Remote Selling Best Practices – Selling in the New Normal

headphones laying on table

Remote Selling Best Practices is part of our Selling in the New Normal Series.

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Remote selling is often looked at as the lesser skilled part of the sales profession. After all it’s “the big hitters” that fly all over the world to go meet customers face to face. There is the belief that the only way to do big deals is in person. Except that isn’t always true, even for the big hitters. In fact, I dare anyone trying to do a one hundred million-dollar, 92 country deal with all the stake holders and influencers in the room at the same time.

The very real-world scenario is most selling in B2B situations has and always will have a big part of them done remotely. A good friend of mine did over $60m in business last year with new and existing customers. Her business grew more than 20% ad she got on a total of 5 air planes (other than vacations) and 2 of those trips were for “unavoidable” national events held by her key suppliers.   

There is a time and a place for face to face sales calls, for business dinners, and conferences… but huge companies with revenues in the millions to billions rely on remote selling skills to power their growth, profitability and customer relationships. With travel greatly restricted, few people in the office, and major industry events being held virtually, your remote selling skill will make the difference in the short term.

Only a Phone Call Away – Remote Selling the old-fashioned way.

In recent years I have seen a push from some companies to get all of their staff back into offices and limit remote workers. Ironic given what is going on but that aside there is still a bias towards in person resources thinking that if a person isn’t seen then they and their offers aren’t top of mind.

That is like saying that “management by walking around” changed business forever and that strategy, planning, and math doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is a strong relationship, good communications and useful input beats the idea of getting struck by lightning every single time.

Today a phone call can mean any number of things including web conferences, actual phone calls, conference calls. In recent months the use of video is on the rise like never before and the idea that you have to be in the same place as everyone else now seems a bit silly since for the most part no one is in the same place.

A little while back we covered Phone Sales Skills if you want or need a refresher. Instead today let’s talk about 10 video call best practices. (and no whining about “Zoom Fatigue”)

Remote Selling Video Best Practices

  1. Eye Contact – Yes make eye contact. Look at the camera and don’t be weird. All kidding aside you will get use to just like it’s an in person meeting in no time.
  • Body Language – Pay attention to yours but also the other participants.  The same cues are here that are in person meetings.
  • Attire – Dress professionally like you would for any other business meeting.  A client recently showed up for one of their sales calls in a suit and tie.  Their customer wasn’t quite in the PJ’s but also wasn’t far off that. He and his team were the only ones to show up dressed like pros and no doubt it made an impression and, in their case, may have been one more thing that helped them win the business

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  • Background – You don’t need to pretend you are a YouTube star or Instagram influencer.  Still keep in mind what is behind you and who or what might walk by.
  • Sound – Simply put, basic PC audio and mics suck. They are fine for the occasional call and play back for hearing and being heard on two-way conversations, but you should consider upgrading.  Options include a USN headset, full duplex USB speaker phone, or ear buds.  All of which will improve the experience for the other participants and all of which come in budget friendly forms.  No need to spend thousands.
  • Lighting – Natural is best, too much washes you out and try not to be the creeper in the unlit room. Joking aside, light your face from the front, even a household lamp is great. If you want to spend some money there are decent “Ring Light Options in the 15 to 50-dollar range. Or borrow your kid’s set up like I have been known to do. $13.50 several shades and brightness options and I look like an old sales guy but a well-lit one.
  • Camera Placement – Try horizontal or slightly above your eye line for the best results
  • Chat Settings – The devil is always in the detail and if it’s not your bridge you won’t be able to determine this one. However, chats while at time useful can be both a distraction or down right subversive as well as a distraction.
  • Content – Yes, even on video content is still king. Plan it out and work on your delivery in advance.
  1. Follow Up – What does follow up have to do with a video call?  Everything if you are selling remotely so as part of the call itself be sure to close with a quick rundown of what was asked for and committed to prior to logging off to ensure nothing was over looked.

Remote Selling Requires You to Have a Plan

95% of success is showing up.  If you are not present and “in the room where it happens” as the song goes in the musical Hamilton then the deal will never get done. Remote selling often can be a challenge in that people aren’t always as committed to the meeting since it is not in person.  It’s your job to make sure you are there and delivering what is needed as a sales professional.  That you are keeping your customers, prospects and own team members engaged whether the room is physical or virtual.  

Basics like having an agenda, incorporating other team members for their specialties and asking questions then listening to the responses take on a new level of importance.  Sometimes people tend to be less formal, however having a plan with goals and objectives is really in everyone’s best interests

Be Present

Put your phone down, forget email as invented, no one really cares what her high school sweetheart posted on social media and pay attention.  All the meditation, morning routines and free “master classes” in the world won’t help a bit if you’re not actually dialed in.

Would you do any of those things when face to face with a customer? The don’t do them when on a phone or a web call.

Want to do it right? Turn your ringer off, set your IM to Do Not Disturb (or Busy), and Tinder can wait…a little while. Instead, focus solely on the task at hand, the conversation, the communication with all involved and listen to what is being said. Paper notes work better than digital ones according to many studies  

As always here’s a bit of proof. A Stanford University Study in 2016 showed that regular Multi Tasking increased the difficulty a person had on focusing on a single task as well as short and long term memory.

Keep the Slides Simple

This is not the time to build eye charts. Keep the charts clean and simple. You will have everything from people with double monitor sets up to some nerd on the go joining in on the phone.  That is remote selling at its finest so your slide ware needs to be clean, concise and yes impactful.

Tim Kubiak

Business Geek, Nomad, Aging Metal Head, Nerd, & Coffee Addict. plus the only big guy at Hot Yoga with 25 years of Sales and Leadership experience in organizations of all sizes.

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