Top 10 Tips for Drama-Free Virtual Sales Meetings
Virtual selling is a new way to sell—and it’s so much more than simply moving your meetings online.
Some of you may think, “The best way to sell is face-to-face” or “Technology creates a barrier between me and a buyer.” The reality is that virtual selling is the best option when both sellers and buyers are working in remote or hybrid situations.
And for the foreseeable future, sellers must rely on a range of technology solutions to nurture and close deals—from virtual conference platforms to lighting to webcams.
It can be challenging to juggle tech while engaging prospects on the call and doing the best presentation possible. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air and the price of dropping any of them could be a lost sale.
The nature of virtual selling is that meeting time is shorter, it’s harder to build rapport, and you need to make every minute count. Now that 80% of sales engagements are digital, sellers must prepare before they go “on stage.”
Adapting to a New Way of Selling
One thing hasn’t changed: Good selling still depends on the seller’s ability to craft an engaging buying experience. That’s true whether you are selling virtually or in person.
Mastering virtual selling involves learning a set of tactics, processes, and technology solutions that equip you to successfully nurture prospects, share information, conduct demos, and host meetings without the benefit of being face-to-face.
Think of sales activities as happening either “frontstage” of “backstage.”
- Frontstage Activities: Synchronous communication and collaboration where you and the participants interact live through a virtual meeting, a phone call, Facetime, or in person.
- Backstage Activities: Any communication or collaboration that is asynchronous or not happening live or in real time. Examples of this include a text message, email, video, voice mail, or a digital sales room.
For virtual selling, the anchoring technology is the virtual meeting platform. The value of a reliable and drama-free platform cannot be overstated. Without a working platform, there is no frontstage selling.
Essential technologies and tools are: lighting, web camera, microphone, speakers, internet connection, and, most importantly, your virtual meeting platform. The top five platforms today are: Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams. GoToMeeting.
When selling virtually, you depend on technology—make sure you use it to the fullest extent. Here are ten tips to make sure your virtual sales meetings run smoothly and advance the deal.
10 Tips for Mastering Virtual Selling Tech
1. Invest in the best.
Using dated or mediocre technology is like wearing a cheap suit to a meeting. When your lighting, camera, and sound are sub-par, your presentation suffers too. Make sure you have good quality sound, both mic and speakers, for your presentation. Ask a peer to sound-check your equipment from a mock meeting when doing a new setup.
2. Use a direct-wired internet connection versus wireless.
A direct-wired internet connection is much more reliable than using Wi-Fi, allowing better streaming of audio and video and avoiding glitches, dropped sound or picture, and permitting a more professional presentation.
3. Be an expert on your tools.
Virtual meeting tools anchor frontstage selling. You must be fluent at using these tools to produce a better meeting experience. Every seller should have basic knowledge of the common features including microphone, speaker, screen sharing, whiteboarding, and chat features. Fluency and good habits come from repeating a set routine. Practice makes perfect, especially video practice since on-camera delivery isn’t the same as in person..
4. Test and check each tool.
Verify that your tools and each feature you want to use are working properly before every call. For example, turning on the touch-up in Zoom can help provide a better first impression, even if your lighting is not optimal.
5. Manage the mute button.
We would all be rich if we had a dollar for every time a person was muted while he/she was talking. It’s even worse when someone forgets to mute their mic while not speaking to the group. Make sure this doesn’t happen when you’re the person running the meeting. Depending on how often you speak, there are shortcuts you can take to make sure you are properly muted most of the time (e.g., on Zoom, a tap on the space bar will mute/ unmute you).
6. Share wisely.
When screen sharing, make sure participants can read what’s on the screen easily. Learn to do a presentation in full-screen slide mode as a habit, and know how to quickly zoom a document or web page when sharing your screen (i.e., Control + and Control – ). But don’t leave your shared screen on when you aren’t using slides or video so participants can see each other.
7. Explore the options.
Once you get to a higher level of fluency, you can explore the “Screen Share Only” mode as one application on your desktop. However, this requires that you understand not just the video conference tool, but also the application you are sharing. For example, Microsoft PowerPoint has numerous presentation modes that require additional knowledge for correct usage.
8. Be fluent in ALL the tech.
It’s also a good idea to know virtual meeting tools other than your own since you may be invited to someone else’s meeting that uses a different tool. Being fluent gives you a competitive advantage because you can speak everyone’s language.
9. Ask permission.
You need to ask participants’ permission for the call to be recorded, and this can be automatically done with most virtual meeting tools by default. It will announce to all participants that the meeting is being recorded when they join the meeting. It works best to offer this as a value add for the buyers, explaining that you will share the transcript of the call with them so they won’t have to take notes either.
10. Have a backup strategy.
In case of technical difficulties that forestall your virtual meeting, have a strategy in place to switch to a phone call as plan B. Make sure that you have the conference call-in number handy. A landline phone connection can be invaluable and is a low-cost alternative that will ensure your ability to immediately pivot to the dial-in number if your internet connection is lost. Have a hard copy of critical presentation material at hand, in case your computer crashes.
Become a Master of Virtual Selling
You must become a master at coordinating all the moving parts in the buying process to achieve the outcomes you want. Having a clear strategy to orchestrate the process is what separates average salespeople from the masters of virtual selling.
You will win by coordinating people and schedules, leveraging resources, and sharing key content that will help the buyer’s decision-making process while nurturing the relationship and building trust. When you become proficient at virtual selling tech, you’ll be more confident, more productive, and more able to leave the competition behind.
Download The New Virtual Selling Tech Stack: Essential Capabilities for Mastering Virtual Selling to learn the critical technology you need to build trust, nurture relationships, and close deals virtually.