How to Run a Successful Remote Sales Meeting
May 05, 2020
According to one of the world’s leading sources of sales research data, there are now an average of 6.8 buyers in any complex B2B buying decision. That was before COVID- 19, those decision-makers are just as likely to be someone in a different part of the country (or the world) as they are to be in your city. While online meetings do provide us with several benefits, we should not overlook the obvious challenges that this channel presents.
Let’s start with the fact that many people have gone from having a lot of meetings, too many meetings in fact – to now doing nothing but meetings all day every day.
As our calendars fill up faster than panic buyers filled their trolley’s at Woolworths, we find ourselves losing the valuable opportunity to regroup as we dash from one meeting to the next, and almost everyone seems to be breaking what can only be likened to Olympic records in screen time right now.
In a day packed with Zoom meetings and Skype calls it can become easy to lose site of the objectives that we have set for ourselves. We may, in our efforts to be as responsive and supportive as possible and a helpful team player, on occasion lose our focus on the work that matters the most to us.
The first casualty? Yup, our focus on our sales meetings. Taking the time to prioritize sales meetings and taking the step to set those in your calendar is the first action that we can take to create time around what is vital to our day to day operations.
The second step is to ensure that your client or prospect has a meaningful, inspiring, and engaging meeting, one where your full attention is focused on them.
My top tips for running a professional and inspiring sales meeting online (while wearing your pajamas on your bottom half) are…
- When initially engaging with your customer to set up the meeting – ensure that you are very clear about the value you believe you can deliver, set the expectations for the meeting upfront and ensure to outline potential outcomes for the customer – this will make your meeting seem worthwhile and certainly one that they absolutely cannot miss out on.
- Do confirm the meeting the day before, and in your confirmation, email restates the purpose of the meeting and the outcomes that they can expect. Often we set a meeting with the best of intentions and then life and distraction creep in – so sending your prospect an email the evening before is a nice gentle reminder for them that the meeting is still going to take place.
- Clarifying what they can expect to achieve from the meeting also prevents the all too often occurrence of them waking up in the morning realizing they are over-committed for the day and they have to cull a few things from their packed schedule. Your meeting is less lucky to fall victim to a last-minute cancellation because your customer clearly understands the benefit of attending.
- Do make sure to test your setup before the meeting. if you are running regular sales meetings it's always a good idea to do a test run first thing in the morning so you know that you're ready for the day and everything is working as it should.
Check your lighting, do a once overrun through on any PowerPoints or presentations that you will be sharing, and ensure that you know which meetings may require additional support.
- Always keep in mind that virtual meetings often start late and have a hard stop time – especially with Zoom, so do be prepared. Meetings also generally always start with some basic pleasantries, so make sure you set aside a few minutes for that as well during your timing outline.
- Do not go in unprepared. Make sure to always plan out your calls or meetings as structured conversations – so have a list of items to cover next to you and do also make sure to add in some thoughtful research about the prospect and have some pre-prepared conversational questions on hand, just in case.
- To avoid disengagement which can often happen after a long day of online meetings, I suggest always stating upfront at the beginning of the call that you’ll be asking questions and listening for much of the discussion so that you can both achieve the maximum benefit of the meeting as well.
- I always send a prompt thank you follow up email straight afterwards and include any relevant attachments or items promised during the online meeting. A polite follow-up seven days later to check in with the prospect and see if there are any questions or if anything else has come to mind since your meeting will also really differentiate you from your competitors.
As we know with many things in life it is not the ‘Bells and Whistles’ that differentiate us but being consistent and ensuring quality and excellence, especially in terms of crisis, that set us apart. These small actions can go a long way to ensuring that your prospect views you as different, caring, and professional and someone that they ultimately want to do business with now, or in the future.
What are some of the best experiences you have had with online meetings, and how could you replicate that experience in your business?
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