4 Essential Skills to Master Virtual Selling
Sales is evolving – we are moving into the era of social selling, remote engagement of customers and having to negotiation, convert and build business virtually. Of course, our next normal will allow for face-to-face interactions, but many organisations are finding they can do more business remotely, as long as their customer facing teams are equipped with the new knowledge and skills they need to do it well. Companies as varied as McKinsey, Gucci, Twitter, Unilever and many more, are all gearing up to develop their teams to be more effective remotely – when interacting both internally and as customer facing professionals.
Those organisations having success in mastering the virtual sale have one thing in common; they are focused on getting the essentials skills in place that provide the strongest platform for success. This often means re-purposing existing sales skills and developing new takes on communication, collaboration, and remote management skills.
There are 4 essential sales skills emerging from high growth companies which will help your teams sharpen their remote selling techniques:
1. De-prioritise and focus on the must-do’s.
Time compression is one of the biggest challenges for remote sales pros. Having maybe 30 minutes for a meeting means messaging must be compressed. Removing the noise and de-prioritising the ‘nice-to-do’s’ means that 1 or 2 key topics can be on the agenda – max, with clearly defined objectives shared upfront and mutual outcomes understood.
2. Plan the time.
Make the time to prepare yourself for the meeting in terms of:
- Have a clear agenda and key presentation points (with or without slides)
- Practicing your communication and body language either as video meet or audio meet (Top tip! Record the practice session with a colleague role-playing the customer and share with your manager for self-critique, feedback and advice).
- Ensuring the customer is comfortable with the agenda and are prepped with anything they need to bring to the meeting.
- Agreeing up front with the customer on the medium (video is best).
3. Your communications skill set needs to sharpen for remote impact.
Be focused on tightening up your essentials skills such as:
- Questioning for insight – creating your top 3 killer questions to extract meaningful data from your customer.
- Active listening is THE skill for remote selling.
- Voice – thinking about your tone and pitch.
- Body language (if video meeting) – eyes to the camera, remember to smile, use movement sparingly, demonstrate empathy (active listening on both informal and formal points) etc.
4. Lead the agenda and the customer through to a mutually agreeable outcome.
Building meeting management skills are key to success in mastering the virtual sale. You are managing the environment, tech and human interaction and need to:
- Fine tune your facilitation skills (particularly if you are in a group selling situation)
- Manage both the time and agenda.
- Have clear your features, benefits, and creating statements to communicate value and to positively influence your customers.