How to Make Remote Selling Work

It is not exactly easy these days to provide customer care and to acquire new customers for companies – but it’s not impossible. Here’s how to do it.

How to Make Remote Selling Work

Due to the tense economic situation, many existing customers are saving, and not-yet-customers are even harder to persuade to buy. Nevertheless, sellers who currently must work from their own living room should not give in right away. Not only is the coffee at home usually better than at customer meetings, but armed with a few practical tips from experienced salespeople, you can achieve excellent results in between couch and children.

1. Establish Routines

“My first and most important best practice centers on creating a routine. Having a structure to my day and week ahead means I can create goals and be as productive as possible,” says Adrian Lockhart, Enterprise Relationship Manager for getAbstract from Farnborough in the UK. “Assigning time to lead-gens, emails and calls means my work-life balance can be met and I can even fit in time for exercise during the day, which gives me extra energy to focus my mind for afternoon activities.”

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Making Remote Work Work

Work from home on your schedule. Sounds great! Where do I sign up?

Gil Gildner Baltika Press

So what helps all other remote workers is also useful in the sales arena: Structure your day, coordinate with your colleagues, and assign different tasks to different time slots so that you don’t get tangled up.

Experiment to find out what time of day is appropriate for which task (keep your biorhythm as well as the customer’s rhythm in mind) and stick to it as far as possible. Focus, prioritize – and also take the necessary time out in between.

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A Mind for Sales

More than great products or services, it’s the right mind-set that leads to sales success.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

To be highly effective, just initiate, focus, prioritize, connect, cooperate, improve yourself and let others win.

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The Now Habit

Neil Fiore’s classic advice can help you overcome procrastination.

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Building habits around sales activity has helped me follow up with x number of prospects per day, and I’ve found it also helps me to stay on track regardless of my motivation level on any particular day.

Adrian Lockhart

“For me, routine means doing challenging, and possibly tedious, things first! I start my mornings with cold calls, for example,” says Ivonne Affhüpper, Sales Manager in Zurich. “Not because I love awkward mornings. But this way, I have a clear mind for everything else afterwards!”

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Eat That Frog

Goethe said, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.” Tracy is less eloquent: Eat that frog.

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To prioritize your list, analyze what chances your product has or could have with individual prospects, how they change (keyword: context!) and why. If there is no likelihood of closing a deal and you cannot change that, get off: Don’t ride dead horses.

2. Leverage Tech

“Leverage the technology around you and use it to your advantage,” Adrian suggests. “Professional social networks like Microsoft Teams allow us as a company to add a personal touch to stay connected and share tips, tricks and successes. With face-to-face meetings gone from our lives, we now need to focus on our prospects’ and clients’ digital body language and understand what is important to them.”

Tracking your prospects interests and interactions are important in getting a response and building a rapport.

Adrian Lockhart

These summaries can help you proceed:

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COVID-19 often makes traditional, face-to-face selling impractical. Virtual selling fills the gap.

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Social media are more than social: How to make sales through YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest.

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“Gap selling” helps salespeople overcome errors and improve results.

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So, keep building your relationships with your top targets via social media and strengthen your online network. “I use LinkedIn for most of my sales activity: I make sure I know when my top prospects move roles and when my top target accounts are in the news in order to build lead-gens around relevant info,” says Adrian Lockhart.

The ways to follow your targets are manifold and depend on your field. But having a clear goal while everyone else can’t see the forest for the trees is a good way forward.

3. Type-Specific Selling: Analyze Your Contact!

Okay, there are currently few to no customer events, you are no longer invited to present a product in other companies’ buildings, which was always a good opportunity to find out what makes a customer tick and what this means for your sales channel. But, don’t worry: This analysis also works “remotely.”

Ivonne Affhüpper offers this advice: “Analyze your counterpart via preliminary research and then especially with introductory video calls, and try to deduce crucial information for the next few minutes and maybe for the next years: How does the person talk? What does he or she want? What type of person is he or she? What can be derived from his or her background? What do the posters, paintings or objects in the living or working room say about him/her? How does he or she deal with their kids disturbing the call?”

Then, adjust your tone and speaking speed, find out which buttons you can push with them – and which ones you’d rather not push. On the one hand, this creates proximity to the customer; on the other hand, you not only learn more about what he or she wants, but also why and how.

The basic rule is: If you approach the matter with a positive mind-set, you will speak a positive language – and that goes down better than anything else, not only with potential buyers.

Ivonne Affhüpper

4. Avoid the “Thermostat Effect”

You know how it works: You set the thermostat in your apartment to a certain temperature – and your heating system then only heats until this temperature is reached. What is good for the climate in your home office is a small catastrophe for the sales climate in your home office. So, try to not be a thermostat-salesperson: If you only want to sell as much as you are told, you won’t achieve any special results.

A ‘good horse’ in sales tries to jump higher than it has to! Therefore always set yourself tighter goals than the company you work for.

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Hard Goals

You may think you can’t reach your goals because they’re too hard. Not so. They may be too easy.

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To reach these goals, Adrian Lockhart suggests: “Stay in touch and keep activity high. Keep following up as it might just be that next follow-up that one of your top prospects responds to, because the timing now works for them!”

5. Goodwill and Empathy

“Now more than ever, people are longing to be understood and supported. So give people something they can use,” Ivonne adds when it comes to the prospect’s goals. So, analyze which “goodies,” especially those which cost you little or nothing, make sense in each case, where you can support, and discuss them with your own company – contract details, terms of payment, free trial periods etc.

Remember: You strive for a ‘partnership’. But partnership also means making concessions where it makes sense.

Ivonne Affhüpper
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Why empathetic companies do well…or why act like you have a reptilean brain when your customers are all heart?

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6. Combine Your Strategies

“One of my top success stories of 2020 actually came from using most of the above best practices in a clever combination – and it almost crosses the line!” says Adrian Lockhart. “I picked up on LinkedIn that someone from my network moved from an ex-client from four years ago to one of my top target accounts. The contact shared how they were developing a new strategy and digital transformation. Leveraging data and driving innovation were at the heart of this, in addition to developing their staff, improving their customer centricity and attracting a diverse workforce.

That’s just a dream for aligning and mapping content from getAbstract’s library to inform them we could support their strategy!

I kept in touch weekly making sure I went the extra mile throughout the sales process – and nine months later we are one step away from bringing onboard a great client here in the UK (name to be revealed in the coming weeks, fingers crossed!)”


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Sales

Successful selling provides the subject matter for countless works of business literature. Obviously, experts still disagree on what the best sales strategy is. Discover which strategy works best for you and your company.

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