Recent experience is indicating that salespeople have gone from engaging with clients in person 90% of the time, to reaching them by telephone or video-conference 90% of the time. This is a significant shift the vestiges of which will always remain, as a legacy of COVID-19.
The skills we’ve spent many years developing, workshopping and engraining, now need to be morphed to address three different types of sales call. We need to be more versatile, flexible and dynamic to make the most of every interaction.
So what are these trends more precisely and how can we get an edge and help our message be more memorable?
It would surprise few to know that a strong call opening over the phone or on video-conference is even more important than it is in person. So what is your content “hook” to arrest the listener’s attention? And how does your phone call or video conference call to the client integrate with your previous and follow-up interactions to ensure good call continuity?
Video-conferences are a visual experience: take the time to set up your “shot” with the right background, add warm lighting (don’t have a window behind you or you’ll have shadow on your face), and find a quiet space. These qualities will deliver a nice “establishing shot” and encourage the audience to focus on your face and your message; not any distractions surrounding you.
Reports from the frontline for those precious in-person meetings show that there is still a tenderness post-COVID-19, a worry or anxiety in the community which requires a Rep to ensure they are absolutely respectful and 100% patient-focused, or coming “from the right place.” Connecting to your purpose and serving your clients has never been more important.
But, at the same time: Don’t be afraid to sell! Ask probing questions. Listen. Present compelling solutions and be sensitive to time. Too many Australian sales meetings waste too much quality time building rapport. I’m not suggesting a lurch to the transactional, but be professional and business-like. Be guided by client value.
Practise these new interactions to ensure your delivery is conversational, but memorable, focused on real value for the customer. If it is good enough for a senior politician to rehearse their “talking points” out loud, why are salespeople so reluctant to practise to ensure an improved outcome? #perfectpracticemakesperfect
The analogy of being physically flexible, more than bears the weight of this argument. To develop flexibility attending one Pilates class is not enough, physical suppleness requires sustained effort: small amounts regularly rehearsed, then, over time, we’ll see improvement.
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