Six months of social distancing and virtual business have zoomed past us. We have witnessed offices transition to remote settings. We have all seen our co-workers’ wood-paneled basements, three-season porches, book-lined offices — and have invited our peers into our own homes through a screen.
In this time, I have had many conversations with friends, peers and clients alike around our quickly shifting selling environment, but one conversation has truly stuck with me and left me pondering: What is the level of professionalism we should expect in a virtual selling environment? What level of coordination and orchestration can we accomplish miles away from one another in selling roles that demand alignment and consistent value? What are buyer expectations in a pandemic?
Buyer Impressions Still Count — and They May Take More Effort to Enforce
As a buyer considers making a big commitment with your organization, they still need to gain trust in your people. This trust for the time being must be generated over emails, phone calls and video conferences more than in-person interactions.
Six months ago, nearly everyone was patient as organizations scrambled to get their virtual selling and digital marketing elements in place. But now, six months later, this virtual game-face is a buyer expectation — and can make or break your dealings. Companies who have not adapted or led the way in these disruptive times can come off as inflexible and unsustainable, which are neither qualities many want to invest in.
1. Your Website Presence Matters — Buyers in the B2B realm have an expectation of seamless interfaces and relevant navigation and messaging as if they were buying from a B2C organization. They will not have patience for clunky sites that remind them of days past. And they will have even less patience for no site at all.
2. Your Video Conferencing Professionalism Matters — Everyone in the business realm and otherwise has operated with extreme flexibility and grace 1H 2020. But for top-selling organizations with huge deals on the line, professionalism takes the cake. Video conferencing should not sit your buyer in your salesperson’s kitchen or living room. Your people should not be wearing t-shirts and baseball caps when speaking to a buyer or prospect. Work-from-home may have been a fun novelty right away, but now it lacks in effect and downgrades your credibility and transmission of value messaging. Consider a branded company background for all employees, as well as a reminder email to your people for business dress code, even from home.
3. Virtual Selling Skills Need Fine-Tuning — Selling styles and skills may or may not translate through a screen. Can your buyers see your hands and expressions? Are your sellers speaking effectively and powerfully through the screen? Take time to retrain your salespeople on selling skills, within the virtual framework. Follow-up with your salespeople and provide feedback on their virtual presence, strengths, weaknesses — and techniques to improve.
Seek to Serve May Look Different in 2020 — But the Same Principles Still Apply
Our buyers are experiencing new pains alongside us — and they are in desperate need of a trusted advisor in sales to help guide them through these challenging times.
Transitioning from in-person to virtual settings can seem daunting, but the core principals of serving buyers remains. Your buyers crave new insights. They want to be warned about risks. And they expect your help in navigating toward their goals and away from their obstacles. If and when you can focus on this first and foremost, the selling will naturally follow.
Learn how HireBetter, a leading talent management firm in Austin, Texas, proactively are seeking to serve in these times of great upheaval — and how it is setting them up to win into the future.