I’ve just finished delivering a micro-training course on how to run engaging virtual sales meetings. It’s a bit of a hot topic at the moment, because many salespeople are feeling like fish out of water when they can’t use the tried and trusted techniques of walking into someone’s office, complimenting that person on the sales chart on the wall, the family photo on their desk, or the prize stuffed cod hanging above their desk, then blitzing the sales presentation through charm alone. Yes, once upon a time, sales trainers taught that these were great sales techniques to break the ice and build rapport.
Except they never worked. Even face to face.
The move from using cheesy small talk to open a meeting, to creating something truly valuable, started about 15 years ago. Some people in the sales world are still catching up. But we need to create something valuable, because our customers are busy people and don’t want to spend their time (and therefore their money) listening to endless “we’re the best because…” sales presentations every time they want to buy something.
Now that virtual selling has come along, fortunately for these long-suffering customers, they now have a way out. They can attend the sales meeting without wasting their time. And they do this by opening Outlook, Excel, Word, or whatever they’d rather be working on, and they start working. And as a seller, you have no idea what your customers are doing.
I did a survey of participants on this morning’s training, asking them the key challenges they have with virtual sales meetings. This is what they came up with:
- Maintaining engagement
- Checking how engaged people are
- Coping with the silences
- Keeping eyes on the camera
I’d say these are all connected. They’re all about keeping the engagement up when you can’t be there in person. But lack of engagement is just a symptom of something else. It’s a symptom of a sales meeting which is bringing no value to the participants. They’ve made a conscious decision that there’s a better way to spend their time than listening to a salesperson.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll dig into this a little further to see how we can truly bring value to our prospects so that they want to stay engaged in your meeting. For now, share your thoughts in the comments on what you should be doing, face-to-face or virtually, to ensure your prospects want to take part in your meeting.