Stop me if this sounds familiar: Your salesperson tells you that the first meeting with the major account was a success. The prospect loves the product! Fast forward a few more meetings with the buyer, and now the deal is bogging down. After another month or two, the deal finally dies.
While COVID-19 has forced sales organizations to make a dramatic shift towards selling virtually, it hasn’t changed human nature. Fundamentally sound sales techniques work, whether the meeting is taking place in-person or on a Zoom call.
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 is creating profound changes in how sales professionals engage with clients. While some sales professionals will likely return to their offices, the way they engage with clients has fundamentally changed since most sales call will take place virtually. Additionally, the quality of sales conversations will need to improve since many sales reps became way too reliant on existing accounts and are now faced with the difficult challenge of rebuilding their sales pipelines.
Traditionally the sales professional has been viewed with cynicism based on the perception of self-serving salespeople who are overeager to convince customers to buy the product(s) they are selling. This view is based on a long-standing stereotype of salespeople who speak more than they listen, assume they know what a customer wants or should want, and are hyper-focused on convincing customers to buy from them.
Asking great questions is an essential skill every successful sales professional must master. That’s because when you ask open-ended questions, you transform the sales call. Your focus moves away from your solution to the buyer’s problems, goals, and concerns. As a result, your customer feels listened to, while you learn key insights about what’s important to the buyer.