Meridith Elliott Powell: Alright, welcome to Sales Logic. The show where we dive into the strategies we cover the subjects we get specific on the topics you need to make sales easy, effective, and well, logical. I’m Meridith Elliott Powell, and I am here with my cohost-
Mark Hunter: Mark Hunter, the Sales Hunter, good afternoon, Meridith.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Good afternoon. We got a good show today. What, tell us a little bit about some things that we’re going to cover Mark.
Mark Hunter: Well, we’re going to be talking about this whole virtual selling thing. We’ve got a long question that came in about this great topic. We got a lightening round and man, it’s kind of a virtual world we live in, but we’ll get through it and you know what? We’re learning a lot.
Meridith Elliott Powell: We are so basically for anybody who’s new, this is the way that the show works. Every single week, we cover three things. Number one is we cover a viewer question. That’s right. This is your show. You get to send in. All you have to do is go to saleslogicpodcast.com or just post a question. From there we go into the topic of the day, whatever sales topic that we’re going to cover. And you are going to leave here with a lightning round. It’s your return on investment, the strategies, the steps, the things that you need to do to truly get return on investment. So, Mark, should I read this long question? Are we ready to dive into it?
Mark Hunter: I think you should go ahead and read that long question, because it’s good. It’s a good one. And it’s so real. It’s still real. And it’s so emotion filled because as you listen to the question, you’re going to hear yourself. You’re gonna hear yourself in it. Fire away.
Meridith Elliott Powell: All right. So I, this comes anonymously, but it’s a great question. Um, from, from one of our viewers, my husband, who is a manufacturer’s rep, has been tremendously impacted since March, by this virus – COVID. He depends on travel to make his living. He covers five states, and he also depends on product availability.
He’s 90 to 120 days out for some of his products due to China, not still not being fully ramped up. He does WebEx, Zoom, and daily telephone calls that he starts at 8:30AM, until 5:30PM. Right now, his team and his clients are screaming, “uncle.” We need a break from webinars learning and so much video time.
We have to get our arms around this. How do I keep in front of my customers? How do I keep my team motivated? They are suffering from information overload, video burnout, and a Zoom fatigue.
What a great question!
Mark Hunter: Welcome to 2020: the year of unknown reality. Yes. Hey, you know what? We are all suffering from this, so here’s what I’m doing.
I’m just picking up the telephone and having a phone call conversation. It’s been interesting, but this morning I had an almost a two-hour conversation with an individual. It was on the telephone and you know what? It was great. I had my earbuds in, so I was able to kind of walk around my office and, I sense he was working from home and doing the same thing.
No screen time. No worries. Oh, and I’m barefoot in shorts. Let’s go back to the telephone. That’s really what I’m telling people.
Meridith Elliott Powell: I think also you’ve got learn to space yourself. Um, it’s not realistic to be on video from 8:30 to 5:30. And I know you can say I’ve, you know, I’ve got to do this, but I think Mark makes a great point is really think about what calls have to be video and which ones don’t.
If you control the engagement – I mean, Mark and I were set to talk a couple of weeks ago and he said Zoom or telephone? I said, telephone, because I can’t turn that video on one more time. I don’t want to sit at my desk one more day. So control what you can do. You also know to schedule yourself mini breaks, just like you would do in the office, you know?
Well, back when we were on the road doing sales calls, you’d be doing, driving from one place to another. However, you’re going to be more effective as a salesperson if every hour, hour and a half, you just take a mini break. I mean, uh, my husband always laughed at me because what I do is I get up and I work for a couple of hours and then I’ll run downstairs to our home gym and I might get on the rower for 15 minutes or I’ll go outside and take a 20 minute walk. And then I come back in, but I take these little mini exercise breaks all day long. And I think you need to do the same thing, do something right that allows you to put a little bit of energy back into yourself in order to be able to keep it going.
Mark Hunter: Yeah, I’ll add a couple things to that. Just because you have one hour set aside for a Zoom call or what WebEx does not mean it needs to take an hour. I’ve been routinely now taking it may be an hour block, but I’m saying this is going to be done in 45 minutes. Just to give myself so that extra 15-minute break, just to decompress and do something. I think one of the reasons we’re getting this overload of screen time is because we’re just staring at this tiny little doc. We’re staring at the lens and it’s creeping us out.
But again, I think it comes back to just saying what calls have to be on video. Because here’s the other thing I’m seeing, man. Please. Oh, mind if I share my I screen so I can show you warring charts? I was on a call yesterday. I have a board meeting tonight. It’s going to be a three-hour board meeting. There’ll be nine of us. And, the financial person’s gonna say they want to take the screen and we’re going to sit there and painfully go through the financials for the first six months of the year. And it’s like, really? Do I really have to do this? Why don’t you just email this to me? Let me take a look at it and let’s just have a conversation. Because what’s funny is up until about a year ago, we were very happy just doing telephone meetings. The board is all over the country, so we physically only get together once or twice a year. But for some reason, because we can do it on Zoom, everybody’s doing it on Zoom.
It’s time to stop Zoom. Period.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Well, I think, I mean, I think you’re making a really great point there, and that is, what can you do with people? I mean, really, as a sales professional, your clients are gonna love you. If you could send them things ahead of time that they could review so you don’t spend time on that call.
I think Mark’s making such a great point that every Zoom call, because Zoom defaults to an hour. I’m not sure what WebEx and GoToMeeting and, and all of those, um, do, I don’t know where their defaults are. But because it defaults for an hour, it gets put on your calendar for an hour and really ask yourself, does it need to be on there for that amount of time? I would say the other thing, and I haven’t really started to do this is really ask, do you have to be on there for the entire time?
I was doing a call a Friday of last week and I was part of the sales presentation. And I just let them know that I had back to back calls all day long. I would love to get on and share the part that they needed me to pitch, but, I didn’t need to sit through the hour and a half call. So I came on at the beginning. He put me first in the schedule and I was finished in 12 minutes. And I think the theme that we’re getting at is we have far more control over things than we realize we have over things.
You’re on all day long with clients. Well, as desperately as you want off video, and as desperately as you want some time back in your schedule, they want that too. So if you can be the sales professional who is stepping to the plate and taken a little bit of time with that, you’re not only gonna feel better and stress a whole lot less, but you’re also going to strangely get some competitive advantage with that.
So take a little bit of charge with your schedule.
Mark Hunter: I think that is well said. We should jump into the topic of the day, which is really framed around the question. How do you make virtual sales calls, virtual sales presentations? How do you make them compelling? Interesting. And what’s the tools that you use to move prospects to close? Mer jump in. What are your thoughts?
Meridith Elliott Powell: Yeah, you know, I think first of all, you’ve got to start with the basics, right? And the basics are, do you really understand how to use the technology? Do you know to look into the camera? Have you done everything you need to do ahead of time to make sure that your customer understands how to get onto the link and what they’re doing? But you have to be able to use the tools and you have to be able to appear competent when it comes to using the technology.
Mark Hunter: And along with that, please have the camera up at eye level. I mean, how many times have you been on a call where it the camera is clearly down, you know, on their laptop, on their desk. And there’s a reason why eye contact is so key. Put the camera in the correct place and have decent audio, you know, people get hung up on the backgrounds and you. I have completely different backgrounds here for those of you who are watching this live. And that’s fine, but I think we owe it to our viewers and customers, we owe it to people not to have a dysfunctional background. I was observing a sales call and a salesperson was talking with a customer. The whole time behind the people are kind of on a side table, were two cats wandering around. I get it. It’s work from home. It’s BFH – buying from home and I understand you’re going to have a kid problem occasionally and a dog or something like that. But, you could probably put the cats on the floor. I don’t know – I mean, I’m just saying.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Yeah, I would agree with that. I also think that you have to really be paying attention to the non-verbal clues. I mean, one of the beauties of virtual is that we do have some of the advantages that we have there in person is that you can read the body language. So, you know, whether the customer wants to make some small talk and talk about the, you know, the picture of their kid playing football, but behind them or whether they would appreciate it, if you would just get to the point and stay focused on the problem at hand.
So you’ve got to really be reading those non-verbal clues and paying attention to what they want and adjusting your sales call, your virtual sales call to really work for them. This is something that drives me crazy. I am a get to the point person when I am on a sales call, I don’t want you to ask how I’m doing. I don’t want you to ask how my weekend was. I don’t want you to ask how COVID is impacting me. I mean, I’ll take one question at the front, you know, how are things going, Meridith? My answer is great, which is your signal to get to the point. Now, other people are completely, different.
If you asked my husband how he was doing, he was spend the next 25 minutes telling you everything about the fact that we did, we have done in the last week. We’re different and virtual still allows you to pick up those clues and you need to pay attention.
Mark Hunter: You hit on something there that we can’t forget. You still have all the in-person clues that you can pick up. Leverage them. Leverage them with your personality, by your tone, by your pitch, by words per minute. You can still put all of that voice inflection into it.
I think you said something good. You know, you ask somebody a question when they say great. That is, that is your signal. Uh, they really don’t want to go any deeper. But if they do, if they run off on something, then I’m naturally going to ask them a follow up question on that, because demonstrates that I care, but here’s the other piece.
Don’t allow the conversation to get so sidetracked and think that time is not of the essence. I think people working from home are more time-starved than ever. They’re more time starved. And they’re also finding themselves, this is what I find when I get somebody on a Zoom call. We have so many of these events happening every day that we’re literally going from this topic to this topic to this topic. You need to be prepared to take 20 seconds, to bring them up to speed as to what the expectation is for the meeting.
When I start off a Zoom call, I sit there and say, “Hey, this should only take about 30 – 35 minutes. Here’s what we’re going to cover. Good.” And make sure they buy in on that. And I have found that gives a lot of relief to people. Then say, “Okay, let’s go!”
Meridith Elliott Powell: Yeah, I think what you’re getting at really is that we need to probably plan the calls more than we’ve ever planned them before.
I’ve got 30 minutes and I know that I’m going to be talking to, um, you know, Susan Schumacher and Susan Schumacher is a relationship focused person. So I am going to get on there and ask Susan, you know, how her last bike ride was. And if her husband’s been able to go back into the office, you know yet, and what’s happening with her aging mother. But I’ve still got to keep that on track. I’ve still got to keep it moving in a way. And so I’ve got to plan it and allow for that and really think through how you’re going to get the call to where it needs to go in the allotted time.
Mark Hunter: And if there’s a next step meeting that has to be arranged, don’t sit there and say, “Oh, I’ll, I’ll send out a Zoom invite.”
No, no. Ask them. What method would you prefer we use for the next one? Don’t necessarily assume because you’re first all with the Zoom call or your first call was a WebEx that your next one is going to be. Because again, they may say, you know what, let’s just do it by way of telephone. That’s it?
Hey, we’re going to run out of time here pretty soon. And I know we got kind of a lightening round so we should kind of jump into that lightening round. But we should just remind people that if you’ve got questions. You jump out to saleslogicpodcast.com, leave us a question or go out to social media and just use #sales logic. It’s amazing, we find them! So let’s see the lightening round. Let me pull up that lightening round question here. There it is. Of course it naturally fits with what we’ve been talking about. What are top tips for selling virtually? Go!
Meridith Elliott Powell: Number one is that you need to plan the call. You need to have an agenda. You need to know what you’re going to talk about, and you need to share that agenda with the caller. Do as much ahead of time as you can possibly do.
Mark Hunter: I’ll say make sure the camera’s at eye level and you have a good audio.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Yeah, and be a professional. You need to get dressed up just as if you were on a call. Be conscious of your background and make sure that you are presenting in the way that you want to present.
Mark Hunter: If you’re going to share your screen, make sure you’re set up to share your screen. Too many times what happens is when people go to share screen, there’s other stuff up on their screen that maybe you don’t want that prospect or customer to see. Make sure you have that set up in advance.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Mark, I know this is lightning round. I love that one, but I was having a screen shared with me and the person forgot they were sharing the screen and they started answering email. So, yes you’ve really got to be conscious of what’s in front of you. I’m also going to tell you to be mindful of the environment that your client is selling.
Is buying from is listening to you from, I mean, if they’re used to being in an office with a lot of people versus now they’re at home and they’re taking care of, um, of two kids and you know, their significant other is home trying to work too. Try to be mindful of what type of environment they’re in and adjust what you need to do for that.
Mark Hunter: Which means you need to create a little more flexibility in the schedule. Cause if they say they need to take care of something, it’s okay. Excuse them. Let them take care of it. Quick piece to wrap this thing up. Well, I’ll let you do one more after this and that is make sure, you know, what is the defined method with which you’re going to connect?
How many times have you say, Oh, there’s a meeting on your calendar. Well, is it, is it phone? Is it whatever? Make sure you’re clear in the invite, how you’re going to connect.
Meridith Elliott Powell: Yeah. And I would say too, I’d say really keep it tight. Really be able, people don’t want to stare at a screen and listen to you for a long time. So make a point and make a lots of opportunity for engagement where they get to speak. Don’t sell at them. Sell with them.
Mark Hunter: Well, with Meridith saying, keep it tight. I guess that means we should start wrapping up the show. So I’m going to sit here and say, thank you for listening to Sales Logic this week. If you like what you hear, subscribe, rate, and review the show on your favorite podcast app.
If something we’ve said has earned you a single dollar, consider telling a friend about our show. It’s how we grow to help you grow. I’m Mark Hunter.
Meridith Elliott Powell: And I’m Meridith Elliot Powell.
Mark Hunter: Remember when you sell with confidence and integrity,
Meridith Elliott Powell: uncertainty suddenly becomes your competitive advantage
Mark Hunter: and the sale becomes logical.
Meridith Elliott Powell: We’ll see you next week!
Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.