In sales, time is of the essence. Finding a small window to pitch to a potential client has always been a tricky task. The key to successfully connecting with always-on-the-go prospects is the impromptu online meeting. It doesn’t matter where or when, connecting online is one of the best weapons in a salesperson’s armoury.
However, this does change the dynamic of a sales meeting as they can happen anywhere at any time. This can leave sales reps under-prepared and unaware of how they come across online, which can be a deal breaker when time is limited.
To establish credibility, deepen the relationship and move closer to a signed contract, Jill Konrath, sales acceleration strategist and join.me by LogMeIn have outlined the following tips:
1. Focus on what prospects care about
Before they do anything, a sales rep should think carefully about what they want to get out of an online meeting with their prospect. Success or failure in meeting this aim depends upon having a good idea about where the prospect is in their buying cycle. If they do want to shake up the status quo, the salesperson should look to help the prospect decide by offering the solution to their problem.
Solving a business issue should be at the heart of the impromptu online meeting, not selling a product, which is where many fall According to Forrester Research only 13% of executive buyers believe that sales reps can clearly show they understand their business issues and present an appropriate solution. No wonder more than 60% of forecast deals go nowhere.
Sales reps need to focus on specific issues such as reducing customer churn or helping to cut down on overtime. Getting to the heart of the matter straight away in snatched meetings is key; talking about a product or service is unlikely to win anybody over, particularly if they are happy with the status quo, no matter how much better it could be.
2. Pinpoint the best moment for an online impromptu meeting
Knowing when to jump online for a virtual meeting can be the difference between failure and success. Prime moments for sales reps to capitalise on are when having an email or phone conversation with a prospect. In sales, the old adage of “Don’t tell me, show me” still rings true.
The advantage of online meetings is that they offer a visual, interactive aid to the salesperson: graphics, demonstrate a product remotely in real-time or show any document. Such a capability is crucial for clinching that deal, as research shows that most people remember 80% of what they see and do.
Sales reps need tools that enable them to be able to connect with prospects wherever they are, whether on working at home, train, plane or automobile.
3. Lead conversations and create engagement
To get their prospects to where they want them, sales reps have to take charge of online meetings and encourage the prospect to engage. This is achieved by asking a range of quality questions. These both reveal information about the prospect useful to the sales process, as well as help to build good relationships through demonstrating knowledge, expertise, understanding and building trust.
To be most effective, sales reps need to plan these questions before a meeting to ensure they are covered and that they include qualifying statements to show experience.
The two-way (or more!) interaction in an online meeting should extend beyond a simple conversation. As discussed, engagement with a prospect also needs to be visual. Sales reps can encourage this in an online meeting by showing a range of content – presentation, video, graphs, websites – or, if providing an IT product, allowing the prospect to explore a demonstration for themselves. Finally, if they are at the proposal stage, sales reps could look to collaborating online with the client on key recommendations and documents.
4. Pick the right technology
There’s no point having an online meeting if the application being used is not up to the task. Around a third of sales professionals believe that the online tool they are using is more of a hindrance than a help. Therefore, care needs to be taken when selecting an online meeting tool.
Ideally, sales reps need intuitive tools that offer a seamless experience; tools that make setting up, joining and administering a meeting as simple as possible. If time is wasted having to wait for applications to download, tool elements to start, or videos to buffer, the momentum of a meeting can be lost, which could ultimately result in the sale being lost too.
5. Finalise next steps
Sales reps should always finish a meeting with a way forward or what the plan of action is.
For example, if a prospect seems really interested, but is delaying their commitment to buy, the sales rep should to articulate the business case.
If they can, the rep should aim for a further meeting or action, such as who else needs to be involved or are there any other considerations.
Success with impromptu online meetings is a mixture of planning and having the right tools. Sales reps need to plan and practise various scenarios to see what will work and what won’t. Only then will they be prepared for that last minute online opportunity.
By Stephen Duignan, Vice President of Global Marketing at LogMeIn. Simplifying how people connect to their colleagues, employees, devices and the world around them. Jill Konrath hosted a one-off webinar for join.me on online sales meetings, here