Sales is a challenging profession even in the best of economic and social - times. But when you toss in working from a remote location without fully supporting the familiar office dynamic, you soon realize that it's time to focus on improving your remote selling skills.
Whether you're just starting a new sales job or you want to improve your remote sales skills for your current position, this guide will walk you through how to improve those skills and fully succeed in remote sales.
Let's take a look.
1. Do Plenty of Research
Without researching your customers and competitors, it's impossible to succeed in any sales role. This is even more true when your sales process is all performed remotely.
Whether your assignment is to perform high-level B2B sales for a large conglomerate or you were hired to find new markets for a niche product, your sales process begins with research.
It's important to understand that every sales market has its unique meetups and rituals. For example, imagine that your gig will increase sales software distribution into a new channel for small business owners. Perhaps these digital marketers get together every month to share ideas and look for process improvements.
When trying to get into the market, you'd want to be the individual who brings the food or drinks for those gatherings, without any expectation of making a direct sale that evening.
After you start getting to know the new market, you'll be able to determine how you can best fulfill its needs.
When it comes to remote sales, you must have a plan that involves a lot more than making simple sales calls. Of course, you should always be selling in some capacity. But having a plan based on your target market research will help establish you as a part of the market community before your first full pitch.
2. Selling Shouldn't Be Your Only Goal
When you start selling remotely into new markets, expect a lot of challenges. You can almost consider everything you do in the first few months as an experiment.
Avoid setting up-front sales goals that are unrealistic or only look good on paper. Instead, consider ways to show success in the process that don't necessarily relate to direct sales.
This is especially true when you're first starting.
For the first few months, your foundation for long-term remote sales success should be built on:
- Researching the market
- Building positive brand recognition
- Establishing solid relationships within the market
Right now, think of building your sales pipeline as more critical than getting immediate direct sales in the short term.
3. Keep Records of Everything
When you're doing virtual sales away from the rest of your internal team, it's essential to put into place a system where you can all share updates, internal communication, and documentation.
By establishing a centralized location of data, you and your team will avoid the time-consuming process of trying to communicate directly back and forth.
This is especially true when your team is working in multiple time zones throughout the world.
For example, if you've got part of your team in India and another part in North America, it would waste a lot of time for a team member to wait 11 hours for their Indian co-worker to login and send over that needed file 11 hours prior.
When necessary data is centralized, any team member can quickly find it and shoot it off to a prospect.
Of course, this helps close deals much faster and can often get them closed while the fire is still hot.
Even beyond that, you and your team members must record calls and meetings. This will allow anyone who wasn't in attendance to review the information later on. It also comes in handy for training purposes or when you or other team members want to check details discussed and subsequently forgotten.
4. Stay Connected
An essential factor for any remote salesperson is how well they stay connected to their internal team.
With remote sales, there's sometimes a feeling that the team is filled with experienced, tough salespeople that can do any job from anywhere. And while each team member may be proficient in core sales skills, peer feedback and an overall sense of belonging are very important.
It may be the biggest challenge for remote sales and the roles each team member plays.
Salespeople need to celebrate the small victories and discuss challenges with like-minded colleagues. But, unfortunately, the remote sales environment sometimes feels like living on an island.
One of the most critical things salespeople can do when working together remotely is to provide each other with a lot of support by celebrating small victories that don't translate directly to a sale.
This type of ongoing feedback is essential, especially if you're just beginning to break into a new market.
Consider making space for this type of encouragement in your one-on-one meetings and regular team update meetings. Doing this helps to emulate the feeling of the culture when people are working face-to-face.
5. Keep Things as Basic as Possible to Improve Your Remote Selling Skills
The pure activity of sales doesn't change much, no matter what location a salesperson is working from.
Sometimes, sales managers tend to overcomplicate what a good sales process is. Effective sales, whether remote or in-house, breaks down to only a few areas that matter.
Every salesperson needs to have a strong understanding of the market and their selling into the market, especially if it's a brand new market.
Of course, if you're selling products with a high turnover, the research you do may just be looking at a website, finding the right person to pitch, then moving on.
However, if you're selling high-ticket software solutions, doing research might mean:
- A full review of the market
- Positioning your piece of the market
- Business profiling
- Developing strategy
Of course, the more complicated the market is, the more research will be required.
Ask the Best Questions
If you're in sales, chances are you're good at creating conversations.
Whether you're doing traditional cold calling or learning how to work remote events like a pro, knowing how to engage with prospects is essential.
And keep in mind that your engagement shouldn't always be about making a sale. For example, a high-performing salesperson has skills that allow them to discover the genuine needs of the people they talk to.
Overall, the idea of simply being helpful is vastly underrated. So instead, ask qualifying questions and then spend most of your time listening. That's where you'll uncover the real opportunities that can lead to long-term relationships.
You can't correctly sell a product without knowing how to advocate for the value of the product. And this has to be very specific to the needs of the people you're talking to, not some overly generalized pitch.
What a top-performing remote salesperson is good at is finding the specific things that buyers value. They also know how to uncover the prospect’s problems and tailor a solution around solving the issues.
Close the Deal
No matter how good of relationships you build in your sales position, it's no good if you never actually sell a product.
Successful remote salespeople never stop following up. Proper follow-up typically means negotiating with a prospect and developing specific solutions that fit their goals and objectives.
There are art and rhythm to this that leads to closing deals that may once have seemed dead.
Improving Your Remote Selling Skills Will Improve Your Bottom Line
Ultimately, your success in sales begins and ends with how many deals you close.
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