A few weeks ago, I received some sad news. My great aunt passed away at the age of 104, that's right, 104! Imagine the things she has witnessed.
Our most recent presidential election was the 26th in her lifetime, elections that have produced 16 different presidents beginning with Herbert Hoover.
She survived two global pandemics.
She saw the beginning and end of prohibition (not to mention the rise and fall of Al Capone).
Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic when she was 11.
She was born at the onset of World War I and was 29 when WWII ended.
A huge Detroit Tigers baseball fan, she saw Ty Cobb play against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
She witnessed the invention of television, the birth of air and space travel, the computer, the internet, and countless other technological and commercial advances that changed the course of history.
The list goes on and on.
As I reflect on what she has lived through, I couldn’t help but think about how business and, specifically, the selling profession has evolved over the years, especially this year.
In our sales training sessions, we parallel Darwin’s 1859 Theory of Evolution with business and salespeople. Darwin describes a world in which
"Organisms must continue to grow in a profitable direction and develop new skills and traits or perish, …a world in which the surrounding conditions for life can, suddenly and drastically, improve or take a turn for the worse.”
If we substitute the words “organisms” with "businesses" or "salespeople" and “life” with “selling," his message could not be more accurate than what we as salespeople face today.
How can we adapt to the changing times and ensure we as businesses and salespeople survive in this latest evolution period?
Since we cannot engage prospects in person as we once did, we need to “develop new skills and traits or perish.” New “skills and traits” means the ability to sell virtually.
Selling virtual requires us to prepare more than ever and not leave anything to chance. To help guide your evolution to virtual selling, we made it simple by creating the 6 P’s of virtual selling. Master these, and you will be among the fittest survivors in today’s ever-changing business climate:
1. Preparation & Call Planning
Create detailed call plans complete with client research, an agenda, primary and secondary meeting goal, scripted questions, anticipated objections, and defined next steps. Distribute and review the call plan with all members of your team at least 24 hours in advance
Send the agenda and supporting materials (including decks) to the client ahead of time. This courtesy helps the client prepare and provides protection in-case of technology or internet issues.
Let the customer know in advance that you will be on camera and ask them to turn their video on as well.
2. Production Quality
Whether you like it or not, you’re now a TV studio host. Get comfortable with it, and remember to LOOK AT THE CAMERA when you’re presenting.
Test your internet speed, audio quality, and lighting PRIOR to the call. Consider using your phone for audio when possible.
Become an expert by practicing how to use all the tools within your v-meeting platform - master the use of breakout rooms, whiteboards, annotations, document sharing, video, chat, etc.
Practice toggling back and forth from different applications and turning your screen share on/off when there is a group conversation.
Have your deck in presentation mode before sharing your screen. Nobody wants to see you fumbling around with getting the presentation up and running.
Use interactive visual aids to demonstrate your value or create a business case.
Consider providing a note-taking guide in advance that follows your meeting topics. It’s a nice professional touch that helps enhance communication.
If possible, record and review a practice session of your presentation or meeting. You’ll be surprised how quickly you notice areas to improve. If you’re team selling, practice handoffs, objection handling, and choreography of the meeting. Seeing & hearing yourself is an excellent game film to study how to improve.
Dress for success!
Create a virtual background that features your company’s branding but isn’t distracting.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated with professional material, photos, and insights. Your customer will check out your page. Please make sure they’re impressed!
At Butler Street, we help companies and their people "grow in a profitable direction and develop new skills and traits." To learn more about how we can help you and your team evolve by selling virtually, contact us today!
Below is a photo of my Great Aunt Ruth taken when she was 101 – she had a hearty appetite (for food and life!)