Salestors, picture this. You have been able to schedule the first meeting with a new client. The session begins, and they don’t turn on their video. Instead, you receive a bland “Hello” from the black screen. You want to get to know them more to formulate the best pitch in your head, but how do you begin?
Story of every Salestor out there!
In this final piece of the Virtual Selling series, we drift over seven hacks for Salestors to host successful Virtual Meetings with clients.
1. Prepare Well in Advance:
Yes, the same old advice that never gets old! Know the client’s business, product needs and where your product can fit in. Gain some knowledge about their background through the company website, LinkedIn, or your peers in the industry. It will give you some good conversation starters besides the blatant sales pitch.
2. Make Client Comfortable:
As I said in the first article in the series, use the tools that a client is comfortable with and get familiarised. For instance, amongst platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or even a WhatsApp video call, understand which one the client prefers and devour the tool so you can utilise it well.
There are times when we use a pen and paper to explain the product to the client. The Whiteboard tool, also available in Zoom or Google Meet, can help you do that in an online meeting.
3. The First Few Responses:
The way they say hello tells a lot. A prolonged hello combined with ‘Good morning! How are you doing today?’ says they are open to conversation so go for it. They will talk with you and listen to you. On the other hand, a point-blank, monosyllabic response confirms your fears and calls for a refined pitch. You can try beating around the bush by talking about something that concerns them (which you would know based on your research!) and see if it draws any response.
We Salestors need to know the client's pulse from the first few words spoken. That’s why we need to be all-rounders.
4. Check Your Reactions:
Remember Robert Kelly interview with BBC wherein his kids strolled in followed by his flabbergasted wife? While Robert was mighty embarrassed, the host acknowledged his daughter’s presence and handled the rest well, normally carrying on with the meeting.
It is crucial to know how to react when your client’s child wanders in the room or a cat meanders. Keep a few things in mind when such a thing happens during your first meeting:
It gives you a glimpse into the life of the client. So don’t go silent and awkward. Instead, use the situation to strike a conversation, know your client well and build trust.
You and the client are attending the meeting from, probably, the comfort of your homes. There are bound to be disturbances, including gatecrashing kids, pressure cooker whistles, or just a power cut causing a temporary interruption to the call. Utilise the breaks to think about your next move. In case of an interrupted call, try and utilise another means of communication to get the conversation going.
5. Customise your ways:
It is critical to know the online meeting tool and the other communication tools preferred by the clients. For example, are they a WhatsApp person who keeps read receipts activated and responds timely? Do they respond better on LinkedIn chat or email? Or are they someone who likes to receive a phone call to gossip around before getting to the main agenda? Know their elixir and use it to forge a relationship.
6. Have Stricter SLAs:
Every client wants quick responses to their queries and concerns, irrespective of how long they take to make a decision. So set timelines for yourself to send that first follow-up email after the first call, know if they received the invoice timely, get their feedback when they have bought the product, or check on them once a month if they are staying safe in the current vulnerable times.
7. Build Trust First:
Because closures will follow. Deals go sour in the absence of trust, so be patient and honest (well, as much as you can). Open up to them so they can open up to you.
If it doesn’t turn out to be your lucky day, here’s what you can do when sweet sales deals go sour despite all your efforts.
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