Let’s face it, most businesses are now operating in a national, if not global, arena. This often means that part, or in some cases all, of the sales process is already carried out via virtual meetings rather than face to face. There are so many reasons why businesses do this including practicality and cost. For some business models, such as those selling SaaS products, keeping all communication virtual works effectively and seamlessly. There is no product to physically see, all benefits can be communicated virtually and typically your investment is likely to be a monthly subscription, so far less risky than other models.
But what if your business is providing a service, like us. We find it very effective to utilise virtual meetings at the beginning of the sales process, but as our conversations deepen, we find that prospects often look for a face to face meeting and a visit to our offices to put their mind at ease around our setup. Usually this works very well for us, as we are always happy to show people around our office, introduce them to members of our team, have lunch with them and discuss everything face to face.
Having transferred our sales process to only utilise virtual meetings, because face to face meetings are not an option at present, we wanted to share this experience with you alongside some of our tips, to help you along the way.
Manage and prepare
Just because the call is virtual not face to face, doesn’t mean you should skip the preparation. If anything, preparation becomes even more important.
Ensure the meeting is in the diary with the correct virtual meeting information. Test this if you are at all unsure or if you’re using a new piece of software. There’s nothing worse than falling at the first hurdle and not being able to connect together.
Then think about background noise and background appearance. Important both in the office and when working at home. You need to be able to have a clear conversation without being distracted by extremely loud noise or something peculiar lurking in the background. This can’t always be avoided – if you’re currently isolated at home with your family people understand a little background noise, but if you can prepare to be furthest possible away from this or pre-warn at the beginning of the call, then this is likely to be easier to manage if any background noise is heard.
We’ve all done it in virtual meetings – you’re completely focused on what your prospect or client is saying but then an email flashes up or you receive an instant message from a member of your team, and suddenly you’re distracted. You didn’t mean to be, but it was that easy. You’ve then missed what your prospect or client has said, you need to stay composed as you’re on camera, but you need to ensure that you are up to date with the conversation. It’s easily done but can cost you a lot, in some cases even the sale if you’ve missed something vital.
Help yourself to avoid distractions in the first place. Turn off your email notifications, shut down your team instant messenger and only leave open what is required for the call so that you minimise the chances of this happening to you.
Accept the differences to your sales process
If you need to make changes to your sales process to shift to only virtual meetings instead of a mixture of virtual and face to face, accept it. This will change the sales process. For some it may change it for the better – you may see people making decisions quicker, as you can get multiple stakeholders on to virtual calls quicker, travel doesn’t have to be arranged and therefore your process becomes shorter. For others being unable to accommodate face to face meetings right now may extend your pipeline if your prospect simply isn’t happy to commit until they’ve physically met you or viewed your operations.
Either way it is about adapting to make the most of your sales opportunities. Is there the option for the prospect to virtually meet your team rather than physically? Does that get over a barrier? Do you have a video of your office or a virtual walk through that you could provide in the meantime to give them the taster of the operations that they request? It’s about adapting to how you can make the most out of virtual meetings, email communication and telephone calls so the prospect is fully informed, comfortable with the options available to them and heading towards the next steps.