3 Steps to Differentiate Yourself in Virtual Sales
Over the better part of the last year, we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing the transition to virtual selling, the new sales process, and the different new skills and technological considerations involved in serving our customers remotely.
With all the change and the chaos of this new reality we live and sell in, it’s even harder to break through the noise and stand out to your prospects and customers. It’s vital that we establish ourselves as uniquely different, to avoid fading into the monotony of Zoom purgatory.
How do we differentiate ourselves, as sales professionals, within the context of the virtual selling world? We’ll discuss this idea through the lens of three main areas.
Technology Table Stakes
The whole goal here is to establish your personal online brand. When we used to travel to accounts and meet with customers, our clothes and appearance represented our level of professionalism. Now, we have to convey our personal brand virtually and make sure that technology is helping, not hindering, our sales process.
There is a minimum quality that is expected of all sales professionals. We want to have the right technology set-up to impress, which entails having the following:
(Minimum of 15 MB upload and download speed)
Test your speed here.
The closer to your router, the better off you’ll be. Plugging directly into your router with a Cat 5 cable will also drastically improve your upload and download speed. If you’re sharing a network with others in your household, try to ensure that they will not be taking up bandwidth during your most important calls and virtual presentations.
Ensure the quality of your video is clear and crisp. A fuzzy feed or video lag can detract from the conversation you’re trying to have and the point you’re trying to make.
If you want to stand out from the crowd of average sellers in the virtual world, you need to use a high definition camera that has 720p (pixels) and 30fps (frames per second). If not, you won’t project a professional looking image. Luckily, most high quality cameras are readily available and under $100 – and most companies will allow reps to expense this equipment. Do some research, read reviews, and find one that will work for you.
There are many options that are far superior to simply speaking into your laptop speaker. Depending on your location and amount of background noise, the sound quality can be muffled, filled with feedback, or even inaudible. Better options include AirPods, a bluetooth earpiece, or a headset. Clear audio quality is crucial when connecting with your customers online.
Capabilities Within Zoom
We’ll be discussing capabilities within Zoom because it’s the online hosting service that we know and what we use here at ASLAN, along with most organizations conducting business virtually nowadays. Many of the ideas will translate to whichever platform (Microsoft Teams or Webex etc.) that you/ your company uses. But we have found, along with many of our biggest clients, that Zoom is the most versatile and easy-to-use.
Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when conducting your virtual meeting within Zoom (or another platform):
Look at the camera.
This is the simplest, biggest differentiator that will set you apart and elevate your delivery of virtual meetings – it’s very easy to understand, but very hard to do. We often end up staring at the screen, at ourselves or at our notes. Pay attention to this throughout the meeting and make “eye contact” with the camera as much as possible. Having the participants screen thumbnails along the top of your screen (closest to where your camera is) will help with this.
Learn to use two screens.
Many of you may already be doing this, but if you aren’t yet, this will help you out immensely when working and presenting virtually. When you’re selling, share one screen with your presentation pulled up, and use the other to display your customers’ faces. Watch for facial cues and body language, watch for when they lean in or look away, watch for when they mute and unmute themselves (this will indicate when they may want to chime in or ask a question).
Even asking, “Hey Scott, I see you just came off mute, did you want to say something?” can really make your customer feel seen, heard and validated, even in a challenging virtual environment.
Gallery View vs. Speaker View
In Zoom, gallery view will display all participants equally while speaker view allows you to focus on the person talking, allowing you to really observe their expression and body language. When the customer is talking, look at them and when you’re talking, look at everyone else. Resist the urge to look at yourself.
Virtual Tips & Tricks that Our Clients Love
These three things fall into the “No One Else is Doing This” category, and have made an enormous difference for our company. Our clients are loving that we’ve incorporated them into our virtual meetings, presentations and training sessions. The key takeaway here is to keep things moving during your virtual session. “Zoom fatigue” and “death by PowerPoint” are real enemies of salespeople trying to sell virtually. But using these tools can help alleviate the monotony of the back-to-back virtual calls that your customers may be facing, while helping you stand out, capture their attention and garner their respect.
Polls are a great tool within Zoom (or whichever service you’re using to conduct meetings) to shake things up, impress your audience, keep them engaged and get their feedback. They are quick questions with multiple choice answers for the audience to vote on. You can then share the (anonymous) group results on your screen. You’ll want to come up with a few ahead of time and store them in your Zoom account to be able to quickly launch them during your presentation.
Polls can be used for different purposes throughout your virtual call:
- As fun ice-breakers (i.e. “What did you have for breakfast?” or “What is your favorite part about working remotely?”)
- To keep engagement up, drive home a point, or get their opinion/feedback
Why do them? It shows that little extra effort on your part, it’s something that’s unique and stands out, and it keeps your customers involved. Try this and you’ll see, your audience will literally lean in.
Second Camera/ Flipchart
Zoom has an option to share a second camera. Set up another camera (even your iPhone or iPad with a tripod) somewhere else in your home office. Get some type of flipchart or a whiteboard, even a blank poster board, and have your second camera focused towards it. During your virtual presentation, switch to share your second camera (as your whole screen), and walk over to your flipchart. This movement will grab your participants attention and really get them to engage with you. Look into the second camera and talk to you participants, then turn and write on the board. Our customers have told us this makes them feel as if they are really in the room with us.
Whiteboards were often a staple of in person sales calls where reps would utilize them to illustrate a point or solicit feedback from prospects. Why not bring that practice to the virtual world? It may feel unnatural at first, but practice until you feel comfortable – it will pay off.
By using this tactic, you are really driving the call and your personal virtual brand will grow exponentially in your customers’ eyes.
Another trick to ratchet up participation is to stop sharing your screen whenever you want to really have a conversation with your group. Simply stop sharing your presentation slides for a few minutes and just connect face-to-face.
This is the fun piece, it’s a great icebreaker. Have some music playing as people come into the virtual room. Ask for suggestions or their recommendations – have them send them in the Chat. If you take a break during your session, have one of the requests playing as everyone comes back in.
People love this. If you happen to know your customer well and know what music they enjoy, play something from one of their favorite artists. This is memorable to your participants and helps warm up the virtual room and get everyone comfortable.
On the technical side, make sure you’re sharing your computer sound and practice doing this beforehand.
The Virtual Message You’re Sending
These are little things that don’t take much preparation time, but are different and unique. Once you have them under your belt, you can pull them out at any time to wow your prospects. Using these few techniques will elevate your virtual brand. You will stand out. People will take notice. They will comment on them. They will remember you and your message.
A little bit of effort goes a long way here. It tells your customer that their engagement is important to you, and that you wanted to do something extra to make them feel part of it. It demonstrates that you value your customer and value the opportunity to sell to them.
It’s just another part of the OtherCentered® selling process.
The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.