How are you at selling remotely? Are you okay with the idea of selling less in person and selling more via phone, email, and text? And if not, what’s that likely to do to your income?
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today cohost Chris Templeton and I will be talking about using phone, email, and text to replace in-person selling. Welcome Chris.
Chris: Hi David. You know, to me, selling on the phone doesn’t seem all that different from selling in person. And as a matter of fact, that’s been my primary way of sales over the last, well almost 20 years. But I know not everybody agrees. How critical do you think remote selling is going to be going forward?
David: I think it’s going to be really critical going forward. I mean, obviously over the course of the past months, the world has demonstrated how if you want to sell something, and you can’t do it remotely, you’re going to have a lot of trouble. So yeah, going forward, I think it’s going to be just as important if not more important.
As restrictions continue to be lifted, a lot of people are going to be tempted to think, “okay, we’re going to be able to move back to business as usual.” And maybe we will and maybe we won’t. We just don’t know.
But in the meantime, I know there are a lot of people who started working from home who said, “you know what? This isn’t too bad!” And there are businesses who are looking at the expense of having an office and saying, “maybe I don’t need that. Maybe we can do more simply by working at home.”
As things like that start to happen, a lot of people are going to be in the situation where they’re going to have to start adapting. And even if they don’t, if you’re able to sell both in person and remotely on the phone or whatever, it just increases your horizons. It allows you to reach more people more quickly.
It allows you to identify the targets you want to go after and be able to go after them without having to physically be in front of them. So I think regardless, it’s just a good skill to have and now is the perfect time to make sure that you’re developing and honing that skill.
Chris: And I think it’s really important to just say straight up, you know what? We may get back to business as usual someday. But I think that if what you’re doing as a business person is pinning your hopes on that, you’re going to be waiting a long time, number one.
And number two, once you begin to practice with some of these online tools, having online meetings, it becomes not an issue at all.
And I would encourage people to really think about what it is that they’re telling themselves. If they think that this is a negative way to do business, look at your story about why and really think about, “gee, what if I were good at this? How would I feel about it then?” And I think that we’ve got to really bridge that gap in our own minds to begin with, don’t you?
David: I do. You mentioned the fact that you’ve done a lot of selling on the phone and online over a long period of time. I’m in exactly the same situation. So to that extent, because we both have that experience we’re, to whatever extent, if not jaded then at least biased in our opinion because we know how well it can work.
But I recognize that there are people listening to this podcast who are not in that situation. They’ve done face to face for the bulk of their lives and that’s what they’re used to, and they may have trouble adapting.
The purpose of this podcast is to do two things.
One is to say to people who have not sold successfully remotely, “Hey look, you can probably do this and we’re happy to help you to try to figure out how to make that happen.”
And also for those who are good at it, to recognize that you possess a skill that is really necessary right now. So if you’re working for someone else, that is a skill that could be coveted by other employers. If you own your own business, recognize it gives you a tremendous advantage. And just realizing that the more, different ways we have of accomplishing a particular result, particularly when it comes to selling products and services, the better off we are.
We just never know what’s going to change, what’s going to happen. If, months ago, you had said to me, “Hey, guess what David, you’re not going to be able to leave your house for a period of time.” I wouldn’t have believed it!
But you know, here we are. And so I think anything can happen at any time. We all kind of know that, but if this isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what it is.
Chris: Yeah, I think you’re right on the money. And again, I want to just encourage people to play around with the idea of what would my ideal way of working from home be.
Understanding that that may not be my most desired way to do things. There’s still value in it.
And as you said at the beginning of the podcast, it turns out that working from home isn’t so bad and maybe it saves me some expenses in terms of commuting or an office and I have found working remotely to just be such a pleasure and I want people to know that it can be.
David: Yes, it absolutely can be. And yeah, look for the good. I mean that’s probably good advice anytime. Look for the good. Try to find ways of adapting to the situation and making it better.
If you’re adapting from in-person selling to telephone selling or remote selling via online or whatever, one of the first things that comes to mind is, “okay, well how am I going to be able to establish rapport with people?” Because if I’m used to doing it in person, then doing it online or doing it on the phone is going to be different.
So when we think about doing this, recognize that, okay, yeah, it might be a little different. We might have to approach things a little differently, but it can be done.
And many of the same things have to happen. We basically have to be able to say, “okay, I need to be able to establish rapport with someone.” How am I going to do that? What do I have to do to make that happen? Let’s say I’m on the phone instead of in person…
David: Obviously, if you’re in front of somebody, it’s a lot easier to get and hold their attention — as long as they’re not completely rude.
If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you’ve probably been in a face to face appointment with someone who wasn’t paying attention to what you were doing, and they’re looking around and checking their email. That’s about the worst. But imagine that if the person’s on the phone, you can’t even see a lot of this stuff happening!
So I think part of the approach has to be really tuning in to the conversations that we’re having with people. Trying to pay attention. Okay, what is probably going on on the other end of this phone or this Skype session or whatever it is that I’m doing, and is this person engaging with me? Am I getting full responses? Are they as engaged as they can possibly be? And if the answer is no, then we really need to fine tune the conversation.
We need to start working on things that we can do and say to get them reengaged, and make sure that we’re keeping them right there with us the whole time.
Chris: It’s a great point. I guess one of the things that comes up for me is, you know, we talk about the different ways that you can be selling remotely and not in person, and I think we got to take a look at when I’m online or on a phone that I’m engaged with them as much as I’m looking for them to be engaged with me. Right? What am I doing to make sure that they’re a part of the conversation, and this isn’t just me delivering a sales pitch?
David: Or a monologue. Yeah.
Chris: The other thing that comes up is when we’re trying to build rapport remotely, we can do it with text, we can do it with email. What’s your sense of… can we be as effective with these vehicles as we are in person or on the phone?
David: That’s a great question. Can we be as effective? I want to say yes. I don’t know that that’s going to be true for everyone, but maybe a better question is can we be effective enough?
Can we be effective enough to be able to continue establishing rapport, continuing to generate leads, continuing to make sales?
And if the answer to that is yes, and if we can get in front of more people as a result of the fact that we don’t have to travel and be in front of them, then we could have significantly better success utilizing these methods than we could doing it in person, if we can adapt.
When we think about tools like phone and text and email and all that sort of thing, but you don’t feel as personal as in person, for obvious reasons.
Can you communicate as effectively using text as you can in person? Probably not, but as a component it can be very helpful.
It’s the type of thing where if you’re having a conversation with someone, if you’ve got an order in process and you have a quick question that you need to get an answer to, it’s probably easier to get a response via text than it would be to try to set something up or even to try to get them on the phone, if they’re inaccessible by phone.
A lot of people can respond very quickly via text, so I think it’s the combination of vehicles when we recognize that we’ve got lots of different methods of being able to reach out to people. Each one has a different dynamic. Each one has sort of a different “vibe,” but if we recognize that we can utilize combinations of these vehicles, to be able to establish that rapport and keep the relationship moving forward, and keep the sales process moving forward, then I think we can be as effective utilizing these tools as we could in person.
Chris: I agree with you. However, I think one of the things that happens that keeps us from being as effective, is that we have a tendency to be a little bit more stiff in our communication when we’re, I think less so texting, but definitely more so with email.
And one of the things that I would encourage people to consider, is make sure that what you’re doing and your communications, that there’s some lightness about it, that you’re able to, you know, have a little bit of fun in your communication and personalize it. “I hope you’re, you’re doing better than me, managing this whole COVID thing, you know?”
So whatever the case may be, that’s something that just lightens it up and takes the reader to a place of this is more than just a business transaction. Does that make sense?
David: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. And I think the idea of being conversational in emails and being conversational in texts and being conversational in our phone conversations are all critical points. When we put together an email that looks like it was composed as a corporate brochure…
David: We’re going to get about as much readership as a corporate brochure, which is to say, little to none.
So the better we get at communicating authentically via email and text and telephone calls and all the different platforms that we talked about before, like Skype and Zoom and that sort of thing, the better off we’re going to be.
But just recognizing that it’s still about establishing relationships. It’s still about having people feel comfortable with us and allowing us to feel comfortable about doing business with them and, when we’re able to maintain those types of things, get those sorts of things going and use the technology the right way, then we have a tremendous advantage over those who have not mastered those skills.
Chris: You know what it is? It’s not letting the technology define how you communicate, isn’t it?
David: Yeah. Great way to put it.
Chris: You said it in response to my last comments, which was being conversational. What are you doing to be conversational and to just open up the environment to something that’s more relatable?
David: Yeah, it’s critical in person. It’s critical throughout all these different media that we’re using to communicate. So from that standpoint, that stays the same. That’s really no different. It’s just the technology, the tool itself that changes. But the goal, the result is ultimately the same.
Chris: And again, I think one of the things to really look at, is if this idea of remote selling really has you uncomfortable? Practice. Go try out the tools, use Zoom or Microsoft teams or Skype or whatever it is, and start doing some online stuff, start using video as an option.
Your first of go-arounds, start with clients you like, “Hey, I’m trying this out. I feel like a bit of an idiot, but I think this might be a really good way to connect. What do you think?”
That kind of approach, from my standpoint, for how I work, is something that would be a great way to start really exploring these things.
And when you are in a situation that we’re all in, that you’re trying to really take advantage of what can be done with online marketing, it’s going to put you way past the people that are waiting for us to return to business as usual, isn’t it?
David: No question. No question at all.
Chris: And isn’t that what we want for our listeners?
David: I think so. I mean, I think that’s the whole goal. And we’ve been talking about pandemic and post pandemic selling skills for many podcasts now. And in a sense what we’re talking about today, we’re talking about phone and email and texting. Maybe that should have come first because that seems to be the most obvious. That seems to be something that has always run in tandem with in-person selling skills, but in the early stages we got involved with things like online video and social media and online platforms, but really boiling it down and keeping it simple.
If you can establish and maintain these relationships using even the most basic tools like phone, email, and texting to be able to move the sales dialogue forward, engage people, and establish that rapport… a lot of good things can happen from that.
Chris: I like it. Okay. Let’s talk about what’s coming up in our next podcast, David.
David: Okay, Chris, in our next podcast, we’ll talk about helping clients to see past the fear. There’s a lot of it in the market, hopefully less now than there was even a few weeks ago or a month ago, but there’s still fear out there, so how are we going to help our clients see past it?
Chris: What a great topic. Okay. If you need help minimizing short term damage to your business and positioning yourself as the go to person for the recovery, go to TopSecrets.com/call to schedule a strategy session to find out if David and his team can help you. TopSecrets.com/call. Hey David, thank you so much.
David: Thank you Chris.
David: These are very strange times, and it’s likely the next 90 days in business are going to be critical for you. So if I offered to work with you, virtually, over the next 90 days, to help you to minimize the short term damage to your business, and position yourself perfectly for the long-term, as the go-to person in your market, would you take me up on that offer?
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