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.
Imagine achieving phenomenal sales growth with no salespeople. Impossible? Well, Dropbox, the file storage company, founded in 2007, grew its revenues to $116 million by 2012. Its sales then rocketed to $1.46 billion by 2018. What’s even more impressive is that for most of its short life as a company, Dropbox achieved this remarkable growth with no salespeople. Dropbox has historically relied on viral growth, together with a referral marketing model, with more than 90% of its revenue generated from self-serve channels. See here and here for discussions of Dropbox’s business model. It’s easy to understand the appeal of no salespeople. No headaches or expense dealing with hiring, training, managing, and paying sales reps. So, did Dropbox discover a better (and more profitable) mousetrap?