Five Rapport-Building Tips For Virtual Selling

If you find it difficult to show up authentically on virtual sales calls, think about it like this: There’s nothing more personal than having someone over to your house. While you miss out on the friendly handshakes and the body language of meeting in person with people, you can still express yourself and build rapport online.

In fact, Steve Kearns, LinkedIn’s marketing manager for content and social media, encourages sales professionals not to overlook the unique benefits of a virtual selling dynamic when it comes to being authentic and relatable. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Kearns’ tips for building rapport when selling virtually.

1. Allow buyers to see your humanity. Sales professionals are accustomed to presenting the most polished version of themselves to potential buyers. While it’s still important to be professional on virtual sales calls, you should embrace your humanity. For example, if your cat jumps into your lap while you’re speaking or your toddler calls out in the background, don’t be embarrassed. In many ways, these things can prompt a relatable comment or conversation, says Kearns.

2. Turn your camera on. With so many virtual meetings, it’s tempting to keep your camera off. However, you can increase your odds of winning new business by keeping your camera on. Kearns notes research that shows that deals are 127 percent more likely to close when webcams are active. By keeping your camera on, you can also set the tone for the other person to turn on their camera.

3. Come prepared. Building rapport on a virtual sales call takes a bit more work, so it’s always best to prepare. Check out the buyer’s public-facing social media pages and look for something you could talk about. For example, maybe their alma mater won a big game recently, says Kearns. You should also find out what’s happening in the buyer’s industry and within their company.

4. Get authentic with your LinkedIn profile. Most buyers look at LinkedIn profiles to get a better feel for who they are meeting with. You can begin building rapport even before a virtual call by viewing your profile through the buyer’s lens. Instead of reading like a stuffy professional resume, your LinkedIn profile should convey who you are as a human being, says Kearns. Look at your LinkedIn profile and see how you can make it more casual and conversational while still being professional.

5. Be transparent. Another way to build rapport when selling virtually is to be upfront and honest. No solution is perfect for everyone, and every product and service has its strengths and weaknesses, notes Kearns. It’s difficult to build rapport and show up authentically when you only highlight the positives. Instead, be open about your solution’s potential pitfalls. Your buyer will appreciate the honesty and feel like you are not trying to paint a false picture.

Whether you are going into a sales meeting via a screen or across the table from someone, it’s important to remember that every meeting still involves two human beings. When you follow the tips above, you can show up as your true self and establish authentic connections in your virtual interactions.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Steve Kearns is LinkedIn’s marketing manager for content and social media.

filed under March 2021
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