SALES with ASLAN Ep. 133 – 10 Tips for Selling Virtually from a Pro (Part 2)

Welcome to SALES with ASLAN, a weekly podcast hosted by ASLAN Co-founders Tom Stanfill and Tab Norris, geared at helping sales professionals and sales leaders eliminate the hard sell. At the end of the day, we believe that selling is serving. ASLAN helps sellers make the shift from a ‘typical’ sales approach, to one that makes us more influential because we embrace the truth that the customer’s receptivity is more important than your value prop or message.

The goal of these interviews is to spotlight various experts in the world of sales and sales leadership – sharing informational stories, techniques, and expert interviews on the sales topics you care about.

 

The following are notes from Ep. 133 – 10 Tips for Selling Virtually from a Pro (Part 2)

In this episode, Tom Stanfill and Tab Norris continue their conversation with Genna Lepore about her success selling virtually. She reveals the remaining six tips and shares how she was able to close deals 50% faster and crush her number during the pandemic.

 

Listen to the conversation here:

Or check out the summary and full transcript below.

 

Summary:

“Don’t lose your edge because you’re a small tile on a big screen.”

– Genna Lepore on virtual selling

You can find the first four tips in Part 1 of this episode.

Pro-tip #5: Embrace and indulge the inevitable distractions or virtual delays

Pro-tip #6: Have fun. Be memorable, be real, be an entertainer.

Pro-tip #7: Monitor buyer interactions closely

Pro-tip #8: Building in time for rapport, like never before

Pro-tip #9: Explain the sales process

Pro-tip #10: Assign “homework” to make the best use of time

 

Transcript:

00:13

Tom Stanfill

Welcome to another episode of SALES with ASLAN. And I’m your host, Tom Stanfill. I’m here with my, I don’t know the best co-host in the world. I haven’t officially won that title for us  still.

 

00:26

Tab Norris

No, but I think if we say it enough, it just happens. It just, kind of, we’re speaking it into existence.

 

00:33

Tom Stanfill

Well, as and hopefully our audience knows we’re in the middle of a two part series. I think you called it a mini series. I challenged that because I wasn’t sure if it was a mini series, it was only two parts and we debated that and we ran out of time. We said we had to break and say, break up the episode of the top 10 virtual tips. We had to break it up into two part episode. We’re now we’ve been through the first four tips. Yup. Right. Okay. What I think is that where we are, we’ve been through four,

 

00:59

Tab Norris

We got four really, really good ones. We had a lot of good banter, a lot of good discussion, a lot of good tips, but I think we’re ready to dive in. We’ll just tackle the next six.

 

01:08

Tom Stanfill

All right. No. The next six, so let’s go back to Jenna and let’s pick it up on number five.

 

01:15

Genna Lepore

Number five is embrace and indulge, inevitable distractions or virtual abilities. Wow. There’s so there’s, I’ve had, I’m sure you guys have all had this I’ve ha I got a funny story for it though. I’ve had dogs walk in multiple dogs. I’ve had children sitting on so-and-so’s lap. I’ve had dogs, I’ve had delivery of the most obscure. I’ve got some, I’ve got some funny, more stories, but every single time, something like that happens. So it breaks. It breaks your train of thought, but you have to embrace it. You have to embrace it because those are little nuggets of opportunity for rapport building.

 

02:04

Tab Norris

I love it. I think that’s awesome. That’s the opposite of what I would’ve thought. I would’ve thought I’m an utter failure because the glove delivery guy just came here and I’m, I look unprofessional, but I just love how, what are you going to do? We’re all in our basement. I mean,

 

02:19

Tom Stanfill

I love that. Like we’re well, they all put themselves in that same situation that happened to them or something. Yeah. I think, I think it’s inevitable. I love that. It’s it’s inevitable. It’s.

 

02:32

Tab Norris

It’s, it’s an indulgence. It’s.

 

02:34

Tom Stanfill

An inevitable and it’s indulgent.

 

02:35

Genna Lepore

I’ve got a quick I’ve you guys don’t know the story. This is a ridiculous story. It’s talking to me as to see it was the CEO of a multi-million dollar. It firm. He, for some reason, wanted to take the call outside. It was at the beginning, it was in the middle. It was at the start of COVID and he was on his eye. He was on his iPhone. All right. We’re in the depths of this conversation and he’s outside and he gets stung by a bee BioBee he got stung by a bee and he’s on this call. Now my immediate, I swear to you. I said my immediate reaction is to say, well, first off I’m like, so Dave, whatever his name, are you okay? Do you want to end the call? No, no, no. I don’t have time. Part of me wanted to run thoughts as I could.

 

03:21

Genna Lepore

The other part was, well, we’ll just keep rolling with it.

 

03:24

Tom Stanfill

Where did he like in his face.

 

03:26

Genna Lepore

No, no. You want to, do you want to know why I know where he got stung? So we’re on video. Let’s not forget. He lifted his shirt up. He’s got this right on the stomach. He proceeds to tell me that he’s allergic. There’s a point to this story. He proceeds to somebody who’s allergic. He may have, while he’s in the middle of this, he did not want to end this call in the middle of this. He may have, taken a little hit out of it. And at Mary Jane, because he was.

 

03:56

Tom Stanfill

Mary Jane, what’s up with tablets of Mary Jane. You’re a doctor.

 

04:02

Tab Norris

Mary Jane was big in the seventies. I used to eat them. They were chewy karma.

 

04:08

Tom Stanfill

Mary Jane is legal in like 25 states. I don’t know.

 

04:12

Genna Lepore

The point being, this guy will forever be ingrained in my brain, but that, and I mean, this, he was so difficult to engage this call and all of these distractions truly, truly helped me close the deal. A made me, I was able to tap into that call and the memories on that call with him for months after. I mean, that’s a ridiculous situation.

 

04:40

Tom Stanfill

We can leverage the funny things that happen or the things that go wrong.

 

04:45

Tab Norris

So I’m just jotting down. How do I get a B in front of the next? Got it,

 

04:52

Tom Stanfill

Got it. I love it.

 

04:55

Tab Norris

Nice. One number five.

 

04:56

Tom Stanfill

Let’s go to number.

 

04:57

Tab Norris

Six,

 

05:05

Tom Stanfill

But it made the list. It made the list.

 

05:10

Tab Norris

Awesome. Fun. I love it.

 

05:14

Genna Lepore

What I mean by that is to be memorable. Be real, be an entertainer. I think honestly, and I mean this, the two of you are phenomenal entertainers on calls. I think that if you’re not having fun on a call your client, your prospect, whatever is surely not having fun as well. So let your personality shine through. If you’re witty face to face, be witty on a call, don’t lose your edge because you’re a small tile on a big screen.

 

05:46

Tab Norris

That’s great. That’s my, that was my biggest mistake. My first virtual sales calls, I lost my personality. I was boring. I was miserable and I’m good enough to be boring. I’m going to have to be in a little entertaining. There are people that are real doctors that are really so good that they don’t have to be entertaining. I kind of bank on it.

 

06:11

Tom Stanfill

I, I, I think that’s a really good point. I know it’s kind of sounded like whatever, be fun, but it really is a decision to say, okay, I’m not going to get weighed down by this awkward or be distracted. I know we’ve talked about distracted, but be thrown off my normal personality because I’m in this awkward way of communicating. I think you just have to go for it. Just, I mean, but I don’t think we need to not be ourselves. You’re just saying be ourselves,

 

06:38

Tab Norris

Be yourself,

 

06:39

Tom Stanfill

Be so beautiful. All right. Any other points about, have fun? Anything you’ve learned about how to get in that right mindset, Jenna,

 

06:50

Genna Lepore

I’m a big proponent of leaving a little space before you hop on a call. I mean a little space. There were times where I had meetings that were just overlapping. So there’s not there. Isn’t always a time and place for that. But there’s something to be said about. I call it a minute to five minutes of mindfulness. Now that can be either taking three deep belly breaths to really just clear your cache as you call it Tom, or just clear whatever came before. I know people that pump up music right before they get on a call, right? Pump up music, like as if you were in a face-to-face meeting. Whatever you need to do, take 60 seconds to five minutes to get in the right mindset, Headspace, et cetera, to get that fun energy level up.

 

07:38

Tom Stanfill

I love that. That is really true because I’ve done that before. I remember making a big present, you’re going to love this tab. I made bet I had a huge president of this wasn’t virtual, but it’s the same idea. I had a huge presentation to salesforce.com. Yeah.

 

07:55

Tab Norris

I’ve heard of them. 

 

07:55

Tom Stanfill

I mean, this was years ago and I was nervous because we were clearly in a, in a weak position because of existing competitors, the company that we’re competing with, was already working with them, et cetera. I listened to Michael Jackson before the call.

 

08:17

Tab Norris

Thriller.

 

08:19

Tom Stanfill

Me well to have, I can’t dance like Michael Jackson can’t sing like Michael Jackson. It’s kind of so, but you, we in are very similar. So anyway, I listened to that and I got he’s completely changed my mindset. I just walked into that meeting. Like, let’s just, I don’t know I was fired out. Let’s go. Let’s do it. So.

 

08:44

Tab Norris

I love back in black next sales call back in black. That’s what I’m doing, baby. Come on.

 

08:49

Tom Stanfill

Beautiful. All right. Let’s move to number seven because I think this one’s really critical.

 

08:55

Genna Lepore

Yeah. There’s a couple of pieces to this. Number seven is: monitor buyer interactions closely. I mean, I’m talking online and some offline stuff. I’ll talk about the offline stuff first. If you have technology like HubSpot, like certain technologies that are able to have you track things, it’s really important to know before you walk in and call what materials someone has looked out for pages they may have viewed on your website. It helps you to not only prioritize those customers, but also ensures that what you’re talking about matches what they’ve looked at, that there might be redundancies, whatever it may be. You can also monitor the open and click rates of any of the documents that you may have sent them. If you have that technology, there’s a, there’s a technology called paper flight. Anything that you send over to them, you can actually, it’s a heat map.

 

09:49

Genna Lepore

You can see what they’ve looked at. So that’s the offline, that’s in preparation.

 

09:53

Tom Stanfill

That’s a great, and I want to say something real quick about that. I think it’s so easy for us. You talked about clearing the cache. I think it’s so easy for us to have in our mind what they think they need, but the solution they need and what I want them to need. If you just set that aside and look at what actually they’re clicking, it may not match up. I think that’s, I love that. That’s great.

 

10:14

Genna Lepore

So, so the second piece of this is, I, I think of what I don’t want to call, especially if there’s a lot of folks, right. Instead of just one person first off, know who you’re getting on with, do your research before, know who you’re getting on with, know how they like to learn, know what they’re interested in to know what decisions they’re making. Are they the decision maker? Who are they? Are they economic buyer, whatever it may be, but be able to read a room. I literally envision myself like a point guard walking in and being able to say, okay, who can I throw this question to? Who can I, and I, that is so important to be able to. And how do you do that? It’s a matter of you have limited body language that you can see when you’re in a call. You’re working with facial expressions and the words coming out of their mouth or lack of words coming out of their mouth.

 

11:02

Genna Lepore

Right? Being able to tap into people for me, it’s, don’t be afraid to challenge someone peel back the onion. I mean, this is, if you’re going to be curious, you are, you’re going to exercise that natural curiosity, virtual sales calls are the place to do it tenfold. Right? You have to be, we talked about being intentional, but you need to not be afraid to go deep on the calls to get the information you need. Facial expressions note the questions they ask, do they have any discern? Are they genuinely interested in the conversation? If they’re not, we talked about Tom, your example before engage them. Yeah.

 

11:43

Tom Stanfill

That brings up a, an idea that I don’t know if I really said this before or thought it before, but I know there was two people on the meeting that we had with you. There was two people from your organization. I think that’s a really good idea. If if you’ve got two people on a call, you somebody free to blow up whoever who the different people in the audience, because you can pin their videos.

 

12:07

Genna Lepore

And.

 

12:07

Tom Stanfill

Look at them more closely. It’s difficult to do that. If you’re in the middle. Now, if it’s more of a dialogue, it’s a little easier. If you’re in a presentation mode, have somebody monitor the audience and look for people that are distracted, you can also see like the, in there, if they’re wearing glasses, you can see that they’re on their screen and they’re looking at something else and you go, they’re not engaged. So I got to pull them back. So great point. Have anything you’ve learned from delivering training on gate, on keeping them or monitoring their interactions closely?

 

12:41

Tab Norris

Like, gosh, I mean, I, I just, I live the key to me is how I had there. I have to have their faces blown up on my second monitor.

 

12:52

Tom Stanfill

Oh yeah.

 

12:53

Tab Norris

I mean, I fill my whole second monitor and I have it right above my camera and I, I, and Genna’s seen it. I lean it. I mean, I’m standing up and I’m, I basically create an environment and I do this in sales calls too. I’m in a room with them now, and it’s just, it creates this fake room setting. So that helps me.

 

13:19

Tom Stanfill

I, I can’t, I remember you pushing me to get that second monitor, got to get a second monitor. You can put the camera eye level with, you can put them right behind the camera. You’re looking through the camera to them. They, even if they’re looking at it, if you’ve got the side view of them, they’re still looking at you right. In the eye. That creates that same connection and it also allows you more rooms to see them. So brilliant point. Yup. All right, let’s go to number. Now you’ve already mentioned number eight . We could touch on that again, but what’s number eight. What’s the protocol.

 

13:54

Genna Lepore

Number eight is my favorite part of virtual selling. Because if you can master this, you can master anything. It’s building in time for rapport. Like never before time for rapport, like number reports. The obvious we talked about is turning on the camera, which sounds easier said than done, especially because we’ve all been doing this for two plus years, at least with getting people to turn their camera on. Having the customer turn the camera on. You always should have your camera on without hesitation. The, my favorite is no one wants to, this is the coy way. I like to get people to turn their camera on. No one wants to be looking at my face for the next 60 minutes alone. So come and join. Get on this pedestal. I’d love to see your beautiful faces. Can you please turn your camera on so we can make this as real life as possible. It’s not foolproof, I’ll tell you that most of the time and Tab, there’s people that just pop on immediately. However, there were some people that literally can’t turn their camera on for bandwidth they’re driving. Those are times where they really shouldn’t be on the call, but they might be just listening. But also this is really crucial. This has to do with authenticity for me.

 

15:12

Genna Lepore

I’m talking about building rapport, obviously being authentic, but also building in time to build rapport. For instance, let’s say you have a 30 minute meeting. Okay. Or you know that the meeting is going to take 30 minutes. At least I like to ask for more time. Ask for forgiveness. I like to ask for more time. They don’t have the time. They won’t give it to you, but I like to frame it in a way of listen. You know, it might take 30 minutes. Why don’t we book an hour? Why don’t we book an hour? If we are done in the 30 minutes, we’ll be done. I don’t want to, I don’t want to rush right, by doing that most of the time, they’ll give you the hour. Most of the time they’ll give you the hour. They don’t, you work with what you got. If you’re working with what you got, you have to be cognizant about making sure I envision it like a sandwich.

 

16:02

Genna Lepore

The first, it depends on how long the meeting is. Like say five to 10 minutes is it’s true rapport building. You can’t just jump it. If you were in a face-to-face meeting, you weren’t going to, you’re not going to just jump in to the meat of the meeting. You got the rapport, you got the meat. At the end you have to leave time for the rapport again and tie ups and everything. So, yeah.

 

16:23

Tab Norris

A lot of times that’s, if you don’t, you can’t just go, oh, we’ll stay over for 10 extra minutes because everybody has to be done. It’s like, you’ve scheduled an hour. They come in five minutes late and they have to leave exactly when it’s over. That’s that’s frustrating for my, from my perspective,

 

16:42

Tom Stanfill

I think you’re also bringing up a really good point about, I think they give you less time because you’re virtual, that everybody’s schedules less meetings, sorry. About less meeting, less time,

 

16:53

Genna Lepore

Less time to meet.

 

16:54

Tom Stanfill

It’s like, oh, we’ll just, and it’s like, let’s just come in. They just, it just, and I, I think that’s a place where we need to take a strong stand to say things like, if you want to accomplish this, we need this much time. Now we can change our objectives, but we can’t achieve that objective with this much time. This is where we’ve got to lead that process. Beautiful. Beautiful.

 

17:15

Tab Norris

We got two more, right? Two more, nine and 10.

 

17:20

Tom Stanfill

It time for a drum roll or we wait? Well, I guess we’ll wait for number 10. Number nine.

 

17:27

Genna Lepore

So number nine, explain the sales process. I don’t know if you guys have done this, have you ever done this in a face-to-face where you’re actually explaining what’s to come and what your sales process looks like? If you haven’t done that?

 

17:40

Tom Stanfill

I almost always do that. That’s actually, one of the challenges of selling virtually is our process had to change it didn’t by stage, but it, by how were going to execute it. I completely agree that you need to communicate how your process is all about helping them make the right decision and laying out those stages. What do you mean when you’re, what do you mean by that when you’re doing, when you’re selling virtually?

 

18:03

Genna Lepore

So I love to set the stage. At the top of the hour, the first call, if I have an infographic of the sales process, I’d pull it up and it’s a great here. We’re here right now. Here’s what we’re going to accomplish on today’s call. Does this is this in alignment with what you were hoping to accomplish on today’s call, standard setting the table, and then it makes the dialogue. If they know where they’re at, right? The flow of the entire sales process, especially virtually is more organic because there are no surprises. They know what’s to come and this, again, it applies to offline and face-to-face sales as well. Specifically online things seem to be a little ad hoc. You may deviate from the natural sales process because you have less control. It seems, it seems over the sales process. This is a great way to say, this is what we’re accomplishing.

 

18:52

Genna Lepore

This is where this comes in, et cetera, and make sure it aligns with them. You obviously have to be dynamic, right? You can’t be very rigid with this, but I think it’s so important to create a sense of trust between you and your potential client.

 

19:09

Tom Stanfill

I love that. I especially love laying that out at the beginning, because you, one of that’s one of the ways you want to draw in the decision maker or decision makers, if they’re not part of the process, you can unpack all of that. Here’s the, here’s the steps we need to go through. Here’s here’s what the objectives all related obviously to the customer, like that’s, I think that’s super important.

 

19:31

Tab Norris

And I actually have a drum stick.

 

19:34

Genna Lepore

Oh.

 

19:36

Tab Norris

Yeah.

 

19:37

Tom Stanfill

Cause he is.

 

19:38

Tab Norris

Really know how to play the drums though. They, can you hear that? Oh yeah, there we go.

 

19:43

Tom Stanfill

Engaging tab. It’s very engaging and engage virtually. Now.

 

19:46

Tab Norris

The grand finale, here we go.

 

19:49

Genna Lepore

All right. Number 10. This is the controversial final point. Assign quote, unquote homework to make the best use of time.

 

20:01

Tab Norris

Wow.

 

20:11

Tom Stanfill

Make a million dollars.

 

20:15

Tab Norris

By Friday and turn it into.

 

20:17

Tom Stanfill

And homework. You will make a million dollars next. Okay. I think we beefed it up a bit. I think,

 

20:24

Genna Lepore

I think. No, no. Thank you for that. Thank you. I appreciate it. It was, and this is actually a controversial subject. I think there’s a time and place for that. What I mean by it is you need to protect your time and the client’s time. A good way to do that is to pre-assign them some kind of homework, whether it be reading a blog post, whether it be looking at a wipe, whatever video, I don’t care what it is. Something that moves the sales process forward tom’s point. Virtual meetings tend to be shorter capitalize on the time that we have these clients on the phone. The best way to do that is to send them something, to ensure the best use of your time and is assign them something to watch, read, et cetera. I have canceled meetings. If someone didn’t do their homework, which is wild.

 

21:16

Genna Lepore

I have canceled meetings sometimes there’s you can’t do that for a variety of reasons. Right. I have, when I knew coming into it that this person didn’t know anything about what we did sold, et cetera. It wasn’t a good use of time. So that pre homework is valuable.

 

21:35

Tom Stanfill

He did that have anything to do with why you were able to close deals 50% faster than everybody else in your organization during COVID because I know that’s one of the things that we didn’t say at the intro, which was supposed to do, we’re supposed to keep my job, communicate how successful she was at selling merchandise. We thought we’d throw it in the end so that you’ll read it. Maybe everybody will listen to the podcast again. You remember you said saying when were prepping for the show that you close deals, 50% faster than everybody else, I would imagine that had something to do with it.

 

22:13

Genna Lepore

Yeah. I think that the two key elements to that are, it goes back to what we just said, communicating the sales process. Being your communication, it’s it shouldn’t even just be sales process. It’s being very clear in your communication style. Virtually is so important. I think video all that follow-up video helps that. So that’s one piece of it. The second piece of it is doing the homework. So I have to work. I don’t have to work as hard. I don’t have to work as hard. The last is like digging deep, asking those really uncomfortable questions and having that confidence and authenticity that’s definitely, I believe, I don’t know this for a fact. I believe attributed to having a very short sales cycle.

 

22:54

Tom Stanfill

I think that, I mean, that’s what I experienced when I was working with you is that I could see how you’re like, let’s go deep. Let’s talk real. Let’s not just have a bunch of surface conversations. By asking them to participate, you’re weeding people out very quickly. They either engage that they’re not engaged. I mean, it’s a nice fork in the road. Are we doing this? Are we moving forward? We don’t have to. If this is a problem you want to solve and you need my services to help solve it, here’s what people do to do that, which is part of the sales process that you laid out. This is what needs to happen. It’s super clear and people are engaged and they either do it or they don’t do it. You can spend time on people who are serious about solving that problem. I don’t know what you think about this, but I thought it was an excellent podcast.

 

23:40

Tom Stanfill

We all learned a lot, including the….

 

23:42

Tab Norris

It’s just this isn’t, this was a really good one. I mean, it was meaty. I mean, we spent a lot of time, but I mean, it’s a lot of, I mean, just a lot of great reminders and some great new ideas. Obviously I’ve been doing this a little while. Tom, you have too, and thank you, Jenna got some great tips and some great things to be aware of as we continue selling in this environment.

 

24:06

Genna Lepore

Thanks for having me guys. Appreciate it.

 

24:08

Tom Stanfill

Thanks, Genna. Appreciate it. Love that you’re with ASLAN and thanks. Thanks to our listeners for listening to another episode of SALES with ASLAN.

ASLAN teaches sellers an easier, better way to gain access & influence unreceptive customers, by eliminating the hard sell.

Leave a Comment





About ASLAN

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.