Virtual sales calls


13th January, 2022

Virtual sales calls: 7 best practices to win clients and close deals

Virtual sales calls have replaced the traditional ‘call in’ style of face-to-face sales activities. Here are some practical tips to make sure you’re making the most of this brave new world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we sell. Instead of meeting over a coffee, sales representatives now meet with their clients over Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Even as restrictions and lockdowns become a thing of the past, the effects of the pandemic will likely be with us for the foreseeable future and possibly longer.

In sales, video calls are here to stay. This is because virtual sales calls are simply beneficial. Besides saving on business travel expenses, selling through a screen is more flexible and scalable, giving way to business global expansion at significantly less.

So the question is: how can you win clients and close deals over a virtual sales call? Here are seven best practices to help you meet your sales goals in a virtual, video-first world.

1. Plan your talking points

If you head into a virtual sales call without a plan, you are basically letting money walk out the door. With every sales pitch, you need to know how to connect and persuade.

Having a sales call script can let you take charge of the call. It also better prepares you for any situation, no matter if it is answering tricky questions or addressing an awkward silence.

Besides, you can also better visualise your dialogue, like how to break the ice or how you can make smooth transitions leading to sales closing.

Taking it one step further, every customer is different and your sales pitch should be too.

While you may base your sales pitch on actual customer research, it would be helpful to have a standard operating procedure to serve as a guideline. This will give you better clarity to not miss out on any essential talking points.

2. Have a proper workstation

Here’s where video sales interaction can get tricky. No matter how great your sales pitch is, there are a lot of other variables that can influence the outcome of the sale.

It all comes down to whether your prospect thinks the call went well. Even if your pitch has been done perfectly, without a proper microphone, you might end up sounding too soft or worse, choppy that it can be extremely off-putting.

So set up a proper workstation and invest in lighting and audio quality. Run a call with your workmate to check if you look and sound good.

3. Create an engaging presentation

Your presentation slides have become that much more important now that it is the primary visual. So when designing your slides, create an experience that generates excitement.

When your presence is just text on a screen, it can become hard for your customers to relate. Instead, use compelling visuals or relevant GIFs to keep interest levels high and stop in between for questions or quizzes to make things interactive.

Sales in part are about building a relationship, so make time for conversation out of that presentation deck to create an emotional connection with your customers.

Our attention span behind the screen is short. You can also further boost engagement with your virtual customers by showing them a demo or how everything works live.

3. Take breaks (seriously, this is important)

Our attention spans are much shorter when we are sitting behind a screen. Most people tend to lose interest after just ten minutes.

So if you’re running a long sales pitch talking to stakeholders, you’re bound to encounter video meeting fatigue.

The only solution to this is by implementing a short break every 30 to 45 minutes for everyone to regain their focus. Also, remember not everything needs to be done live. You can always rule out things that can be done over an email to cut short your virtual call time.

4. Watch out for non-verbal cues

Great salespeople listen more than they speak. When making your virtual sales call, use video as an opportunity to watch how your prospect reacts to questions and ideas.

Body language speaks volumes, but it can get misleading when it is done virtually. Because reading body language on video calls is just an entirely different ball game.

Virtual audiences tend to be more passive, which means observing more and engaging less. There is also a limit in their expression, and often you can easily mistake a person’s resting business face as being bored or disinterested.

Communication expert and former television reporter, Mimi Bliss shares some tips on how you can communicate effectively over the screen.

Feel free to make gestures with your hands. Because this will naturally lend more energy to your voice and tone. Another tip is mirroring your clients.

Maintain eye contact with your potential prospects and mirror their positive gestures. Smile if they smile or when they are beginning to nod, throw in a nod or two of your own.

This can create a sense of likeness between the two of you and tells a message that you are both thinking and feeling similarly, which will help to close sales.

When uncertain about what your client is feeling, engage them with a question and look for clues in their answer and tone to see where they are at.

6. End your call with clear next steps

While you may have delivered the best pitch for your product or service and it might be just what your prospect needs, they won’t always sign on the spot.

Introducing a time-limited sales incentive, like a sales discount or throwing in free upgrades can be the conclusive move to get them to subscribe.

And if they still need more time to think about it, at the very least, identify the next steps before you end the call.

Be respectful of their decision but make sure you continue with your follow-up interactions to encourage decision-making momentum from your customers. If not, the lead will go cold and you will risk the possibility of your potential customer falling through.

7. Record the call and optimise

If you are not recording your sales call, you are missing out on a wealth of information.

A lot of thoughts can run through your head during your conversations with customers. Have you covered the benefits of your product or service? What is the best offer for this client?

Chances are you might have missed out on an important point or two. With call recording, you can easily replay the call to get a repeat on what has been discussed.

Besides, you can also analyse the call to improve your virtual sales pitch.

Maybe your conversation lacks organisation and structure or you might have missed out on the opportunity to address a client’s concerns about their problems. Either way, analysing sales pitches will give you hindsight on how you can further hone your pitch to close deals.

When looking for a tool to record your calls, I recommend AI-powered tools like Chorus or Wingman that doubles as a sales coaching tool providing insightful calling reports.

Important note: While recording your virtual sales pitch can be extremely beneficial, keep in mind to always get your client’s permission before you record a meeting.

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Here’s the wrap

Virtual sales calls are here to stay and we need to adapt to this changing selling environment. Using these best practices in a virtual sales call will keep you at the top of your game and help you win clients and close deals.

Above all else, remember that all businesses are relationship-driven. To keep customers coming back, make constant touchpoints with them even after your virtual sales call.