Selling virtually doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that’s okay. In fact, many sales teams have had to do a lot of things they never imagined when COVID hit.
Instead of going to meet with prospects in person you’re having to conduct calls on the phone or through a video conferencing tool.
Long gone are the days of getting to meet someone at a coffee shop to have a sales conversation, now you’re stuck at home with kids running around.
Sure you might be a bit more comfortable taking sales calls virtually than you were in the beginning, but it’s not just about people feeling more comfortable selling on camera or over the phone, but about taking what used to be your in-person sales process and adapting it to a virtual process to create the best experience possible.
The better you’re able to get the hang of selling virtually, the higher chance you have of creating stronger virtual relationships, closing deals, and closing those deals faster.
If you’re nodding along as you read this and thinking, “ain’t that the truth” stick around for another few minutes as I share five virtual sales appointment strategies that will help close deals faster.
1. Set proper expectations before your first call
Your first sales call with a prospect is one of the most important calls. It sets expectations and creates the first impression between you and your prospect. So, why not get ahead of setting the first impression even earlier than your first conversation?
Since we’re talking specifically about virtual sales appointments, chances are one of the ways that someone can book a time to talk with you is through your website.
Chances are you have a place on your site where someone can either fill out a form to get in touch with you or book a call.
These are two places that you can set expectations.
Next to the form, include copy, or, even better, a video, where you let the prospect know exactly what will happen when they fill out the form.
For example, if you will be calling them within a certain time you could let them know: “Once you fill out this form, one of our sales representatives will be calling you within 24 hours to discuss x, y, and z.”
The other place is through a follow-up email. At IMPACT, we have an automated email that goes out directly after someone fills out a form on our site.
Here is an example of an email that is sent from David Little from our team:
This is where you can take it a step further by preparing the prospect for your first conversation. In the email, we recommend that you let them know where the call is taking place.
If it’s through a video tool (which we recommend instead of just phone), you need to let them know where to access the video call link.
Do they need to download certain software? Is it a link they just need to click into or do they need to call and join through their computer?
It might seem simple and like something your prospect can figure out, but it’s good to assume they won’t and get ahead of it.
You’ll also want to let them know how long the call is going to be and what you plan on covering. This will help them feel more prepared. People feel more at ease when they know what they’re walking into.
Think about all the things you want your prospect to be educated on during the first call.
What are things you find yourself talking about that could be shared ahead of time? For instance, what are the questions you get all the time on the first call and do you have resources answering those questions?
Your prospect will appreciate you providing educational resources that answer what they are looking for so that, on your first call, you can dive deeper into specifics about them and have a more valuable first conversation.
You should also provide a back-up to your virtual call situation in case you or your prospect has technical difficulties
Having a good first call helps set you apart from the competition early on and, in turn, lays a stronger foundation for closing. Think about sales experiences you’ve had where you’ve been the prospect. When you have a great first exchange with someone, you remember it versus ones that are mediocre or bad.
2. Have a solid day-of reminder to avoid no-shows
One of the biggest disappointments a salesperson can have is 100% losing a deal, but scheduling a call with someone only to have them no-show, is also right up there.
Unfortunately, with virtual sales appointments, we’re seeing no-shows happen more than ever. Think about it: When someone has committed to meeting with you in person, there is more of a sense of obligation.
That person has prepared a location, gotten ready, and is awaiting your arrival. They would feel way worse not showing up than they would if the meeting was virtual where someone likely just has to hop on a Zoom call.
This means a lot of people get away with skipping out on sales meetings. So how can you get ahead of it?
Have a solid day-of reminder.
I do truly believe that part of getting someone to show up to a call is the expectations you set and things you do ahead of that day, but you can also put things into place for day-of that will make your chances of the prospect showing up even greater.
One of the things I recommend is not relying on your calendar invite to send the reminder. You should have an email ready to go the morning of the meeting that reminds your prospect of:
Where the meeting is taking place. Are they joining through a video conference line? How do they access it? What is the backup if it doesn’t work out?
The agenda. What is happening on the first call? Did you share materials ahead of time that they needed to read/watch? Remind your prospect of what they are and re-share.
What they can expect to walk away with from the call. What is it that they can expect to gain from having this call with you?
Just like someone would feel more guilty if they made an in-person sales meeting with you and didn’t show, there is something to be said about breaking a promise to someone who’s taken the time to show their face in a video. This video should show how excited you are to meet them and your passion for what you’re sharing for them.
I recommend that you make this email automated so that it goes out without you thinking about it for every meeting.
Even if it’s automated, you can still make it feel like it’s a personal email by using personalization tokens to include their name.
You can make a 1-to-many video feel even more personalized by calling out specifics. For example, if they booked a meeting on your website you can say “I saw you just booked a meeting on our website, I’m excited to speak soon and learn more about your business.”
You can use more general times like “you” instead of their name or “your business” instead of their business name. What you don’t want to do is call out that this is a video that you are sending to everyone.
In addition to a day of email, I also recommend that, in the calendar invite, you include the resources you want them to read, the links to joining the video call, and the backup phone number.
When you are able to prepare your prospect and provide them with the tools to be best educated before the call, you’re going to save time on extra calls or back and forth communication. This cuts down on the extra time you would spend in those areas trying to close the deal.
3. Turn your camera on!
A lot of times we hear sales professionals talk about the importance of being face-to-face with prospects; that they struggle with virtual sales because they were able to build a much deeper connection when they could see the person. They could react g visibly to the things said, and just overall, build more trust.
Guess what? Virtual sales appointments can also be “face-to-face.”
That’s where video comes in. At this point in the pandemic, you’ve probably been using video more than you ever thought you would not only in your profession but in your personal life.
It’s how many of us have stayed connected with our family and friends during this time and you have to admit, there’s a different connection you make with a person when you talk to them through a video call versus on the phone.
With this in mind, one of the things we require here at IMPACT is that our sales team has their camera on for every call. In addition, our sales team lets the prospect know ahead of time that we would prefer that they also have their camera on.
Seeing each other face-to-face is how you can still build trust like you did in person. You’re able to see each other’s facial expressions and look them in the eye. This means you can visibly see when they are excited, happy, or when you’ve piqued their interest.
You can also see when you’ve lost them or they aren’t as excited. Body language plays a large role in how you steer your sales conversation and understanding it could mean the difference between a deal lost or closed.
One of the struggles that we’ve seen is that prospects don’t typically want to have their camera on. It isn’t something that’s second nature to them. In fact, most people if they aren’t having sales calls in-person expect that it’ll be a phone call.
So how do you encourage prospects to turn on their camera?
First off, as I mentioned, you should let them know that you’d like them to come prepared to have their camera on before the day of your meeting.
Think about it: If you were the prospect and you thought your meeting was just going to be an audio call, you might not have been in a place where you were planning on taking a video call, or you might not even be presentable.
In fact, you might be annoyed that someone is asking you to turn on your video when they didn’t tell you it was a thing in the first place.
In the first email you send out (see tip #1), let your prospect know that you plan to conduct the call through video and that you would like them to come prepared to turn on their video as well.
If you join the call and they still don’t have their video on don’t take that as an opportunity for you to turn yours off, in fact, you should keep it on the whole time. You should also let them know, however, that you’d really like to see their face so you could have what would feel like a face-to-face interaction.
You’d be surprised how many sales appointments I’ve had where people didn’t have their video on originally, but then got around to turning it on after I asked them too.
4. Digitize any physical collateral
One of the things I hear from sales professionals is that they are used to sharing collateral or going over things with physical documents during meetings, or that the product they are selling they are used to showing in person.
Just because you used to be only able to do those things in person doesn’t mean they can’t be adapted virtually. In fact, these are things you can’t accomplish over the phone but you can on video.
For example, if you are used to going over physical collateral, you should be working with your marketing team to get those files digitally so that during a video call you can share your screen and walk-through the documents.
Many video conferencing tools will also allow you to highlight and/or annotate on your screen. That way you can point out specific things that will help your virtual sales appointment go smoothly.
For example, GoToMeeting allows you to use a pointer, highlight, write, and spotlight specific content. It also allows attendees to do the same.
If there is an actual product or a showroom that you need to showcase, make sure you’re ready to use video for those specific things.
You can still show things to someone over a video call that you couldn’t accomplish as well through a phone call.
Digitize your assets through PDFs or recordings. Not only will this make it easier for you to share over a video call, but you will also be able to share the documents with your prospect before and after the call as well so they can review them in more detail. .
5. Be aware of your surroundings and audio
I’ve talked about this on more than one occasion in other articles that I’ve produced, but I can’t stress the importance of being aware of your surroundings and audio.
If you have a messy background or there is a lot going on behind you, it can be incredibly distracting to your prospect, and when a prospect is distracted, they aren’t going to be paying as close attention to the things that you are saying.
Your audio is also something that is not forgiving. A lot of people will quickly get annoyed if they have trouble hearing you or there is a lot of background noise.
These aren’t just things that are important in making first impressions, but important for the entirety of your sales relationship. They show your professionalism and could be the reason someone chooses to work with you over someone who doesn’t seem as put together and presentable.
Set your virtual sales calls up for success!
These are simple, yet powerful things that you can be doing as a sales professional to help make your virtual sales appointments work in your favor.
The goal of everything you do whether it be the communication in between your sales calls, or the calls themselves is to find ways to build trust virtually.
Constantly think about how you’re communicating, and how you can help make a virtual connection feel like a more in-person one. These small tactics will, in the end, help you not only create stronger relationships but they will help you close more deals, and close them faster.