Conducting sales talks in coronavirus times – here’s how

Sales is one of the business areas that have been hit the hardest by the social distancing restrictions required during the coronavirus crisis. In this article, you can read how to conduct successful sales talks even without direct contact and what tools can help you.

Using digital communication tools, sales talks can be conducted successfully even without physical contact.
Image: © fizkes / Adobe Stock

Why you should drive digitalization forward in sales

Face-to-face meetings are still one of the most important sales techniques. Especially in the B2B sector, continuously fostering your business relationships and contacts is essential. But how can you maintain and strengthen these relationships when in-person contact is generally restricted right now? The coronavirus crisis has shown us how important it is to advance digitalization in marketing and sales. Sales talks need to be increasingly moved to digital channels, and communication strategies have to be adapted as a result. The situation is exacerbated by the additional challenge that companies are much less inclined to invest during a crisis. In difficult times, salespeople must therefore try harder to conduct good sales talks and convince customers.

Using digital communication tools for sales talks

B2B communication, in particular, lives off the good old handshake at trade shows and events, face-to-face talks, and direct interaction at meetings. During the coronavirus lockdown, these established means of communication stopped and can now only be used again to a limited extent. Since nobody can currently predict how the situation will pan out, it is wise to adapt sales communication in the long term in a way that leads to successful B2B lead generation even without physical contact. Although digital technologies will probably never be able to fully replace face-to-face interaction, communication tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts, when used properly, can definitely help you foster your relationships almost just as intensively.

What do you have to consider when having a sales talk via video?

Conducting a successful sales talk via video is not at all as easy as it may first seem. In online meetings, you have to follow certain rules of conduct and communication. In principle, these are not new, but experience has shown that they take on a whole new level of importance as compared to analog face-to-face contact. They include:

  • Absolute punctuality
  • Listening and letting the other person finish speaking
  • Excellent preparation
  • Following a common theme in the sales talk
  • Captivating the attention of your dialogue partner

The last point plays an especially important role in communication via digital channels. In contrast to physical face-to-face talks, people’s attention wavers more quickly during video conferences. To keep your dialogue partner interested, it can help to use storytelling in your sales talk. Rather than boringly reciting the benefits of your product, you need to package your USP in an emotionally appealing story.

Conducting sales talks during a crisis: putting yourself in the customer’s shoes

If you want to conduct successful sales talks in times of crisis, it is essential to focus on the needs of your customers. Brash advertising messages should be avoided at all costs. You should instead strive for customer centricity, especially in challenging times. Before you start a sales talk, you should therefore ask yourself the following:

  • What does my customer currently need? What issues are concerning them the most? What problems are they facing? What frustrates them the most?
  • What experiences can I share with them? How can I establish trust in the current situation?
  • What solution can my product or service offer my customer? How can I help them master the current situation? In what way is my product a wise investment in the future?

We recommend preparing a dialogue guide based on the answers to these questions. You should first address any challenges or problems in the sales talk. And then you can present your services as a potential solution that will help your customer overcome crises, thereby giving them a positive outlook for the future.