Over the last year, the pandemic has dramatically changed our lives.
Most importantly for businesses, it’s changed the way consumers shop - across all sectors, remote sales have become the norm.
With everything closed, the shift to digital sales wasn’t surprising.
But even as shops, restaurants, and offices are starting to reopen, the preference for online shopping is sticking around.
American retailer Target, for example, saw a 141% increase in its digital sales in the first quarter of 2020.
So how can your business adapt to this change in consumer behaviour?
The answer lies in remote sales. In this article, we'll cover:
- What is remote selling?
- How to increase remote sales
- The next step to maximizing your remote sales
What is remote selling?
Remote selling, or virtual selling, occurs when the sales agent and the customer being in different physical locations during the sales process.
Sales discussions and meetings take place remotely via digital communication channels.
This has been a common selling technique in B2B sales for a long time, but we are now seeing an increase in demand for remote sales across several sectors - including retail, travel, and the food industry.
Customers are enjoying shopping from the comfort of their own homes.
When done well, remote selling can significantly boost overall sales.
How to increase remote sales
To increase remote sales you need to engage and convert more digital customers. Let’s break down the top seven ways to achieve this.
1. Engage more customers online
If you’re not talking to online customers, then you can’t convert them.
That’s why the first step in increasing remote sales is increasing customer engagement and communication.
In other words, you want to encourage customers to connect with your sales agents. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Live chat, for example, is a great way to initiate customer communication.
Chat pop-ups can appear at key moments during the digital journey, such as on the checkout or certain product pages, or after a period of inactivity.
These can proactively encourage customers to seek help and advice from your sales agents.
Chatbots are also a great engagement tool.
They’re an effective way of capturing a customer’s attention, starting a conversation, and gathering customer information for targeted marketing and remotes sales processes.
There are a ton of different tools available that can really help you boost your online customer engagement.
Take a look at our list of the best 21 website engagement tools for more ideas.
2. Use video chat to connect with customers
No matter the industry, video chat capabilities are a key ingredient in boosting a business' remote sales.
Whether you’re a customer facing organisation in retail or travel, or a B2B company selling software, live video chat is the best way to engage with potential customers and, importantly, convert them into paying customers.
Video lets you speak to customers face-to-face. It makes it easier for the seller to pick up on non-verbal queues and tailor pitches accordingly.
It also makes it easier to show the customer your product, whether that’s through a software demo or physically showing them items.
Customers can ask questions and the seller can answer and immediately address concerns.
Ultimately, video chat creates a more personal customer experience that vastly increases conversion rates.
In fact, customers that engage with a company on video chat are 4 times more likely to make a purchase than those who on’t.
It may sound like a big investment, but in reality video chat software is quick and easy to set up, and doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.
Plus, the money you do spend on software and equipment will be rewarded with a boost in remote sales.
3. Establish a rapport
Like in-person sales, establishing a good rapport with the customer is key to increasing remote sales.
Why is rapport so important? It’s connected to trust, and building trust is vital in making any sale.
Most customers don’t automatically trust a company - only 50% of millennials and 42% of Gen Z say they trust businesses.
This isn’t really surprising. After all, very few people will trust someone they don’t know.
This is why it’s important to build a connection with customers.
The more a customer connects with you, the more likely they are to trust you, and the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Building rapport is key to establishing that initial all-important connection for remote sales. To do this, try engaging the customer on common ground.
For example, start the call by discussing topical news, trending TV shows or favourite sports.
If you’re using video chat, maybe bring up something interesting you can see in the customer’s background.
All this can help you get the ball rolling and start creating a sincere connection.
4. Be attentive
There’s nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who isn’t giving you their full focus.
A must for any successful remote sale is to give the customer your full, undivided attention.
There are two aspects to this. Firstly, you can’t pay attention to someone if you are distracted, so you need to eliminate all distractions before starting a sales call.
For agents working from home, this can be achieved by having a designated work space with limited visual distractions.
In a contact centre setting, this can be a bit trickier - they’re busy places with lots of calls going on at once.
One way managers can help tackle the problem is by limiting distractions by establishing clear traffic flows around the workspace, spacing agents out wherever possible, and supplying agents with noise-cancelling headphones.
When using video chat, this becomes even more important.
As customers can see you, video chats need to be treated like in-person conversations. Make eye contact and stay focused on the customer.
The other aspect of being attentive relies on how well you listen to the customer during a remote sales call.
Be interested in what they’re saying and be alert.
For example, make sure you make a note of their name and use it throughout the exchange.
This makes the interaction more personal for the customer, helping to build that rapport and trust we mentioned earlier.
5. Set a clear goal
How can your solution/product help the customer? What problem does the customer have that your solution/product can solve?
This type of remote selling is known as needs-based selling or consultative selling.
Rather than focussing on all the benefits and features of a product/solution, you focus on the customer’s needs and how your product/solution can specifically help those needs.
In retail, for example, is the customer looking for a cheap product? A high-quality product? A sustainable product?
Establishing what matters to the customer as early on in the call as possible will help you personalize your sales technique and increase the chances of converting the remote sale.
A lot of B2B remote sales calls are scheduled ahead of time, so it can be useful to determine these goals before the call starts.
When potential customers book the call, ask them why they are interested in your solution/product.
Additionally, do some research into the company ahead of time to gain a better understanding of what they offer and value.
These will help you form an idea of the goals before the call, but it’s still good to confirm them at the start of the interaction.
This will make sure you address the correct needs and focus on the best aspects of your product/solution.
After the goals are established, get the key messages across to the customer as quickly as possible.
This is a golden rule of any remote sales call.
It will immediately get their attention and, if there are any technical issues that cut the interaction short, it ensures the customer hears the most important points.
6. Let the customer ask questions
Remote sales interactions shouldn’t be one-sided presentations - they should be conversations.
While the seller is likely to do more of the talking, it’s important the customer feels comfortable to ask questions.
This is particularly key if you’re giving a demo.
Let the customer know it’s fine to interrupt you with questions, or to dig deeper into a certain feature.
Don’t save all the questions to the end! It can be harder to address things out of context so real-time questions are always best.
Not only will this two-way conversation style help the customer get all their questions answered, it will also give you more insight into what matters to them the most.
Do they ask a lot of questions about a particular feature/product? Do they ask a lot of questions about cost?
This can help you know what key aspects to focus on and play to.
7. Follow up
Not all remote sales happen there and then. Sometimes customers need to think about the purchase before they make it.
This is especially true for luxury purchases and B2B sales.
When spending a large amount of money, a lot of customers will require time to make their decision.
For B2B remote sales, conversations within the company will need to take place before any decisions are made.
In these cases, it’s really important to follow up on the meeting.
A great thing about using video chat is that you can easily record the interaction and send this to the customer after the call, along with any additional notes and information.
This ensures they have all the information they need to review the potential purchase.
It’s also a good idea to make sure the customer has the right contact details to get in touch with any questions.
Rather than a general company email address, a good practice is to provide the contact details of the agent who carried out the call.
This makes it more personal and ensures a consistent interaction with your business, creating a seamless customer experience that will boost remote sales.
If you don’t hear back from the customer, don’t hesitate to contact them.
It might be good to establish a timeline within the call itself, i.e. “If I don’t hear back from you by X, I’ll get in touch to see how you’re doing”.
This helps create a post-call plan for both parties to work towards.
Mastering the art of remote selling is important for nearly all businesses going forward.
Customers want to continue to shop online and businesses need to adjust in order to accommodate this demand.
In summary, our seven tops tips for increasing remote sales are:
- Engage more customer online with effective engagement tools
- Use video chat to connect with customers
- Establish rapport with customers to create a connection and build trust
- Be attentive during interactions
- Quickly establish clear goals and get the key messages across
- Let customers ask questions
- Follow up after the call (if needed)
But in order to get the most out of these tactics, you also need the right technology.
After all, how can you expect to drive remote sales without the right platform to facilitate remote communication with customers?
That's where Talkative comes in.
Our platform was specifically designed to drive remote sales through superior digital service and seamless, personalized experiences.
We provide a complete suite of digital engagement channels that'll empower you to connect instantly, and effortlessly, with all your digital customers.
As a result, your customer-facing teams will be fully equipped to engage and convert more customers than ever before – all within a single platform.
Want to learn more? Book a demo today and discover how you can drive online sales by getting Talkative.