Tips for Remote Selling During and After COVID-19
Not all firms are finding the need to move to virtual meetings, though. Some are leveraging the power of legacy communication channels. “We haven’t actually done many virtual conferences during the pandemic,” Zuckerman says. “Without in-person networking, they are less attractive. Instead, we have reinvested in taking more phone calls to keep ourselves top of mind.”
Whatever channels are chosen, it’s important to coordinate their use strategically.
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
With such a wide range of communication channels available, and such a segmented consumer market, it’s unlikely that any salesperson is going to be able to select a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, salespeople and the organizations they represent need to consider how they can be as accessible as possible through as many channels as possible at all hours of the day and night.
Websites still remain the hub for online interactions for most organizations, Arnof-Fenn says. “We have learned that your website is your calling card and SEO is critical to your success. My advice is to make sure your site is robust and can handle e-commerce traffic, if necessary.”
Arnof-Fenn recommends finding ways to leverage content marketing, influencers, video, pay-per-click, podcasts, webinars, and other tools to help ensure websites stay at the top of search results. “Online marketing is the best way to reach your audience now, so allocate more budget for online activities to engage your audience and prioritize it over print and events to prepare for a future with less travel for conferences and trade shows,” she says.
The strategic use of an array of communication channels to connect with customers and potential customers consistently and seamlessly is often referred to as omnichannel marketing. Even prior to the pandemic, more and more customers were engaging with businesses remotely. Omnichannel marketing allows them to make these connections from anywhere, on any device, and at any time. Arnof-Fenn predicts that remote selling will continue for most, if not all, of 2021.
But all these virtual connections can take a toll.
FIGHTING ZOOM FATIGUE
When the Oxford English Dictionary comes out with its list of new words this year, chances are good that “Zoom fatigue” will be on it. In fact, it’s already been identified as a neuropsychological disorder by psychiatrists. A Psychiatric Times article defines Zoom fatigue as “the tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication.” It is, the article says, “widely prevalent, intense, and completely new.”
As Zuckerman noted, sometimes a phone call is really all that’s needed and more than sufficient during these trying times to make meaningful connections.
Zoom calls are, of course, highly prevalent and likely to remain so. For those finding themselves frequently engaged on Zoom or similar online meeting platforms, Arnof-Fenn offers some tips for effectively engaging in the virtual environment:
• call people by name;
• don’t use slides;
• vary your voice tone/intonation;
• smile when you speak;
• slow down a bit so you can be heard clearly; and
• make sure you’re in a quiet place with no distractions from pets, kids, or phones ringing.
In addition, she suggests: “Always write a thank-you note or email afterward. It helps you stand out and reminds people of your strengths and interest.”
Finally, don’t skimp on purchasing the right technology to facilitate virtual interactions. While most computers have built-in webcams, investing in an external webcam can help you look more professional—lighting and backdrops might also be worthwhile considerations depending on your settings and audiences.
Something else not to neglect? Your existing customers!
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