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7 Selling Skills that are Essential to Ace Remote Sales

8 minutes read

The reality of today’s sales industry is that– work-from-home and remote selling go hand in hand.

With face-to-face customer interactions becoming rare, is your sales team geared up to sell efficiently through phones, WhatsApp, social media, Zoom, or Teams?

Do you think they have the right skills to master remote sales?

Our research with 137 frontline sales professionals from across the world, revealed 7 absolutely crucial selling skills that salespeople need to have in order to ace remote sales. Read on to find out what they are:


1. Conversational Skills

Strong conversational skills are extremely crucial– be it in face-to-face sales or in remote sales. So, why are we explicitly emphasizing this skill?

Imagine you are a sales rep having a face-to-face meeting with a prospect. In such a situation, you can easily hold your prospect’s attention. But in a virtual setting– over WhatsApp or even Zoom– it’s not so easy. Your conversational skills will engage your customers effectively.

So, ensure that your sales reps “level-up” their speaking and verbal communication skills for remote sales.

Here are certain aspects that they need to work on while crafting their remote sales conversations

  • Client research

  • Selection of effective words

  • Vocal variation and tone

  • Presentation style

  • Expression of emotions

Quick-Tip: Leverage video coaching to get your reps to practice their sales conversations. They can record a video of themselves responding to a particular sales scenario, playback, and record again until it comes out perfect. You can then review their videos and coach them on the right emotions and right word usage.


2. Active & Empathy-Based Listening Skills

It’s no secret that reps need good active listening skills to

  • Establish a strong connection with clients

  • Uncover and clearly understand their pain points and intentions

But in a world struck by the pandemic, sales reps need to excel in a new skill which is a combination of active listening and empathy based listening.

What does this mean?

Customers have always appreciated someone who can patiently listen to their concerns.

When prospects talk about their difficulties and concerns during this period of crisis, sales reps need to pay close attention and empathize with them. Even if they say that they are not ready to get into business with you immediately, sales reps should go the extra mile.

This will go a long way. Your prospects will remember you and consider you at a later stage when they’re ready to invest.


3. Building Trust

This is rather a crucial skill in remote sales. A customer is likely to buy from you only if he has a good connection with your sales reps and finds them trustworthy. Establishing this trust while selling virtually takes a little more effort than usual.

Here are certain measures that your sales reps should take in order to establish trust with the customers while selling virtually:

  • Use video calls to connect with the customers more often than regular calls. Being face-to-face helps in building a personal connection and setting a warmer tone.

  • Strike a balance between formal and informal conversations during their video calls. Small talk always helps in establishing a personal connection.

  • Use more chat conversations than emails in order to exchange any information. This provides a dynamic and faster way to communicate.

  • Practice talking in a soft voice as it sounds polite over the voice or video call to the customers.

  • Communicate everything that they are doing during a call. Even if they are thinking or checking some information. This ensures that even when there is a pause in the conversation, it doesn’t come across as being rude.


4. On-screen Presence

While selling on a zoom call, sales reps need to adopt certain decorums and etiquettes to look presentable. Here are a few:

  • Look Presentable: Sales reps get to make their first, best impression on customers by looking professional and presentable on the screen. They might assume that it’s okay to be in casual wear while working from the comfort of their home. But it’s important to dress up professionally in formals for video calls.

  • Stand up every so often (optional)- If possible, advise your sales reps to conduct any shorter zoom meetings by standing (by setting their laptop on a high desk). When they deliver a message standing, it boosts their energy and enthusiasm. And, the body language tends to be more open and free. This energy helps them to better influence customers.

  • Look at the Camera- Usually, while video calling, people tend to look at the customer’s face. But, this is a big mistake. Because although the sales rep is looking at the customer’s face, it appears as if they are looking somewhere down at the keyboard.

So, they should look directly at the camera. This gives the customer the impression that the sales rep is talking face to face with him. It improves the overall human connection.

  • Remember to smile- We all know customers appreciate a kind smile. But it’s easy to forget to deliver one. Ask your reps to remember to smile at the customers throughout the meeting.

Quick-Tip: They can attach a sticky note with the drawing of a smiley face near their laptop to remind themselves to smile often.

  • Set the right tone- Have your reps practice emphasizing critical words or phrases by pausing for a second before and after them. This subconsciously tells the customer that the sales rep is delivering a meaningful message and it sinks in.

  • Tell a Story- Sales and storytelling is a powerful combination. Especially in a virtual sales call, a good story effectively influences the customers and keeps them engaged throughout the meeting. So, instead of listing down all the features and benefits, your sales reps can try telling a great success story or testimonial related to it.

  • Add a personal touch- Just because your reps are not meeting with the clients face-to-face, the meeting doesn’t have to be strictly sales.

Make an effort to know the client a bit on a personal level as well.
  • They can ask the client how their day is going so far
  • How they are managing to work from home
  • They can share their personal experiences from office or home and encourage the client to do the same etc

All these help in making the customer comfortable to talk and share.


5. Giving Presentations

Here are some best practices to follow while giving presentation virtually:

  • Your reps should not make the mistake of strictly focusing their talk on the PowerPoint for 30 minutes straight. Instead, after every four to five minutes– ask them to stop sharing their screen and start communicating directly with the customer.

  • They should present the information in various interesting formats to spark the interest of the clients. They could use animated videos, images, infographics, etc wherever they can.

  • While they should use a set template for presentations, ask them to avoid having every slide look the same. The clients need a visual cue that a slide has changed. This makes them understand that there’s something new to pay attention to.

  • Sales reps should avoid overwhelming the clients by limiting to only one concept per slide or video or image

  • Ask them not to stay on the same slide for too long. They need to have a lot of slides in their presentation and they should keep changing them frequently.

Pro-Tip: Here is a thumb-rule to follow: Have a new slide every one or two minutes


6. Written Communication

Most salespeople are great orators. But not everyone has the talent to efficiently translate the same skill into written communication.

In the pre-lockdown era, it would have been okay for a sales rep to be not very good in written communication. He could have made up for it with his verbal communication skills.

But after lockdown, written communication skills have become mandatory. Because the majority of information exchange is now done through chat or email, even before getting into a video call with a rep.

Train your reps on how to effectively share crucial information over WhatsApp chat or social media DM. Provide them with examples of ideal chat conversations at various stages of the sales cycle.

Encourage your sales and marketing teams to collaborate with each other in order to create digitally viable content. Sales reps can then share this apt, ready-made content with customers at different stages of the sales cycle.


7. Empathy Driven Sales

In a world struck by pandemic, your “hard” sales pitches, or even your regular sales pitch for that matter, doesn’t work.

Your reps’ messaging needs to change entirely. They need to set a tone that matches the current situation. They need to incorporate empathy into their selling approach in order to appeal to the customers and prospects during this crisis.

Wondering how to do that? Here is an example to help you understand.

A health insurance company we work with has changed their selling approach during the crisis in the following way:

Before the lockdown, they would call a customer whose insurance is about to expire and say-- “Hi! This is a gentle reminder to inform you that your health insurance policy expires on 23rd October 2020. May I know if you would like to renew the policy under the same terms?”

Simple and straight-forward right! This would perfectly work in a normal world. But, we are operating under special circumstances right now.

After lockdown, here is how they changed their messaging-- “Hi! This is a gentle reminder to inform you that your health insurance policy expires on 23rd October 2020. I know that these are tough times we are living in right now. And, everyone is experiencing financial crisis. But it’s all the more crucial to keep your health insurance intact during this pandemic. We care about you and want to help you to be prepared for any unknown circumstance.”


What’s the Scope of these Skills?

While no one knows what the future holds, we believe that there will be a combination of both virtual and in-person meetings. Also, its a known fact – The future is Digital.

Leverage SmartWinnr’s mobile-first virtual training platform to re-train your remote sales reps for new ways of selling in the new normal.

Published on Wed Sep 9 2020

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