I’m no salesperson, but I do find the sales process fascinating, especially the impact of technology on it. I often ask the best B2B salesman I know if there’s anything new for the benefit of this blog, and he recently brought up the subject of selling over video. As someone whose success has been built on face to face meetings and ‘working the room’, the past year has been difficult. However, he thinks that some degree of online selling is here to stay, and has had to adapt to accommodate that.
If selling over the telephone isn’t nearly as effective as doing it face to face, he says, then at least some of its drawbacks ought to be solved by video calls. And that’s proved to be the case. The effectiveness of selling via a Zoom or Teams call turns out to be somewhere between the two. In the absence of being able to organise a physical meeting, a video call is better than a telephone call.
Having an excuse to require a video call can be necessary if the customer is reticent. Useful suggestions include the need to demonstrate a product, or even just to show some slides. However, in the actual presentation, these shouldn’t get in the way of face to face contact, so the key skill is to switch back to a full-screen face as soon as possible after having shown the slides or products. It’s very easy to get chatting and leave the slide taking up the screen.
Another difference between telephone and face to face sales calls, according to my friend, is the expectation of the outcome. Physical sales visits will usually be with a view to closing a deal, whereas telephone calls often come with less pressure on both parties, because they involve so much less effort and expense. Video sales calls similarly require less expense, but if they’re replacing a face to face meeting, they need to be entered into with a similar outcome in mind.