The pandemic might’ve expedited the process, but the future of B2B sales has always been virtual. Now that we’ve settled into the age of video conferences and Zoom meetings, the next step is figuring out how to successfully sell virtually.
The good news is that if you’re an effective seller in person, you’ll probably be an effective virtual seller. But that’s not all you need to sell successfully on the digital landscape. As face-to-face interactions become less frequent, finding a way to connect with buyers grows more essential. That’s why it’s imperative to create a compelling buying experience.
When done right, exceptional buying experiences can be a powerful tool in a sales strategy. To facilitate the experience, your goal shouldn’t only be to sell to a buyer but to see the sales cycle from their perspective. Buyers are more likely to engage with, purchase from, and trust your business when the focus is on them, not on you.
As a sales professional, you’re in a unique position. Not only do you know about implementing sales techniques and solving customer problems, but you also know how a buyer thinks. How? Because you’re a buyer too. Think about this: when you’re presented with two similar products, which one are you more responsive to? Typically, the buying experience can be what differentiates one product over the other. The key is that the salesperson can orchestrate that experience so it feels very personal to the buyer and appeals to how it will benefit them.
Let’s dive into how you can improve the buyer experience so you’ll be on your way to virtual sales success.
Always Lead with Curiosity
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s highly encouraged in the selling world. In our book, Mastering Virtual Selling: Orchestrating Sales Success, my co-authors and I lead with the importance of researching and building rapport. Being curious about a buyer shows you’re interested in solving their problems — not just making a sale. Allow your curiosity to fuel your buyer research. Get into their heads to figure out where your product fits into their current structure and whether it provides a way to alleviate existing issues. Immersing yourself into the buyer’s world allows you to be aware of their expectations and provide a well-rounded view of their industry and company.
As you research, here are some questions to keep in mind:
- Do you have an understanding of the buyer’s business?
- Does your product/service align with the buyer’s needs?
- Are you well-versed in the buyer’s buying process?
You’ll pick up valuable information on the buyer through your research that’ll help shape your sales approach and determine how you move forward.
Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge readily available online. Don’t be afraid to study a buyer’s LinkedIn profile, browse their company website, or watch relevant interviews and videos they’ve done. By the time you meet virtually, the buyer will know you’re fully prepared and committed to helping them. Showing them you care makes it easier to build rapport and lay the groundwork for trust. They’ll be one step closer to doing business with you.
Listen with Intent
Conversations are an essential part of the sales process. But as with all conversations, there’s a time to talk and a time to listen, and now’s the time to listen. Have you ever spoken to someone, but they only answered with what they wanted to say next, with little regard for what you just said? That’s how it can feel for buyers when they meet with sales reps. They feel like what they had to say didn’t matter because the rep only focused on selling. Buyers want to be heard; give them room to do so.
By actively listening to buyers, you understand their needs better and learn about what they want from your product or service. Research shows that top sales reps follow a 43:57 talk-to-listen ratio, meaning they listen more than they talk; it also means active listening correlates to sales success. Although the focus should be on the buyer, that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute anything. As a buyer is speaking, be empowered to guide the conversation by asking relevant and thoughtful questions. Listening may not seem like much, but it’s a notable factor in improving a buyer’s experience.
Nurture Relationships with Ongoing Dialogue
Between sales calls, you might think your engagement with a buyer is over until the next meeting. Wrong. Too many times, sales reps drop the ball on continued engagement with a buyer. Between sales calls is the best time to strengthen the relationship between you and a buyer and prove your value to them. We call this “creating presence in your absence.”
To nurture your relationship with buyers, keep an ongoing dialogue by:
- Sharing articles or videos that might be useful to them and keep you “top of mind”
- Sending case studies that reassure them of your product/service’s efficiency
- Suggesting industry analyst reports to help them with their research
Leverage Long-Term Relationships with Referrals
Once you’ve demonstrated your value to buyers by building a solid relationship, leverage it by asking for referrals to new buyers. Buyers will happily oblige because you took the time to engage with them and make their experience worthwhile. Word of mouth is a powerful tool for a business, and buyers will be sure to let referrals know how great you are to work with, adding to your credibility with future clients. Something as simple as ongoing, post-sale dialogue not only has benefits for buyers but you as well.
The buyer experience is intrinsic to virtual sales success for your business. Make it compelling by being curious about a buyer, listening to their wants and needs, and, finally, nurturing your relationship by continuing to engage between meetings. As you go through your sales strategy, keep the buyer experience as one of your top priorities. Prioritizing it will only ensure your future virtual sales success.