Sometimes when an idea presents itself, you might think about whether or not to pursue it. When the same idea presents itself three times in a row, you should be smart enough to not ignore the message and not tempt fate. In fact, three times is probably serendipity, and you should just take action. Well, that’s what happened to me.
Third time’s a charm
Last December, at the closing of our end-of-year Distribution Group (DG) Committee meeting, we held an open discussion on pretty much anything that was challenging our members’ businesses and explored possible solutions. One member expressed a problem that pretty much everyone in the committee had encountered: “My salespeople just suck at having Zoom meetings with our customers. They have been selling for quite a while and are very good at in-person meetings but just can’t get it right when it comes to a virtual call. Does AMT have anything that can help?”
Many of the DG Committee members reported that a few of their salespeople were comfortable in front of a camera, but most just didn’t get it. No one had any suggestions except to keep trying and hope they improved. I liken that to a blind squirrel finding an acorn. I let them know that AMT did not have a product to address this area – yet – and that I would look into it.
Three days later, at our Leadership Forum’s monthly virtual meeting, one of the members asked if anyone could recommend a method or product that could help make some of their salespeople more proficient at having successful virtual sales meetings with their customers. Again, no one had any ideas. And again, I said I would see what I could find. Then, on the following Monday, I received a call from a member asking if I could make a virtual presentation at their company’s national sales meeting on how to host a successful virtual sales meeting for customers since I teach Manufacturing Technology Sales Fundamentals. Well, mama didn’t raise no dummy! (Of course, some people, my wife included, might argue the point.) So, third time’s a charm. I told the member I would be happy to make a presentation to his team about the art of conducting a virtual sales meeting.
Effective selling... virtually?
Recognizing the need, and since I already agreed to create a presentation for our member’s upcoming sales meeting, I presented the idea to AMT’s senior management team (SMT). The SMT gave the greenlight, and we are now developing a “how to have a successful virtual sales meeting with customers” workshop, the Effective Virtual Selling class.
The good news is that the plan is to have the class beta tested and finalized by May 2021. The class will be about an hour long and focus on three key assets required for a successful virtual meeting:
Technical. You need to have the right lighting, proper camera framing, clean audio, and a strong Wi-Fi signal before “action.”
Professional. First impressions are everything. How you look and act is as important for your success in front of the camera as it is in an in-person meeting. How you are dressed and groomed, your posture, and having the proper camera angle are critical factors to creating a strong, professional impression.
Personable. Keeping eye contact, speaking with inflection, listening to what your customer has to say, and establishing a rapport will earn the respect of your customer – which is something you must have before you begin to talk about your product.
This module will also be a key addition to the Manufacturing Technology Sales Fundamentals (MTSF) workshop, a two-day class we hold in person and that we hope to reopen this summer. MTSF is also available separately now as an e-learning course.
Oh, you’ll like this part.
That was the good news. Now for the great news: For the first few months, this virtual class will be offered to AMT members for free – as in $0.00! Zero dollars! In the late summer or early fall, we expect that the cost will be $99 per person. Participation will be an important part of the course, so expect limited capacity. This will also allow me to call out those students who are multitasking and who are only there because their boss told them to be there.
If your salespeople need to hone their skills at selling in a virtual environment, the Effective Virtual Selling course is perfect. Please go here to let us know if you are interested in attending Effective Virtual Selling, and watch for an announcement of the launch of our new class coming soon. Take advantage – after all, free is a good thing.