Connection. This is required to gain the loyalty of customers. But how do you gain or maintain connection when you can’t meet face to face?
This is a question a lot of people who sell (including entrepreneurs and solopreneurs) are grappling with right now. They’re used to travelling to visit their customers at their workplaces, or offering their products at conferences and trade shows. Now those reps are forced to move inside, and are trying to discover new ways to connect with their customers.
The sales process, by necessity, has moved from face-to-face to virtual. It may not be the best way, but technology has afforded us the opportunity to have the body language and tone of voice components of communication added to the words.
Here are some communication skills, aided by technology, that every person who sells should include in conversations with clients and prospects:
Respect and Consideration. People who know me know how big I am on these two characteristics. Customers will not want to do business with you at all if you don’t give the impression you respect them and their needs and care about what they’re telling you. If you are conversing over the phone, you might feel free to make faces or slump in your chair. After all, they can’t see you, right? Wrong! Poor posture and facial gestures can affect how your voice sounds. Of course, if you are using video conferencing, your customers can see you and will be able to pick up on the nuances that demonstrate you care about the conversation. Which leads us to…
Listen well. Many, many salespeople feel the more they talk about a product, the more likely they are to sell it. However, that is just not the case. Most buyers are 57% of the way through the buying process before they even meet with a rep. They’ve already checked out your products and services online and learned a great deal about them. Your job now is to get a bead on how they feel about what they’ve learned. Technology has helped them get to this point. From there, you have to take it that bit further by listening carefully to them and answering their outstanding questions. Fail to do that, and they’ll move on to a competitor who will listen.
Build relationships with customers. If you prove to be a good listener, your customers will feel heard and understood, and that takes them a very long way toward developing a relationship that will result in sales and ongoing business. If you're paying attention to the relationship with customers, you’ll also pay attention to them throughout the sales cycle. Communicate progress on goals and advise what stage of the process their product/service delivery is at. Email is an excellent communication tool for this. You are feeling removed from your customers, since you can’t meet in person, and they’re feeling removed from you. Alleviate some of their stress by being proactive with your communication.
Build relationships with team members. As a salesperson, you should be seeking to cultivate the kinds of relationships that generate long-term business and referrals. This type of relationship is going to take a team to service. You’ll need to be communicating constantly with your team and other departments within the company. Tools like Slack and other IM apps will be key to maintaining that flow of communication. Remember, other technology (like virtual conferencing, or phone) are better if the conversation is complex. So, you see, you need all kinds of different relationships to be successful in sales, and all of them are important to cultivate and tend.
Use technology to demonstrate. More than half of your prospects want to see how your product works on the first call. Embrace virtual conferencing tools and understand what features they offer to help you bring the experience as close as possible to your customer. You may not be meeting them across a desk or at a conference booth, but you can still show customers how the product works, what accessories come with it, etc. At the same time, your customer can ask questions and receive responses in real time.
Use technology to stay in touch. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems provide companies with an inclusive view of the customer relationship by integrating marketing, sales, and customer support. By keeping track on all customer data and touch points (lead opportunities, calls, meetings, email contacts, etc.), you will always know exactly how the sale and purchase are progressing. You'll also know when and how to best stay in touch with all stakeholders in the transaction.
Over the last 7 months, we’ve had to use virtual tools to carry on business. Now it’s time to consider this list of communication tips and embrace what technology can do to help us help our customers.
Join us for Outside In: Reframing the Sales Mindset. In this Sales Hat Training course, we’ll look at Adapting Your Sales Process from Face-to-Face to Virtual and Engaging Customers Better by Embracing Technology and Tools. These are just two of the 7 focus areas we cover in the course. The next intake happens October 20, so you’re just in time to register. Proving we practice what we preach, we’re using technology to deliver this course live via virtual instructor-led training.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, or a sales professional in your organization, if you wear the sales hat for your company, this course is for you. Register today! Here's the link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/outside-in-reframing-the-sales-mindset-tickets-106481392712
We understand the cash flow realities of running a business. Please don’t let the fee structure deter you from applying. We’d love to talk to you about how we can support you in making this training happen for the people who sell in your company.