Buyers are working from remote home offices – making it even harder than ever to get their attention to secure a meeting and earn their business. These buyers reveal exactly what it takes to earn their business during COVID.
We recently interviewed Professional Buyers to uncover their expectations of how Sales Professionals can effectively capture their attention and sell to them virtually. The information they shared was worth its weight in gold – especially now that virtual selling has become the new norm – now and into the long future. We interviewed two buyers to find out: Susan Ryan and Scott Prygiel.
Susan Ryan is a Lumber Building Materials Buyer with Home Hardware. Susan has more than 20 years of buying experience, and currently works with more than 80 strategic vendors across Canada.
Scott Prygiel is a Senior Buyer with PetSmart. Scott holds more than 15 years of buying experience in both the pet food and grocery sectors.
While both Buyers had their own preferences, they did share some common expectations for having productive virtual meetings with Sales Professionals.
They reveal their 7 Strategies to Effectively Sell Virtually to Buyers:
1.Be technically savvy to manage different virtual platforms. Some Buyers have a preferred virtual platform for hosting or joining meetings – you should try to get familiar with the most common ones to avoid fumbling while on the call. The most used platforms among our Sales Leaders have been Zoom, GoTo Meeting, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams. No one expects you to be a wiz in all of them – just make an effort to be familiar with the virtual platform and use some of their features like share your screen, demo a video or walk then through your proposal or presentation, on the screen.
- Be more prepared than ever! They expect that you’ll test your technology in advance and prepare a PowerPoint presentation with an agenda & structured outline to allow for great dialogue. Be sure to allow time for discussion around the most relevant content, especially hot topics like ecommerce. Susan and Scott said they prefer that you share your PowerPoint with them 24-hours in advance so that they can review and prepare themselves for what to expect in your meeting. Even though they both admitted, they do not review the presentations in detail or depth – they want to take a quick view of the presentations in advance to ensure you are prepared and they are prepared.
- Be professional – both your presentation and your dress attire
This means you should dress as you normally would for a face-to-face meeting. A put-together, professional look conveys that you are still serious about earning their business and conducting a productive meeting. Even though working from home creates a more casual environment, buyers expect you to be professional dressed. Ditch the ball cap and hoodie!
- Buyers are receiving more emails than ever. Try using the Double Whammy approach (a phone call followed up with an email) to get onto the Buyer’s radar. Both Susan & Scott agreed that in your initial email, if you’re trying to get their attention, you need to quickly introduce how your product fills a gap in their product line. If you can do this, odds are you have a good shot at scoring yourself a meeting. A new way to also stand out from the competition is to send an email with a customized video showing your product or a strong compelling message – Scott said this would get his attention…and not many Sales Professionals are doing it! Some interesting video-emailing platforms have been gaining traction in the sales world recently because of this. These include Bomb Bomb and Covideo, just to name a few.
- A clear plan to grow product sales now & in the future. Buyers need to know that you’ve thought through the selling cycle of your product and the channel to their customers – show them what they could expect if they do decide to put pen to paper and make a purchase.
- Identify the personality style of the Buyer to adapt your information.
When you are meeting with when presenting this plan. Some Buyers who fit the Analyzer personality style will expect that you come bearing stats and facts, while others such as Drivers may simply want to know what kind of return on investment or sell-through they can expect.
- Final Advice – Always collaborate on a customized solution and demonstrate how it is the right fit for them and WHY! Show that you really care about helping them and their customers to find the perfect solution for their needs. They are not looking for more products or promotions, they are looking for unique product solutions they will solve their business challenges or will create a market demand – especially in the fast-growing ecommerce channel.
Yes, COVID19 is producing obstacles and curve balls to effective sell to buyers. Yet, both buyers admitted the buying process has become more efficient and effective – so it’s working for them. Turn your road warrior approach to a tech-savvy titan and you’ll be earning more respect and business. To help you identify the sales obstacles and turnaround your sales, download our complimentary Sales Stimulation Template https://teneoresults.com/sales-tools-templates/ to overcome any of the obstacles you encounter along your virtual selling journey.
Stay Healthy, Safe, and Selling!