Sales reps who were selling in person just a few months ago are now steeped in a very different (virtual) reality. But how do salespeople feel about virtual sales meetings versus in-person presentations?
Not good. According to our recent industry survey of over 550 B2B sales reps, nearly 70 percent of salespeople don’t believe that virtual selling is as effective as in-person.
One of the biggest reasons, according to respondents, is that participants tend to multi-task. In fact, 88 percent of salespeople believe their prospects and customers are likely to multi-task during virtual sales calls. And 83 percent admitted to checking their own email (among other things) during other people’s meetings.
The tendency to multi-task leads to other challenges as well. Sales reps told us that there’s very little interaction during online sales meetings. And it’s harder to build relationships when you’re not meeting face-to-face.
You don’t have the luxury of looking your audience in the eye and pulling them back in when you sense their attention is starting to wander. When selling online, you need to use different tactics to get your buyers’ attention, keep them focused on your presentation, and make sure they remember your message after the call.
6 Ways to Make Your Virtual Sales Meetings Engaging and Memorable
Use these six research-backed techniques for more engaging, memorable, and effective virtual sales meetings.
1. Control Your Message
Our research shows that people will naturally forget up to 90 percent of what you communicate after 48 hours. But that’s not the worst of it. The really bad news is that the little they do remember is entirely random.
If your goal is to drive consensus around a specific buying decision, you need to make sure your audience doesn’t just remember something—they need to remember the right “10% message.”
Your 10% message is the one core message that you want your buyers to remember and act on after the call. To be effective, your 10% message must be:
Keep your 10% message simple and clear. If you ask your audience to remember too much, they may get the gist of what you’re talking about, but the memory won’t be precise enough to recall your message later on.
2. Focus Their Attention
There’s a popular myth that people have a shorter attention span than 25 years ago. But when you consider the number of people who binge-watch television shows, you know that’s not true. People have a great capacity for prolonged attention. But today, they have a higher threshold for stimulation.
In a remote selling situation, your audience has all the enticing distractions of home and the internet right at their fingertips. To effectively plant your 10% message among all of those distractions, you need to overcome your buyers’ stimulation threshold with visuals and interactive elements—including color, size, and animation—to draw their attention to the most important information in your slides.
3. Prime Their Brain
If you want to keep your buyers engaged throughout your entire presentation, you need to prime their brains to pay attention when it matters most. That means identifying the key moments where you want to attract more attention and, right before those moments, intensify the stimulus with a powerful “priming” slide.
Research shows that using intense visual stimulus in this way spikes peoples’ attention and engagement in those moments. Not only that—they stay engaged for the next 30 to 60 seconds. So right before you share important information, use a priming slide to re-capture your buyers’ focus, and prime their brains to pay attention to what comes next.
4. Create Compelling Dialogue
To keep their attention and focus when presenting your insights remotely, you need to move away from a one-way monologue and skillfully create a two-way dialogue.
But there’s a precise choreography to follow, based on research, for provoking this kind of dialogue. It’s called DIQ, or “Data, Insight, Question.”
Start your dialogue with a piece of data that’s related to an external factor that’s important to your buyer’s business. Turn that data into an insight by placing that information in the context of your buyer’s current business and their situation. Then, and only then, do you ask a question that will provoke a dialogue.
DIQ transfers ownership of the insight and initiates the process of self-persuasion, which ultimately makes your message more persuasive and memorable.
5. Build Dynamic Interaction
There are several different ways to build more dynamic interactions during virtual sales meetings.
Turning on your camera, for example, is one easy way to create more interaction. Most sales reps believe that people multi-task less when their cameras are on. Yet, 82 percent don’t ask their audience to turn on their camera, and 65 percent choose to keep their own camera off.
Live whiteboarding is another way to make your presentation more dynamic and it differentiates you from nearly every other presentation people will see. Shutting down your slides briefly and drawing your story as you tell it is also a useful way to spike people’s attention.
Finally, using chats and polls can facilitate interaction with everyone on the call, help you discover audience sentiments, and uncover key issues and opportunities. Armed with this insight, you can begin to drive, facilitate, or guide consensus-building during the call.
6. Engage for Impact
The last thing most salespeople want in their presentations is unnecessary friction. But adding friction can actually be a good thing.
A research study conducted by Corporate Visions found that asking your buyer to draw a simple visual story and write down specific notes during your presentation can improve engagement, differentiation, and recall. Plus, it can make your story more convincing.
Using interactive visuals in this way improves how quickly people process the information you share and it helps embed it into your audience’s mind. They become more personally invested in the story. And, they will be able to pass that story along to others in their organization long after your presentation.
More Effective Virtual Sales Meetings
Your sales presentation needs to engage your buyers, hold their attention, and deliver a clear message that motivates them to take action. And this becomes an even greater challenge online.
Using the above virtual sales tips, you can develop and deliver highly compelling sales presentations that drive action—even when you’re not there in person.
Get our e-book, Virtual is Vital, for more research-backed insights to make your virtual sales calls engaging and memorable.