Sales meetings have always been stressful. But with the recent shift to digital, many sales professionals have had to adapt to a whole new way of closing deals.
Naturally, as with anything new, mistakes are still being made. And since sales meeting blunders can cost you business, we've created a list of the five most common ones so you can avoid them in the future.
1. Counting on Technology
Counting on technology and the fact that everyone involved will be equally tech-savvy is a big mistake. No matter how familiar you are with the platform you'll be using, keep in mind your attendees might not be.
To ensure everything runs smoothly on meeting day, consider sending an agenda with short instructions beforehand. That way, everyone will have time to prepare and download the software if necessary. The truth is, technology is sometimes the biggest culprit for things going wrong in virtual meetings. So, while having improvisation skills is definitely a plus, you should still always be prepared for a virtual business meeting.
Because let's face it — nobody wants to waste the first 20 minutes waiting for you to figure out how to share the correct screen.
2. Assuming Business As Usual
Treating a virtual sales meeting as an in-person sales meeting is the biggest mistake any business can make. Since you aren't selling in a controlled environment of a conference room, you need to take distractions into account.
Keep in mind that all meeting participants are going to be in front of a screen or on a business phone. This implies incoming emails and messages, as well as the occasional glimpse of the daily news. So, to make sure your attendees have their attention on you, make sure to include them in the conversation.
For example, at the beginning of the session, announce that you'll ask for feedback. This not only keeps the participants on their toes, but it also lets them know you value their input.
3. Trying to Shorten the Meeting
We've all read it somewhere — people simply have a shorter attention span during virtual meetings. So, the natural thing to do would be to shorten them, right? Wrong.
Often, sales representatives try to speed up the meeting once they see the attendees' attention is drifting. But doing so often results in no time for you to create a deeper relationship with your prospects. So, as challenging as it may seem, try to leave a few minutes at the end of the meeting for questions and rapport building.
A good way to have enough time for a quick chat after your sales pitch is to make your pitch deck less informative. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, think about it: do you really need all that information on one slide? The truth is, if your slide deck contains too much text, your prospect's attention will go to reading it rather than listening to you.
So, to make sure you've got your customers' attention at all times, consider simplifying your slides. And if you don't want your super informative slide deck to go to waste, you can always send it after the call.
4. Overdoing the Visuals
An obvious advantage of virtual sales meetings is the ability to showcase your well-designed pitch deck. That said, it's easy to fall into the trap of overwhelming your prospects with visuals. Keep in mind that sharing your screen takes up the majority of space on any given platform.
So, by sharing your screen the entire time, you're actually setting yourself up for a less personal connection with your audience. Instead, try going in and out of screen sharing mode. That way, you can bring the prospect's focus back on you when it's time to exchange ideas and answer questions.
5. Not Having a Backup Plan
Not being able to hear a participant, join the meeting, or slow internet connections — we've all been there.
The thing with technology is that, no matter how prepared you are, something can always go wrong. That's why it's important to have a contingency plan in place. For example, if the audio isn't working for you or your participants, there's no point in sticking to a video conferencing platform for that meeting.
After all, if you can't hear each other, you will likely not make the sale just by looking at them. Instead, have a go-to dial-in number you can rely on when everything else fails. You can always share the supporting documents via email and help the customers understand you better.
And if you do become a victim of a technical predicament, it's not the end of the world. Having a sound backup plan will not only show your prospects that you know your way around tech issues, but also that you're a reliable person to work with.
Using new technology can be daunting, especially if you've been selling in person your entire career. However, it's important to remember that virtual selling doesn't necessarily have to result in fewer closed deals.
By avoiding these five common mistakes, you're that much closer to being better at virtual sales. At the end of the day, you already have the core skills you need. All that's left to do now is adapt them to the virtual environment.