The world looks a lot different today than it did before 2020: the masks, the travel protocols, the hand sanitizers. But perhaps the most monumental change is the shift to remote work and remote sales.
A whopping 72% of white-collar workers report doing their jobs remotely these days. If you’re a professional salesperson, you’re probably one of them. And while you may have thought the shift was temporary at first, you’re likely starting to realize that remote selling is quickly becoming the new normal.
But how is remote selling affecting salespeople like you? What does remote selling mean? And how can you become world-class at doing it and learn to thrive from this massive shift?
This guide covers what remote selling is, some remote selling techniques and the pros and cons of this new world of sales. We also detail our four-step framework that shows you how to do remote sales as effectively as in-person ones.
What Is Remote Selling?
Also known as virtual selling, remote selling is selling your product or service to a buyer in a different location from you. It can be done over the phone, through video calls, or even through live chat (though rare).
While salespeople and buyers alike tended to prefer in-person sales meetings, the rise of covid has turned remote selling into the preferred method. Plus, it looks like remote work is becoming the norm for most companies.
Markets are adjusting, and new technologies are making the switch to remote selling easier. Even still, there are both pros and cons to this new medium in sales.
If you’ve not had sales training on how to sell remotely, then keep reading.
Pros & Cons of Remote Selling
As with any monumental change in the sales process, the shift to selling remotely and online meetings has its ups and downs.
- Zero Travel Time – Working from home means no more commute to the office. For you, that means a better work-life balance. On top of that, there’s less time wasted from in-person meetings (waiting for another party to show, navigating around the office, getting coffee, etc.).
- Easier to Coordinate – Connecting with the buyer has never been easier, thanks to remote selling. It takes, on average, eight touches before a lead is ready to buy. And a sizeable chunk of those touches are live meetings. The easier it is to coordinate, the faster you can move them through the sales cycle towards a purchase decision.
- Benefits of New Tech – Don’t be scared of all the new tech! There are plenty of benefits to these tools that you can use to make your job easier. Video conferencing software lets you record sales meetings for reference later or to pass on to the buyer. The digital nature of meetings enables you to patch in subject matter experts during a pitch for team selling and more effective closing. The wealth of your sales collateral collection is now at your fingertips at a moment’s notice. The list goes on, too.
- Less of a “Feel” for the Buyer – Perhaps the biggest downside is that you and the buyer are missing out on some nonverbal communication—often the “je ne sais quoi” of selling. A small scrunch of the brow, tap-tap of their finger, widening of the eyes. They all go a long way towards getting a feel for the lead and knowing how to craft the pitch.
- Seller Motivation May Be a Problem – Salespeople tend to be extroverts. We crave that personal connection. It gives us the energy we need to keep going. But the emotional disconnect of working within a remote sales team can make it harder for sales reps to stay motivated.
- Harder to Grab & Hold Attention – It’s easy to get distracted at the computer. How many times have you found yourself switching over to Twitter in the midst of reading a boring report? That ability to check email, browse the web, or even do other work with just a click puts more pressure on salespeople to keep buyers focused during a call.
4-Step Framework For Effectively Selling Remotely
So, how do you amplify the benefits, shrink the downsides, and thrive working remotely in the new age of digital sales? You can start by following this four-step framework.
This framework covers remote selling best practices that are easy to implement and ensure your future success in this brave new world of business.
#1 Get the Right Equipment
The first step to becoming a remote selling master is making sure you have all the tools and equipment you need to do the job. Of course, your company will more than likely provide these tools for you. But even still, you’ll want to be sure you have the following if you’re going to be successful.
- Video Conferencing – Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are the most popular.
- Video Recording – Great for building rapport before actual calls. Loom and CloudApp are two great options.
- Scheduling Software – Acuity, Calendly, and Square Appointments work well.
- E-Signature Software – A must-have for closing a deal online, check out PandaDoc, eSignatures.io, and DocuSign.
- Team Communication Channels – Stay in touch with your colleagues and direct reports with Slack, Google Chat, and Discord.
- CRM – More critical now than ever, make sure you’re equipped with the best CRM options like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive.
- Sales Enablement – Tools like HighSpot can deliver the right content for you to share with your customers at the right moment using AI and machine learning.
- Headphones – You’ll want to splurge for ones that are noise-canceling and comfortable so you can focus in your sales meetings no matter what your virtual work environment now consists of.
- Microphone – Avoid Bluetooth if you can and opt for wired instead.
- Lighting – You’re going to be on camera a lot. So if you lack natural light, find an LED panel so buyers can see you.
- Webcam – Find an excellent high-definition webcam. It’s best to buy a separate one if the one on your computer isn’t great.
- Internet – This is a must, of course. You’ll need a great high-speed connection since outages and laggy video will, without a doubt, lose you sales.
C) Home Office
- Ergonomic Chair
- Proper Desk
- Proper Lighting
- Laptop Stand
- External Monitor
- Reliable Keyboard & Mouse
#2 Grow Your Personality
There’s an inherent disconnect when talking over a video call compared to attending a sales meeting in person. It’s better than a plain old phone call, sure. But it’s harder to make a real, human connection when you’re staring at a bunch of pixels.
That’s why you need to grow your personality to create that connection. Get comfortable with being more enthusiastic than usual. Accentuate your body language so you can be sure buyers are picking up on it. And for god’s sake, use video as much as you can. (Pro Tip: Try looking straight into the camera to imitate in-person eye contact.)
But take care to be mindful of Zoom fatigue. And take breaks of at least 10-15 minutes between calls to prevent it from sucking up all your energy.
#3 Establish Credibility
With the lack of in-person meetings, you’re going to have to work extra hard to establish credibility with your buyer. And that’s saying a lot considering just 3% of buyers consider salespeople trustworthy.
So, how do you establish credibility early on in your sales calls? Below are just a few tips to turn you from a commission-chasing salesperson to a trusted advisor in the eyes of your buyer.
- Use personalized videos ahead of time. Video messaging helps form more of a personal connection than words on the screen.
- Be informed. Do your research about the company and the contact long before hopping on a call.
- Use a professional-looking background on the call, preferably branded. Nothing kills credibility like messy tables and poorly timed family members in the frame.
- Look the part. Dress like you would if you were on-site. Because truth be told, this is your new office.
- Be punctual. Your buyer’s time is valuable. And the more you waste it, the less they’ll want to buy from you.
- Leverage shared contacts heavily. Referrals are gold in the sales industry. And they’re fantastic at boosting credibility.
- Don’t bad mouth the competition. It’s unprofessional and will reflect on you poorly. Just don’t do it.
#4 Stay Organized on the Call
In this new world of virtual selling, buyers have less patience for meetings than if they were in person. And that means it falls to you to keep your sales meetings organized, valuable, worth your buyer’s time.
Luckily, you can do a few things to set the structure for a successful remote sales call.
A) Before the Call – You can knock out all 3 of these in a single pre-call email.
- Send them the link and login instructions. Be sure to give them tips like jumping on a few minutes early to download the software.
- Provide an overview of the agenda.
- Allow them to add any topics they want to cover.
B) During the Call – Follow the steps below to keep a tight yet informative structure for your call.
- Build rapport at the start of the meeting. Keep this section relatively short, at just a few minutes.
- Go through the agenda. It should be the same as what you sent earlier and include any changes from the buyer.
- Get buy-in from your audience with a question like, “Is there anything else you’d like to add?”
- Use an engaging sales deck that’s not overloaded with written content and is heavy on images, graphs, and videos.
- If a demo is involved, give yourself plenty of time to practice beforehand to ensure things go smoothly.
- Ask questions throughout to hold your audience’s attention.
- Wrap up, recap the content, and establish the next steps.
C) After the Call – Follow-up is a critical part of closing any sale. So be sure to follow these steps after you end the call.
- Thank them for joining you on the call and ask if they have any questions.
- Send over any sales collateral you mentioned in the presentation (case studies, product specs, etc.).
- Follow through on any next step items you said on the call.
Welcome To The New Age of Sales
No one ever said the change was easy. And while the shift to remote selling may be a bit daunting, those with an open mind are going to be the ones who come out ahead because of it.
This four-step framework for selling remotely is sure to help you acclimate to the new age of sales. And with it, you can stay ahead of the curve and start selling as effectively—nay, more effectively—than you ever did in person.