone:
- Virtual networking and presence – if you are not getting leads from networking then you need to improve your skills particularly in asking better questions.
- Leveraging data for your sales strategy
- Sharing meaningful content that has a purpose, not random information
- Sharpening writing skills
A big takeaway: show that you are an active and engaged member of the professional community to build confidence and trust in your expertise by leveraging social media. When you research your prospects on all social channels they may be active on, their website and other places they may be active can provide a competitive advantage and get the ear of the person you want to speak with.
If you spend more effort thinking like your customer than your sales goals, opportunities will open up. Learning from past customers, listening to why they chose you will help you hone the skills to success in virtual networking, content marketing and getting the appointments.
Superb article from someone who really knows her stuff. Thanks, JoAnne.
thanks, Joanna for reading the article and leaving your comment. I appreciate it.