Do you still believe you can close deals as you did in 2019? Are you waiting for things to get back to normal? Do you listen to excuses about Covid-19 from your sales team? The world of professional sales has changed and will never be the same. I am helping companies adapt to the next generation of buyers. I gave a video speech today with an audience in Spokane, Washington. A business leader told me the governor is mandating work-from-home until March of 2021. Imagine a sales team in that region of the country that is incapable of closing deals remotely. What are they going to do? Is waiting acceptable?
Sales teams should be adapting now. They must figure out how to get in front of buyers. Believe it or not, the next best thing to an in-person meeting is a video call on Zoom or a similar platform. We can even argue that video sales calls (at least early in the buying journey) are better and more efficient. If a salesperson covers are large area, she can have many more video sales meetings than in-person meetings. Depending on the sale's complexity, video is becoming an essential tool to succeed and get more business in the sales pipeline.
I am helping sales teams make the migration to virtual sales. Let's take a journey into the past. Selling was more straightforward ten years ago. Companies hired a friendly person, give them a company car (truck in Texas), a credit card, and told them to deliver doughnuts to prospective buyers. Doughnuts get you in the door. If you can get in the door with some tasty treats, the law of reciprocity dictated they would listen to your pitch. Buyers no longer want your doughnuts. In fact, in some cases, they do not wish you to be in the office. What is the solution?
77% of buyers are willing to accept a video conferencing meeting. They are adapting to the platform, and business is moving forward. When done correctly, a Zoom meeting is more acceptable than an in-person meeting. Yes, that means a trained sales professional can get in front of more potential buyers without travel time and expense. This reality will never go back to what it was before Covid-19. I work with one professional organization that has already reduced the 2021 travel budget by 75%. Video meetings are here to stay. Is your team properly trained and equipped?
The following are seven absolutes for successful video sales calls. Expectations for video calls are increasing, and if you show up as an amateur, buyers will notice.
If your company does not invest in these tools, spend the money yourself. You are the professional, and these tools are essential for your success. You will stand out from amateurs and adapt to buyers before the competition. The pandemic has fast-forwarded the selling profession ten years in a matter of a few months.
I have encountered myopic salespeople holding out to return to "precovid" reality when it comes to selling. Sadly, these people are going to struggle to be successful. They are committed to playing checkers as the rest of the world is playing chess. Even worse, I have talked to company owners and CEOs who are holding on to the past. They are not investing in this critical function and hope they survive the economic impact on their businesses. I hope this article is a gentle nudge for some and a swift kick in the pants for others. Business development has changed forever, and you can adapt to be successful. Take the first step.