It has been a tough time in the world as everyone attempts to navigate a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. From a personal standpoint, many of us are practicing social distancing by staying inside, canceling plans, and avoiding crowded spaces. Professionally, there are many questions that arise about how one should move forward…not the least of which centers around working from home.

Sales has been impacted. Selling is now and will forever be different! There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty/fear. As a result, it is exceedingly difficult to schedule face-to-face meetings and almost impossible to connect with actual decision-makers. Even when the social distancing restrictions are lifted, I believe there will be significantly fewer meetings scheduled. That means the importance of each meeting will increase dramatically and the dependence on videoconferencing/web calls will be at an all-time high!

I believe it will be much more difficult to unseat incumbents (the last thing they want is one more thing to change) and that means close rates will worsen, sales cycles will elongate, and pipelines will shrink. Add to that increased scrutiny when making purchasing decisions as well as budget/cash flow concerns and competing priorities.

When working from home, salespeople should practice Environmental Professionalism. That means making sure they have a professional background, quality lighting, use a high-quality sound system, they dress professionally and avoid clutter.

Let me offer the following Pre-Call Checklist before getting on that call/videoconference:

  • Send an agenda/outline in advance
  • Keep the PowerPoint/Handouts simple
  • Put your contact info on cover slide
  • Add instructions to connect to Webinar on the cover page
  • Load your materials well in advance of the Webinar
  • Test your phone/internet connection well in advance of the Webinar
  • Practice using the Web tools/controls
  • Include links or attachments to any supporting material
  • Include time and access information in email to participants
  • Include an alternate method of contact for troubleshooting

Lastly, I would like to share some best practices for controlling the call or videoconference:

  • Use two monitors
    • One logged on as the facilitator
    • A second laptop or computer logged into your meeting to view what your audience sees
  • Speak clearly…pause often
  • Practice “active listening”
  • Encourage everyone to identify themselves before they speak
  • As the host, repeat all questions that are asked of you before answering, as some attendees may not have heard the question.
  • Remind all attendees before and during the meeting to keep their microphones muted unless they are speaking.
  • Encourage use of the “chat” feature

Following the suggestions outlined in this blog post will allow you to increase the size/quality of your pipeline, improve your close rate and ultimately make more money!

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