Who would have guessed that in 2020 the new buzzword would be social-distancing and COVID-19 would drastically alter the sales landscape we live in? The reality is that sales professionals have been asked to work remotely during this pandemic and are tasked with prospecting and selling from a distance. This change in reality presents a challenge for most of us, as we’re accustomed to face-to-face interactions and dislike changes to our daily routines. Let us explore some ways to work and prospect remotely.
Adapting to change
Most sales people are extroverts and feed off of body language, tone, and energy from in-person contact. While working remotely is a big transition, it’s one that could be more common going forward so we had better learn to adapt. Working remotely will also help you be more efficient and potentially productive since there is no windshield time.
Keys to Success
As mentioned earlier, this is a big transition and it is important to stay focused and come up with a new plan and daily routine. Making a connection and being personable are still keys to success. Now, they just have to be done on the phone or via video. Below are some key ideas and fundamentals to achieve sales and prospecting success remotely.
- Set your schedule- book time in your calendar for prospecting, follow-ups, paperwork, updates with staff or managers, and breaks to create daily habits.
- Staff check ins and updates weekly or bi-weekly to stay connected and continue collaboration
- Remain focused and limit in-home distractions. It is important to work during dedicated work times, use breaks accordingly and try not to carry work into your personal time.
- Be comfortable. A comfortable chair, stand up desk, headset or ear pods instead of traditional handheld, larger monitor or monitors, etc.
- Make sure people know how to reach you and communicate every chance you can, make yourself available to your team. Conference Calls, Webinars, Zoom/ Microsoft Team calls etc.
- Work on your social media presence via LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Share articles, write a blog, start a discussion group and connect to new people in like industries and with similar interests.
o Share valuable content to prospects and partners, stay in front of them in whatever way you can until you can actually meet in-person again
- Actively work on your call list, whether it is cold calling or calling on referral partners. The key is to stay in touch and continually follow up with prospects and referral sources.
- Log in all call information as tracking data is important.
- Stay up to date on your competition, prospects, clients, and continue to research key topics in your industry.
- Practice your call script or presentation. This is different from in person so record yourself or practice with a colleague to get comfortable in front of the camera. It may sound painful, but now is an ideal time to improve your effectiveness and ability to connect.
Working and selling remotely may be new to you, but with dedicated time, effort, and a detailed plan, it is a challenge you will overcome. Once you find your groove and get comfortable, you will find that you are more efficient and productive. Change is scary for most of us as creatures of habit; however, continual growth and adaptation are paramount to success. Incorporate these remote activities and disciplines into daily routine going forward; they will apply when we are able to have face-to-face interactions again. Remote or in person, the goal is the same; ask for the meeting, ask for the business, and ask for a referral.
Jason Disco is Vice President, Sales | BPAS Actuarial & Pension Services.