Whether your selling virtually or in-person, the first minutes of an initial sales call with a new prospect are critical. This is when you build rapport with the buyer. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the ability of field reps and account executives to build rapport during face-to-face meetings. See here for how to connect with customers virtually. In addition to building a relationship with the buyer, your call opening, whether in-person or virtually, is also about establishing your credibility. That’s how you help the customer answer the question, “Why should I spend time with this salesperson?” You also increase the customer’s confidence that you will be able to solve their problem, and this will make them more likely to be open with you and share information. Here are three things you can do to establish your credibility on a virtual sales call.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the ultimate validation of the importance of leadership abilities for sales managers. In addition to navigating their teams through incredibly challenging business conditions, many sales managers have had to almost overnight re-engineer how their sales teams sell to remote customers. To emerge stronger from this crisis, now’s a great time to focus on how you can become an even better sales leader by developing your personal abilities.
Like many, I‘ve spent plenty of time watching Netflix during the COVID-19 lockdown. I recently came across Salesman, a fantastic documentary from 1969 that follows four salesmen working for the Mid-American Bible Company as they sell expensive Bibles door-to-door in low-income neighborhoods.
In the span of a few weeks, the work world has shifted en masse from regular offices to working at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For sales organizations, this means moving everything to virtual, including training.
According to industry research, sales managers that devote more than three hours of coaching per month to each of their team members achieved 107% of their team quota. On the other hand, teams that received no coaching met only 82% of their quota. Coaching works because it helps you create leverage, and leverage is the key to be a successful sales manager. Leverage means that your salespeople do the work, not you. You spend less time “putting out fires” and more time working on important issues. You create leverage by developing and coaching your team so that their skills improve. With better skills, your salespeople are better able to solve their problems without your constant involvement.
Most sales managers know they need to coach their salespeople to maximize performance, but they don’t know how to get started. When you’re confronted with a complex problem, remember what Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Here are four steps to help you think about how to start coaching your sales team.