A beginner’s guide to online sales meetings: everything you need to know to plan for success
Traditional sales meetings are becoming a no-no.
Why wouldn’t they be? They’re tiresome to arrange. It’s harder to make people commit to meeting you face to face. You need to take commuting into consideration. Put all of these things together and you’ve got a painful mix of costs, time, and hassle that can successfully drain your sales team.
But here’s an alternative: online sales meetings.
According to Impactbnd.com, they’re the solution you’re after.
“The combination of face-to-face interaction plus a compelling presentation or demo creates a dynamic sales environment where you can easily grab and hold your prospect’s attention”, they say.
Today, we’ll be talking all about online sales meetings.
Keep reading if you want to learn:
- why you should have more of them,
- what are the best practices to follow,
- how to choose the best software to assist you with virtual selling.
If that sounds good to you, let’s get started!
Why should you have more online sales meetings?
Meeting your clients online has more advantages than disadvantages. In fact, the more of such virtual meetings you attend, the more benefits you’ll notice over time.
But if you’re still new to the idea, let us give you a few good reasons to give it a shot.
#1 They’re easier to arrange
Let us ask you this: besides choosing the right time, what’s the most inconvenient aspect of sales meetings?
You got that right: it’s commuting.
The farther you are from your client, the more time you’ll have to spend bridging the distance. And when time is money, you want to waste as little of it as possible. When you switch to online sales meetings, you also switch to alternative locations that are more comfortable for you and your clients.
Neither of you has to leave your offices.Attending the meeting means nothing more than opening a video conferencing app.
Think practically. It’s easier to arrange an online call that will last twenty minutes than a meeting followed AND preceded by a thirty minute commute.
Not to mention that everything related to organizing an online sales meeting can also happen virtually. You can schedule your meetings online with an appointment scheduling tool and follow up by email any time after. No phone calls and no hassle, it’s that simple.
#2 They allow you to expand your reach
When meeting your clients face-to-face, you’re limited by the physical location.
Of course, you could travel further to meet people from more distant areas. However, that means the commute will eat up more of your time. And you’d rather invest it in meeting more potential customers, right?
With online sales meetings, this is no longer a problem. So long as the core of your business isn’t location-bound, you can easily sell your services to anyone across a city, country or even around the World.
#3 They’re cost-effective
Every minute you spend commuting between meetings has its value. And so does fuel, travel tickets, and your car, for example. Even if you want to pick up the phone and call people instead of seeing them, your operator will still charge you for these conversations.
Meanwhile, most video conferencing platforms offer a free plan that won’t ever charge you a dime. LiveWebinar gives you the freedom of choice: you can use a basic version without any financial contribution, or pick a paid variant and get access to more features. And, of course, you can try out the PRO and Business plans free for 14 days to see if it’s a match. No additional fees or expenses.
It’s simple math: online sales meetings are cheaper than those held in-person.
#4 You can automate elements of them
If you run sales meetings in person, you need to deal with most things manually. With online sales meetings, you can automate a large chunk of your tasks.
From appointment scheduling, through reminders, to email follow-ups, or even elements of relationship management, a whole bunch of tasks can now be completed by relevant software. Automating these aspects will save you precious time that you’d rather devote to something that really matters for your business.
Feel convinced to run more online sales meetings yet?
If so, let’s jump straight to the nine best practices that you should definitely follow.
9 best practices for your online sales meetings
#1. Make it about them
Whether it's a standard, in-person meeting or an online video call, you’ll always want to lower all possible barriers. Make the meeting all about your client.
Start by making it easy to arrange the meeting with you. Instead of leading an entire email thread about the appropriate date and time, help them arrange a call via an appointment scheduling form. This will allow them to select a time and date that fits their schedule and cut out back-and-forth emails.
To ensure that technical issues don't interrupt the flow of the call, you can provide the person you’re meeting with a few tips on using the software of your choice. An email containing the essential information can help you both with handling the digital appointment. Make sure you pick a tool that is easy to use even for beginners and has an intuitive onboarding process.
On top of that, don’t forget to focus on them during the sales meeting itself. Shift your attention from your services to their business and their problems. Put them at the center of attention and let them feel they’re the priority.
#2. Treat it like a normal sales meeting
Here’s the thing: when meetings are held online or from our home offices, we’re tempted to get lazy about them.
However, the fact you’re not visiting your client’s office doesn’t mean that you can forget about having a professional attitude. Don’t attend a call in a creased out t-shirt or with a hairstyle that says you’ve just rolled out of bed. Here you can find more hints for looking good on video calls.
Keep it professional at all times. Don’t do things you wouldn’t normally do during a classical sales meeting. Pay attention to how you present yourself and how you represent the company you work for.
#3. Keep your background professional
While it may not always be possible, you should ensure a proper environment for your online sales meetings.
Keep the background neutral. Avoid having people roaming around behind you. If possible, choose a separate room for your online call. Make sure the place is quiet and distraction-free.
In other words, ask yourself this: if your client were to visit you in person, where would you invite them to talk to you?
#4. Invest in high-quality equipment
Static in your microphone or a blurry image from your camera don’t make the best of impressions. If you want to look professional, invest in good quality tech to support your video calls.
A good headset, microphone and camera are the very least you can purchase to ensure that the quality of your call leaves nothing to be desired. With such tools, you can make the most of your webinar software - especially if it provides HQ live streaming and recording, like LiveWebinar does.
#5. Keep it interactive
Don’t let your client drift away because you’re stuck in a monologue. Keep them engaged, ask them questions, bring their attention back to the topic at hand.
Losing focus is easy on online calls, especially if your client isn’t using their own camera and you can’t see if they’re not paying attention anymore.
#6. Test your tech and software before the meeting starts
The last thing you want is to discover at the beginning of a call that your microphone or camera doesn’t work. Similarly, you don’t want any software updates to pop up right before you’re about to attend an online meeting.
While such events are often out of our control, most of the time they can actually be prevented. Regularly check your tech for faults and flaws. Update your software on a daily basis, if necessary, so you’re always ready for action. And most importantly, make a dry run before the meeting to avoid technical issues.
#7. Learn to troubleshoot basic technical problems
Sooner or later, you’ll encounter some difficulties on your call. For example, your client’s equipment won’t respond or the bandwidth will be very low. In such situations, it’s essential that you know how to react.
That’s why you should learn how to troubleshoot some basic technical problems. Find out how to deal with the most common issues that people have during their video or audio calls. This way, whenever these problems occur for you, you’ll know how to address them.
#8. Have a backup plan
Always be prepared for things to go unexpectedly wrong. Whether that means connecting to another internet source or buying spare headphones, be sure to have a plan B ready.
#9. Follow up with them
If you’re the type of a person who closes the video call and forgets about the customer, it’s time to change your ways.
To ensure the success of your online sales meetings, you’ll want to follow up with your clients as soon as possible. Send them an email after the meeting, recap what’s been talked about, and thank them for their time.
If you were talking with more than one person, you can create an email template and schedule it to be sent automatically when desired. Automation software systems are a great solution to such problems, as you don’t have to remember to send a message, and can instead focus on choosing the right candidate.
Later on, as time passes, be sure to reach out to them again. Nurture the relationships with your prospects to keep them alive. This way, it will be possible to not only close more successful deals, but also upsell your products or services. Monitor your SaaS sales metrics, too.
Online sales meetings & software: what to look for
Your online sales meetings will more often turn out successfully if you seek out the support of the right software. And there are plenty of options, from screen sharing to appointment scheduling. Developers around the world are fighting for you to be their users.
But with so many options available, how do you choose what’s best for you?
In this section, we’ll run you through three basic types of software that you’ll need for holding successful online sales meetings. We’re also going to tell you about a few essential characteristics to look for in each of these software types.
Video conferencing software
You can’t possibly hope to run online sales meetings without reliable video conferencing software. There are enough options out there to make you dizzy from the variety of choice. And yet, it really does matter which you eventually pick.
Here are few things to look for in a good video conferencing platform:
- Quality. Most developers boast about the high quality of their video conferencing software, but believe us when we say that not everyone deserves your trust. Some platforms are less reliable when it comes to the quality of video and audio calls they deliver. And as we already established, quality is something to take care of if you want to look professional.
- Security. In times where everyone fears for their privacy, it’s always a good idea to check how your software provider takes care of security issues. You want your app to be safe from hacking and your conversations kept private.
- Ease of use. Let’s face it, not everyone is tech-savvy. Your team members or clients may have issues using certains apps. Choose a video conferencing platform that will require no installation and will stand out with a user-friendly interface.
- Call limitations. Most video conferencing apps have a free plan, but these usually come with certain limitations. It’s often either the permitted length of a call or the number of participants allowed to attend. Make sure you’re familiar with all the limitations and details of your current plan, then choose the version that has all the features necessary for success.
Appointment scheduling software
Appointment scheduling software allows you to preview online calendars with dates and times at which a meeting could be held. It’s a simpler and faster way to schedule meetings instead of sending multiple emails that try to determine the right date for your online call.
If you decide to streamline your booking process with this type of app, there are a few key elements it must have:
- Branding options. Good branding goes a long way and you should implement it everywhere possible, even on your appointment scheduling form. Look for an app that allows full customization of these forms, from colours and logos to custom elements.
- Flexible settings. Different people need to schedule different meeting types. Choose an appointment booking platform that allows you to create multiple appointment types and customize your booking forms according to your needs.
- Client management integration. Closing deals doesn’t revolve around successful meetings only. It’s also about nurturing contacts with your clients. Choose an appointment scheduling app that integrates with a CRM solution for maximum results and more successful deals.
Meeting notes & online whiteboard software
Sometimes you’ll just want to take a visual approach. Nothing will help you make a better impression than interactive online whiteboards or meeting notes software.
When you want to stand out, visuals and interactivity of your presentation is the best way to go.
Here’s what to look for in this type of software:
- Interactivity. Look for an app that allows people to interact with its elements in real-time. Some solutions allow you to collaborate on the same whiteboards and preview changes to them as they happen. Let your clients touch what you’re sharing, if not literally then at least digitally!
- Quality of visuals. You want to make the best possible impression and good looks are the first step to achieving that. Look for an app that looks and works professionally, yet doesn’t affect the quality of your uploads.
- Ease of sharing. Just like with video conferencing software, you want your sharing app to be easy to use even for new users. Pick something that is straight-forward and doesn’t require a lot of implementation.
However, if you choose a robust webinar software system, you wouldn’t have to buy a subscription for other external tools. LiveWebinar has a whiteboard already built-in to its interface. You can easily interact and make notes without the need to switch between tabs, whilst keeping everything in one place - simple and well-organized.
Over to You
Online sales meetings are the future of selling, there’s no argument about that.
And even though they are so very special, you can still nail them perfectly if you follow our best practises and invest in the right software.
Are you ready to give them a shot?
Happily combines a love of writing and new technology as a copywriter, and enjoys the puzzle of putting together a good article. In her spare time she likes to catch up on the latest, greatest books, bake chocolate chip cookies and ponder her next travel destination.More posts