Tips for Hosting Successful Virtual Sales Meetings
If you’re not used to hosting virtual sales meetings, you may feel uncomfortable in front of a webcam, which doesn’t allow you the opportunity to shake a person’s hand. Have many of your sales meetings, sales stand-ups, and presentations moved from in-person to online due to the coronavirus outbreak or other factors?
The good news is that you can still have a successful and productive sales meeting, even if it’s over an internet connection. In this article, we’ll share our top tips for nurturing leads and closing deals virtually.
Choose the right virtual meeting platform
These days, you have many options for connecting virtually, including Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Before you start scheduling your virtual sales appointments, you’ll want to research each platform and then decide which one is best for your needs. You may even want to test a few with a colleague or trusted friend before you have your first meeting.
Remember to look for a couple key features: signal clarity and lack of downtime, a reasonable price point for your needs, and the ability to integrate invites with your calendar of choice.
If your pitch includes a presentation, be sure you opt for an online meeting that allows screen sharing. That way, you can still show details about your product or service instead of just talking about it. Screen sharing allows you to show your screen to others in the meeting, which can be useful for visual aids, videos, testimonials, etc.
Keep your sense of humor
For most people, communicating online is still a new experience, and they’re not totally sure how to navigate the interaction. In addition, many people are suddenly working remotely, so you may experience delays and technical difficulties with your chosen platform.
Long story short: awkward moments are bound to happen. If you can maintain a sense of humor, you’ll put yourself and your prospect at ease. You’ll be more resilient, and you won’t allow any setbacks to jeopardize your presentation or meeting.
If you are having trouble maintaining a sense of humor or find yourself getting stressed during meetings, take time before the meeting to decompress. For example, drink a glass of water, and listen to a three-minute meditation exercise. This will help you clear your mind prior to a meeting and allow your sense of humor to shine through!
We get it: first, we said “be funny” and now we’re saying “be professional.” It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, and more than a few have dashed their ship on those rocks. However, it really is possible to do both.
Just because you’re not meeting in person doesn’t mean you can suddenly be more casual in your interaction. In fact, you may even need to be even more professional than you would in person. Dress as you would for an in-person meeting, and make sure that you are well-groomed. In addition, you’ll want to choose a plain, nondistracting background for video calls and eliminate distractions and loud noises from your environment.
If there are several participants in a meeting, expect that one or more may be late; have some questions or conversation starters prepared for those who are on time and waiting. Stick to generalized topics, such as the client’s business, but avoid giving them a preview of anything you plan to present in the meeting. You don’t want the other participants to feel you’ve started without them. This level of engagement can go a long way and avoids the awkwardness that sometimes happens when two strangers are waiting for someone else to join a call.
It’s also a good idea to have an agenda if you’re leading the meeting. It can be more difficult to wrangle people with an online meeting, so providing an overview of how your meeting time will be spent can be helpful. You may choose to share this agenda to help keep everyone on track, or you may keep it to yourself as a reminder of where to steer the conversation if things go too far off-topic for too long.
Maintain a positive attitude
During this pandemic, many people are struggling financially, and they feel hesitant about making decisions due to economic uncertainty. We are already exposed to enough negativity from the media; try to maintain an attitude of positivity and encouragement.
Be a good listener, and take stock of your prospect’s concerns and worries. Don’t be pushy right now. Instead, designate yourself as a resource and a support system.
It is okay to validate the client’s feelings and recognize that this is a difficult situation; it can even help you bond with the client. However, avoid an extended conversation about how bad things are, and don’t get into politics. Empathizing is one thing, but you don’t want your sales meeting to turn into a “coronavirus” rant session. Phrases like, “I hope things go back to normal soon also,” will allow you to build a bridge with the client, letting them know you’re aware of what everyone is going through, and will redirect the conversation to focus on the matter at hand.
Moving your sales presentations and meetings to a new medium can be daunting and intimidating. Remember that, at the end of the day, you’re still communicating with another human being. Choose the right remote tools for you and your team, and then just try to keep it natural. Be yourself and you’ll overcome any challenges.