How to Adapt & Succeed in Remote Sales
This year has presented some unique challenges for the upcoming enrollment season— one of the biggest being the transition to selling remotely. However, even before COVID-19, remote sales was on the rise. Business Wire reported that remote sales has increased by 89% since 2013.
To help you achieve remote sales success, I turned to the experts.
Our sales team here at AgencyBloc has been doing remote sales for many years. I took a moment to ask some of them their best tips and pieces of advice to help you find success.
The full interview is below; for a shortened visual version, watch our video, 5 Tips for Remote Sales Success:
Meet Our Sales Interviewees
45 years sales experience
38 years sales experience
35 years sales experience
Question 1: What is the biggest difference between in-person and remote sales?
Kellie: The personal connection. With remote sales, you have to approach that a little differently.
Dale: The ability to read the room (body language) and include everyone and make them feel heard. I like to speak to everyone, find out their roles, and discuss their individual goals to make sure we cover those.
Bev: In my opinion, the biggest difference is that you can’t always see them, so you can’t be sure they’re paying attention. The second biggest difference is that you must have voice control. You need to be able to command and direct the conversation.
Steve: The difference is really time. You can get a lot more done in a short period of time. When I sell to people in a remote setting, they’ve usually already done the research and know who I am, so they have questions prepared.
Degin: Tangibility over intangibility. Although you do get some interpersonal experience through video conferencing, the human element is somewhat removed in remote sales.
Question 2: What tools do you rely on for remote sales?
Kellie: Video conferencing, a great CRM that helps you stay on task, and a calendar that you can access from any device. Going remote is easier if you’re paperless since you don’t require much beyond your video camera, computer, management system, etc.
Dale: Obviously, good noise-canceling headsets, but the most important thing to me is a dedicated office space.
Bev: Don’t just go with the cheapest headset, because in remote sales, you may have background noises. If you’re not careful, all of those noises will come through. Also, a good phone line—that’s essential.
Degin: Zoom meetings, or other means of video calling, good quality headsets, quiet workspace with comfortable office furniture. Invest in an ergonomic chair—it’s a must to be comfortable, so that the person on the other side of the screen is, too.
Question 3: How do you make remote sales more personable?
Dale: This isn’t any different than in-person; it’s sharing stories. Paint the picture of current state vs. future state.
Bev: I’m old school. If I have someone stiff-arming me or keeping me at a distance, I’ll try to do the exact opposite because they must have something else on their mind. So, I’ll try something bizarre like asking: what did you guys do last night? How many kids do you have? When was the last time you went shopping by yourself?
Whatever it is to take them away from what we’re focusing on, bring them over to the side, then slowly bring them back to the middle of what we’re discussing.
Steve: It makes a big difference to have your video on. I always have my video on even if the person or group I’m meeting with doesn’t. It helps them get to know me and builds a stronger connection.
Degin: Ask about their personal life. Don’t always make it about business or selling something. Salespeople are generally good at rapport, so a little light humor about the world we live in goes a long way—builds not only a connection but also trust.
Question 4: What processes do you have in place to avoid no-shows?
Kellie: I reach out before the meeting and send out a few reminders.
Dale: Whole new area with remote sales. At AgencyBloc, we automate part of the process, especially the reminders, which has made a big difference for us. Then, just making sure everything (accessing the call, logging on, etc.) is easy for them.
Steve: No-shows drive me crazy. It’s very, very important that the salesperson makes sure there is a human connection before that presentation date. Then, people know that this is a 1-on-1 demo; you have time that you’re taking, and I have time that I’m taking. If you’re not going to be able to make it, let me know. Otherwise, no-shows are a total waste of time for both parties.
Degin: Call, email, and video intro via email are my go-tos.
Question 5: What does your follow-up process look like after that first call?
Kellie: I set proper expectations of what the follow-up will be, what they can expect, and what works best for them. Then, they can look forward to when we reconnect.
Dale: That’s simple for me; it mirrors what the expectations are. I always speak to the individual/group about their expectations and the purpose of the next conversation. I schedule the next meeting during the call; then, we don’t have to play phone or email tag later to get it scheduled.
Bev: My process is I’ll make a call. Then, three days later, I’ll make the second call. Then, I put it out for a week, then out for a month. I also know and trust that our marketing team will be sending out communications as well to help warm them up and keep them engaged.
Steve: The follow-up is very important. I set expectations at the end of my meeting and determine next steps for both parties. Then, define the timeline.
Degin: Always, always, always send a thank you email immediately after the demo and any other follow up materials requested. Follow up one week later with a call and an email if the call was unsuccessful. Repeat at least 7 more times until a reconnect occurs.
Question 6: What is your #1 piece of advice for anyone doing remote sales?
Kellie: Have a dedicated place in your home. Shut the door and focus on work.
Dale: Treat it as if it were the same as an in-person conversation. Take it seriously, do your homework, and treat them the same exact way you would in their office. At the end of the day, it’s still sales.
Bev: You always have to continue to grow. You can’t get stuck saying the same thing over and over. Change up what you’re saying or how you’re saying it. Create urgency in your message.
Steve: The majority of people in the USA learn by visual communication. Please don’t just talk about things, show them.
I hope these answers were helpful for you to improve your remote sales process. Remember, you are human; they are human. Keep that at the forefront and find what works for you.
The most important things to have in place are the tools to help you. Here’s a quick list of what our team relies on:
- A cloud-based CRM
- Noise-canceling headset
- Dedicated office space
- Zoom (video conferencing software)
Do your due diligence and get yourself set up for success. Then, take a look at the technology you use to run your business operations. Does it help or allow your team to sell remotely?
A cloud-based, industry-specific agency management system (AMS), like AgencyBloc, can help you work from anywhere at any time. Learn more about how AgencyBloc can support your processes and help you revolutionize your remote sales initiatives with a 1-on-1 demo
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