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With all of us practicing social distancing and much of the country on lockdown, sales teams are feeling the pressure to continue to produce. We’re learning to live in an environment where everything is remote - working from home, teaching from home, and socializing via our mobile devices. Travel of any kind has come to a screeching halt. Statistics tell us in-person meetings are effective. So what about all of those in-person meetings on the books that help close deals? It’s ok. And it’s ok because we can replicate in-person meetings remotely. Let’s talk about how we go from in-person to virtual and maintain our meeting continuity.
Minimize the Disruption
The initial reaction may be to cancel meetings. Maybe because one or both parties are unsure what the next steps really mean at this point. Or maybe it’s because they aren’t sure how to pivot the conversation to a virtual environment. Whatever the reason, it’s best to keep the meeting even if the agenda has shifted. Sustaining a sense of normalcy or “business as usual” can help ease the stress of the current situation. It’s also important to maintain regular interaction with other people even if it is virtual. Here’s what to think about when minimizing the disruption:
- Modify the agenda. Has the conversation shifted? Identify the most critical or relevant items for discussion.
- Think about the customer or prospect. It’s an uncertain and scary time for everyone, don’t discount that. Make sure you ask everyone how they are doing and thank them for their willingness to still have the discussion.
- How can you help? Understanding the fears and challenges that the customer or prospect is dealing with should be top of mind. Be ready with a solution. How can you or your company alleviate any stress?
In general, be aware of what’s happening around you: every situation is different.
Being prepared seems easy but how many times have you joined, or tried to join, a call and there is a technical issue: someone can’t see the slides, someone else can’t hear you. Virtual meetings can be a mess, but not if you’re prepared.
- Know the technology you’re using. There are many online meeting tools. Make sure you know how to screen share, mute and unmute participants and give control to others, if necessary.
- Practice, practice, practice. Make sure your agenda is clear and your content is buttoned up.
Pro Tip: Have someone manage the online meeting tool while you focus on the meeting agenda
Monitor Pipeline and Activity
A meeting is a meeting whether it’s in-person or virtual, so processes around capturing information from the meeting shouldn’t change. It’s now more critical than ever to manage your pipeline closely. Make it a habit to log activity and any pipeline progression after every meeting and touch point.