Sales reps who were selling in person a few months ago are now steeped in a very different (virtual) reality. But how do salespeople feel about remote sales calls versus in-person presentations?
Not good. According to our recent industry survey of over 550 B2B sales reps, nearly 70% of salespeople don’t believe that remote selling is as effective as pitching in-person. Sales reps said that participants tend to multitask, there’s little interaction, and it’s more difficult to build relationships when meetings aren’t face-to-face.
Remote selling challenges
Why don’t the vast majority of salespeople think remote selling is as effective as in-person? One big reason, they told us, is multitasking.
Nearly nine out of 10 survey respondents (88%) believe their prospects and customers are likely to multitask during remote sales calls. In fact, 83% admitted to checking their own email (among other things) during other people’s meetings.
The reality is that you’re trying to sell to an invisible audience who are doing a lot of other things while they’re listening to your pitch. You don’t have the luxury of looking your audience in the eye and pulling them back in when you sense their attention is starting to wander.
Visuals play an important role, but don’t forget that the purpose of your presentation is to deliver a message that your buyers will remember — and ultimately act on — after the call. To make it happen, you need to apply messaging and design principles from brain science.
If your goal is to drive consensus around a specific buying decision, you need to make sure your audience doesn’t just remember something — they need to remember the right thing. That’s where these four principles, all backed by brain science, can make all the difference.
1. Control your message
Your 10% Message is the single, core message that you want your buyers to remember. To be effective, it must be:
- Focused – One core message with no more than three to four supporting points
- Rewarding – Linked to something that your audience finds rewarding
- Repeatable – Easy to repeat so it comes to mind easily
- Actionable – Phrased as an action that you want your viewer to take
Keep your 10% Message simple and clear. If you ask your audience to remember too much, they may get the gist of what you’re talking about, but the memory won’t be precise enough to recall your message later on.
2. Focus their attention
In a remote selling situation, your audience has all the enticing distractions of home and the internet right at their fingertips. To effectively plant your 10% Message among all of those distractions, you need to overcome your buyers’ stimulation threshold with dynamic visuals and interactive elements, including the use of color, size, animation and annotation.
3. Prime their brain
Identify the key moments where you want to attract more attention and, right before those moments, intensify the stimulus with a powerful “priming” slide.
Research shows that using intense visual stimulus in this way spikes people’s attention and engagement in those moments. Not only that, they stay engaged for the next 30 to 60 seconds. So right before you share important information, use a priming slide to recapture your buyers’ focus and prime their brains to pay attention to what comes next.
4. Engage for impact
The last thing most salespeople want in their presentations is unnecessary friction. But adding friction can actually be a good thing. A research study conducted by Corporate Visions found that asking your buyer to draw a simple visual story and write down specific notes during your presentation can improve engagement, differentiation and recall. Plus, it can make your story more convincing.
Using interactive visuals improves how quickly people process your most important message and helps embed it into your audience’s mind. They become more personally invested in the story. And they will be able to pass that story along to others in their organization long after the presentation.
Tim Riesterer is chief strategy and research officer at Corporate Visions.
Click on any of the articles below to read more from our special report.
Pricing challenges posed by a pandemic
Is COVID-19 messaging fatigue real?
COVID-19 accelerates expected B2B sales trends
Pandemic selling by the numbers
Managers in the recovery can focus on change
4 tips for more engaging remote sales presentations