Effective Business Development When Working From Home
It’s of no surprise that 2020 started the biggest working-from-home trend in history.
Throughout April 2020, 47% of people worked remotely and 86% of those were doing so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (Office for National statistics).
Google recently announced that it’s global employee’s work-from-home policy had been extended, now allowing the majority of its 200,000 staff to work remotely until at least June 2021. One of the largest tech companies’ decision to extend their working policy into next year just indicates the expectation of a long pandemic and anticipates the way businesses operate to significantly change, now and possibly forever.
Many businesses are faced with further tough decisions about how and where their employees work from for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. If you’re in a Business Development role (which includes just about everyone that runs a small to medium size business), how can you promote and sell your product or services effectively when you can’t sit in front of your clients?
Here are the Salesworxs Top 5 tips for remote selling
Turn the right opportunity into a virtual ‘face to face’ meeting
Businesses have been able to engage with clients and prospects using video calls for years thanks to online meeting services like Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout and many others. Consider how to adapt standard practices for face-to-face meetings and turn them into virtual meetings. Don’t feel the need to jump straight into a ‘formal’ presentation, think about the things you’d typically do face to face to build empathy, establish a connection and build credibility before you get anywhere near using visual aids to help communicate your key messages.
Thinking outside the box can push you ahead of competitors and make you memorable for the right reasons. What could you send them in advance to watch or read, could you send them something in the post? There’s lots of ways to approach Business Development meetings and it’s not a one size fits all.
Focus, listening and mirroring is critical
These are critical skills in face-to-face communications but just as important when selling virtually. The added barrier of a phone or screen makes it difficult to read audience engagement, this is compounded by the endless distractions at both ends of the call. Turn off your notifications, close down your emails, silence or turn off your mobile phone. You can’t control what the client does but you can make sure you’re focused on ONE THING, your client.
Make notes and don’t be afraid to tell the client that’s what you’re doing. Most people would do this in a face to face meeting but with a camera in your face, many feel the need to constantly look into the lens, which you don’t need to do. We find that drawing mind maps is a great way to capture vital information quickly, which you can then use as part of your communication back to the client. The clients priority is their business. Use phrases or keywords that the client uses, one of the key foundations to negotiation and persuasion is mirroring. Play back to the client what they say to you.
Ensure your sales messaging is still relevant
Sales Messaging, often referred to as a Value Proposition (VP) is a set of clearly defined benefit statements that make your organisations products or services appealing to your clients. The formulation and articulation of your value proposition – the reason why people should work with you, is vital for your sales performance, yet misunderstood and undervalued by so many organisations.
So many businesses have changed in 2020 and the needs of your prospective clients may have also changed. Industries you may not have considered previously may now be your ideal clients. Adapt and update your value proposition according to how your business and your clients have changed. Make your value proposition compelling, concise and consistent. One way to do this by asking your existing clients why they work with you?
Set a sustainable pace for selling
If you and your sales team continually sell day in and day out and don’t take a break, you’ll burn out. Online sales are even more challenging and exhausting. Working 60+ hours a week won’t return a good productivity rate, and may even harm your brand.
A smaller number of well-prepared and quality pitches that have been personally planned for far outweigh a larger number of generic pitches aimed at the masses. You’ll see better results from an energised, well-prepared sales team.
Don’t forget about your existing clients!
So many businesses we work with neglect their existing clients. In the heat of the battle, the attention often shifts to new opportunities because of new business sales targets and the perception that you need to win more clients.
Existing clients will be far easier to get on the end of a video call or phone call than new clients, they are also significantly more likely to spend money with you than a new client. Our advice would be to leverage one of the many sales methodology account management techniques / plans to conduct a structured review with existing clients. Be open and honest with the client, you could even send them a copy of the sales planning tool before the video call. Most clients are like you, they want to grow and develop their business and face many of the challenges you face. Find out how they feel about you, your team, the work or products you’ve provided. Who else is approaching them, what can you do better, who else should you be building relationships with, the list goes on. You don’t need to do this all in a single call, you can break it up into a couple of calls that last maybe 15/20 minutes each.
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