While delivering a recent Virtual Selling Workshop, an attendee asked, “What are the best ways to build rapport with customers or sales prospects during a virtual sales call or meeting?” Instantly, many of the attendees agreed they too wanted to understand this very important virtual sales skill. So today, let’s dive into the tips and techniques for creating that all important rapport during your next virtual sales call or meeting.
Use Conversation Catalysts to Get Customers to Talk About Themselves
The second “P” in the Sell Greatly sales approach is Preparation. Too many salespeople overlook this important step in the sales call process. But they do so at their own peril, especially in a virtual sales call environment. Because let’s face it, it’s so much harder to create rapport with people via a video camera.
But if you just commit to performing even a basic Social Reconnaissance of your sales prospects before the first call, you’ll be able to create a list of Conversation Catalysts that you can use to get people talking about themselves.
Why is that important you ask?
Well first, the more someone tells you about themselves, the more opportunities you have to find common ground, gain insights that can help you close the sale faster, and they’ll feel better about the sales call.
Yep, research shows that talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money.
Think about that for a second. When is the last time you felt pleasure from a sales call, much less as much pleasure as you’ve felt making money or enjoying great food?
And second, all of that social recon gives you an opportunity to discover those interests, passions or philosophies you and your sales prospect have in common already. And those are GREAT jumping off points for a little “while we’re waiting for everyone to log in” side conversation banter. You remember that from your face-to-face selling meetings right? Those great little side conversations you had while you waited for folks to show up for the meeting. Those wonderful little impromptu conversations that inevitably led to relationship building moments.
And it works great for one-to-one video sales calls too. Once your sales prospect successfully logs in and gets settled, knowing a few key interest points gives you a topic to warm up the call with vs just the same old same old of “thanks for your time today…” and then jumping into your sales spiel.
Be Present on the Call
No, I’m not joking on this one. And no, I don’t mean just be present in the physical sense of the word. Instead, I’m referring to the third “P” of the Sell Greatly approach. We live in a multi-task world where receiving someone’s undivided attention is almost unheard of and practically never happens.
Think about it. When is the last time you truly had someone’s undivided attention — friend, family member or business associate — they didn’t have their phone in their hand or a tablet or a laptop. They just focused 100% of their attention on you and what you were saying.
It never happens. And that is why giving a sales prospect your completely undivided attention, actually paying attention to everything they’re telling you about themselves is so damn attractive and memorable to a sales prospect.
It’s also the number one way to create empathy with a sales prospect. Empathy is a powerful sales tool, maybe the most powerful. Because we all want to feel like we’re seen, heard and understood by another — even a sales person 😉 — in fact, it’s a downright seductive sales technique.
But it’s not just a feeling… research supports the need to be present and truly listen.
One recent study showed the most successful salespeople spend most of their sales call listening vs talking (57% to 43%), and in another study, 68% of buyers said “listening to me” was one of the most important influences on purchase decision when engaged in a virtual sales call environment!
Complete Their Education
Salespeople often chide me for what I’m about to say… but I’ll say it anyway.
There I said it. And I mean it. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY wants to feel like they’ve been “sold” something. Everyone wants to believe they made a buying decision, especially today’s self-educated buyers.
So instead of trying to tell them, show them. Use CRAP Content to let them draw their own conclusions, answer their own questions and ultimately, sell themselves on your solution as the best solution for their problem.
And the best part of this whole “show don’t tell” approach to selling is that it works even better and it’s easier to execute in a virtual vs physical environment. If you’re interested in seeing it in action, or just getting better at Virtual Selling in general, register for our next Virtual Selling Workshop.
But whether you register for that workshop or not, use content to help you create a shared journey that both you and the buyer are taking together. Let the sales prospect feel like you’re guiding them vs selling them. Let your sales call feel more like a collaboration of discovery than a Bataan Death March hurling them as fast as possible towards a sale or transaction.