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March 8, 2021 Adrian Zee

How to move from in-person sales calls to online calls

Depending on your industry, virtual sales calls may be your tool of choice or a rare occurrence. But the pandemic has made sales calls over webchat everyone’s go-to. There are benefits to both online and offline selling. Online selling offers convenience and scalability while meeting in-person can forge stronger relationships and allows you to read the other person’s body language more clearly. 

This article provides four tips to improve your online sales calls, such that you won’t miss doing it in-person. 

Building rapport is different but still important

Online sales calls usually take less time. What takes an hour in-person might be 15 or 30-minutes over video. Often, we put so much effort into meeting in-person, whether driving to a location or finding parking, that there’s an obligation to lengthen the meeting. As a result, we fill the time with more small talk and develop a stronger relationship. 

With COVID-19 pushing us to be less social, rapport building is critical to bringing back a bit of normalcy. But this doesn’t mean you should fill an extra 30 minutes with rapport building. In a virtual meeting, five minutes may be enough. 

Screen share can help replicate in-person interactions 

Features such as “share screen” can replicate the process of presenting brochures and other sales collateral to your clients. But you need to ensure the feature works. Taking a moment to pause and fix technological issues can ruin the momentum of your sales call. That’s why it’s essential to prepare ahead and have a backup plan.

Screen sharing may also allow you to annotate whatever you share with a digital marker. This can help you circle products that you recommend based on your client’s needs and desires — just like it was a physical brochure. Afterward, you can email the annotated brochure to the client to help with their decision-making process.

Be flexible with your tools

We all have our favorite apps to use for video calls. But it’s essential to be flexible. While Zoom might be your battleground of choice, you want to select the app that’s most convenient for your client. This could be Facetime or Google hangouts. 

So, you should learn the ins and outs of an array of video conferencing apps and not only one. If sharing your screen or having a virtual background is important to your process, understand whether it’s possible on other platforms and how you can do it. It would help if you also had a plan b in case the platform doesn’t let you use your desired tools. 

How you dress isn’t just your clothes 

Every online selling article reminds us to dress like it was an in-person meeting. But what they fail to mention is the remaining aesthetics of your video conferencing environment. This means ensuring that the lighting is good and your background is neutral. It’s hard for the other side to view your video when the sun is shining in from behind you or when your room’s so dark that it looks like a horror movie. 

Be mindful of your microphone and headset as well. If your sales meeting is formal enough to warrant a suit, wearing a gaming headset with RBG lights might not be appropriate. 

Selling online has numerous differences from its in-person counterpart. However, neither one is necessarily better than the other. Each is a unique environment with advantages and disadvantages for you to work into your own sales process.

Adrian Zee

Adrian Zee is a freelance writer and a student at Osgoode Hall Law School. Previously, he studied management and writing at Western University and worked in the data & analytics industry. Adrian is also a part-time food writer and photographer at DailyHive/DishedTO.