How to thrive in a remote selling environment

Virtual selling is not a COVID fad, it is here to stay. Those days of traipsing up the M6 to discuss business with a customer are long gone. Customers’ expectations have changed, they are more open to buying online. Research from McKinsey found as many as 80% of B2B buyers would rather interact remotely when making purchasing decisions. Let’s be frank about it, remote sales meetings are easier to schedule, organise, and cheaper, a cost saving many businesses will happily pocket at the moment.

You may be a pro at virtual selling or a relative beginner, but one thing is certain, you will need to future proof and adapt your sales approach in order to be successful selling virtually. So, how do you achieve this?

Firstly ask yourself how are you selling virtually right now? Have you just copied over your in person selling process and changed the title to virtual? You wouldn’t expect a spoon to butter bread so don’t expect your sales methodology for in person selling to work as well in virtual selling. It is also important to ask yourself how do you want to be selling virtually in the future? This is a great starting point in thinking about what needs to change and then designing your sales methodology to achieve your desired outcome. There are lots of resources available online or the services of a sales coach can support this.  

Secondly, review your customer communication channels and ensure they are fit for purpose for the remote setting we are now operating in. Virtual working results in asynchronous communication, the concept that when you send a message you don’t expect an immediate response. Do your communication methods allow for this delay? For example, if you need to get a date confirmed with a customer, think about using a meeting scheduler app such as Meeting Bird which both parties have access to. Customers can book a slot that works best for them plus the app can update this in your calendar. Other collaboration tools such as Asana or Loom video can be shared with customer contacts, for them to review and input into when is most convenient for them. This flexibility of style is likely to encourage more engagement from your customer contact. 

Thirdly, ensuring you create the right environment. So, set your background for Zoom calls to demonstrate the brand of your business, perhaps your company logo, or a book you enjoy, and links to your work. Encouraging interactivity is key, using applications such as SLIDO to encourage interactive Q&A sessions, and screen share documents to capture the needs or key points discussed with customers. The beauty of virtual meetings is that you can play around and practice new ideas before you go live with customers. 

The key to thriving when remote selling is to invest in your approach, ensure you have effective communication tools, and be confident in the environment you create. This will encourage interactivity and creativity, and sales will follow!

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