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Right now, most (if not all) of our relationship building and sales development activities are being conducted using technology, virtually. My clients are missing the in-person interactions of sales conversations, client events, conferences, and the like. Not being able to “walk the floor” can be challenging for adhoc relationship building, learning about new problems to solve, or seeing a client work in real-time.

Successful sales leaders and professionals adapt. While we’re in this virtual world for now, I’m sharing some best practices that my clients are using to build sales relationships and move opportunities through their pipelines to wins.

Use demos to promote virtual sales relationship building.

I have a manufacturing client whose sales professionals have been unable to visit their customers’ facilities. Because they sell a tactile product, a prospect or customer needs to see it in action. So, they’ve taken their product demos virtual. To do this successfully, they have to strongly qualify the need upfront, to best determine the specific product to demo. To keep the customer focused and engaged, they then limit the demo to a specific product. Their follow-up then becomes sending a sample product for the customer, and guiding them virtually through the process of implementing it. This two-step follow-up ensures better progress toward winning the opportunity.

Virtual round tables.

Several of my clients are experiencing success with bringing together their non-competitive clients for thought leadership and networking, all via virtual round tables. As a team or industry unit, make a list of your top 10-20 clients and invite them to a facilitated video discussion around a lightly planned set of themes. This has been successful in building sales relationships, bringing people together for valuable conversation, and it has also led to new opportunities.

Mastering a shorter sales conversation.

Shorter and more focused sales conversations. Instead of booking that one-hour conversation, what can you accomplish in 30 minutes? I teach a sales conversation framework that’s both outcomes-focused and builds a better sales relationship. The keys to getting really good at building sales relationships virtually are in the pre-planning and the follow-up post conversation. By planning ahead and then quickly following through, conversations are more productive and have momentum. I’m also using video for virtually every sales conversation, as are my clients. They’re seeing better engagement, improved rapport-building, and more forward progress in their opportunities.

Personalized video for prospecting and follow up.

Personalization via video in emails is another area to experiment with for better results in both your prospecting and follow-up activities. Rather than only sending an email, adding a short video to that email improves open rates. Tools like Hippo Video provide the platform for recording and tracking the performance of those video emails. An additional connection hack to explore is the audio messaging feature on LinkedIn. For your first-degree connections, you can leave a 1-minute audio message. This tip can be even more powerful if you have additional sales leadership tactics that can be shared via typewritten message to pair up with your audio.

Getting away from the computer.

We all need consistent breaks from our devices right now. In the absence of face-to-face, I know I’m logging a lot of extra time in front of technology devices. I’m sure you are too. Your outreach or sales activities may need to be more focused, but in less time. Find ways to change up your routines to prevent falling into ruts and keeping yourself energized.

To get started, choose one of these sales strategies that makes the most sense for your sales territory or book of business. Consistently implement over the next quarter, and you’ll see results in our virtual selling world.

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