Many salespeople are getting used to an environment where getting face to face is more challenging or even impossible. It can be uncomfortable; salespeople used to the richness of a face to face meeting can feel they are lacking non-verbal cues and the chance to build a deeper relationship.
Many of them are relatively new to the use of tools like Webex or, Zoom, or have seen them used internally mainly for boring meetings and presentations that lack interactivity. They are rightly reluctant to export this unengaging format to their customers. But it doesn’t need to be that way!
As we talk to clients about virtual sales skills, many of them are still thinking about replicating a face to face conversation, but just doing it via video. There are clearly many things we can do to improve people’s capability to do this and we have been training people to get the setup and lighting right, how to project themselves and use body language in a video setting and how to manage the different dynamics needed to keep people feeling involved and maintaining energy.
However, skilled salespeople are also starting to realise that tools like WebEx and Zoom particularly, can give us a whole additional range of ways to interact with customers and create engagement that can be even better in some cases than getting face to face.
These platforms give us a wide range of tools such as polls, chat, Q&A and a whole range of annotation tools which allow us to add text, images, drawings and pointers in real time to collect information and opinions and create participation. We have been training people around the world for many years to design and run highly interactive online meetings integrating these tools systematically – it requires planning as it’s hard to be spontaneous in an online meeting.
These tools are particularly useful for larger interactions where you may have multiple people from the selling and buying organisation on the call. In this environment it can be hard to engage people through 1-2-1 video conversations. The WebEx and Zoom interaction tools allow us to simultaneously engage larger groups of people and collect their views.
As we start to see signs of the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis coming under control many organisations are looking for ways to reinvent their business processes to be more resilient to an environment where we may see an extended period of travel limitations.
Others have become much more comfortable with using online meeting tools and have been impressed with how much they can achieve and the reduction in travel costs and time.
In either case most people expect a greater use of virtual meetings to be a bigger part of sales conversations and client collaboration in the future.
When evaluating the capability of a potential business partner the level of competence and confidence in using these tools is part of making and maintaining a good first impression. You don’t want to spend the first critical 30 seconds not knowing how to unmute yourself or present yourself on camera.
Most of the salespeople we talked to have never been trained to use these tools systematically to create engagement. Many have just picked up basic knowledge by using the tools. Others have looked at some YouTube videos or other online resources when they were trying to solve a particular problem. You can go a long way with this approach, the tools are not terribly complex, but using them in a confident and professional way that creates engagement and impresses customers is a real skill.
If these tools are going to be a major part of your sales methodology in the future, shouldn’t we actually train people in how to use them?
If you would like to find out more about how we help organizations to build the skills to design and run really engaging customer conversations, why not get in touch.