"You can go 60 miles an hour in the car- but you can go 60 miles a minute on the phone."

Selling is about how many times you can get in front of how many potential clients to create how many opportunities to ultimately earn business.

But who says that getting in front of prospects has to be done in person? Sure, there are times when sitting face to face, mono on mono, is productive. However, is it always necessary? Absolutely not.

We live in a day and age where technology has never been more popular, e-mail has never been more productive, and the phone has never been a more useful tool.

Here's my question for you: Do you take full advantage of it? And if not, why not?
"Virtual selling," as we call it, at TBN Sales Solutions, will skyrocket your sales in 1/2 the time- if you follow specific guidelines.
1.Appointments, appointments and more appointments

Firm date, firm time. Never set up a time to speak with someone "around a time." To run a productive phone appointment, you must treat it just like an in-person appointment.

You can't be vague with prospects. When scheduling them, specific "closing wording" must be used - and the prospect must concur. Here's some great suggested wording:

"I'll tell you what, John (Always say their name to personalize it). Let's schedule a phone appointment. We will treat it just like we are both in person.

I certainly don't want to waste your time or my time. They are equally valuable (This puts yourself on the same level as the prospect). So here's what I will do. One day prior to our meeting, by noon, I will e-mail you a confirmation. If anything changes, all I ask is you call me or send me an e-mail for whatever reason. However, if I don't hear from you, I will assume no news is good news and you will hear my smiling voice at that time. Is that fair?

Yes? Great. What is your e-mail one more time? And what phone number should I call at that time?

One more thing: To make the most of our time together, please have internet access.

Does that work for you? Terrific. Then I will speak with you on Tuesday, at 9 a.m."

2. Send a thank you e-mail within two days saying you are looking forward to the "phone appointment."

Remind the prospect in this e-mail you will send an agenda the day prior to the meeting. They will realize you are a true professional and will treat you as such.

This may seem redundant but it's important to ensure your prospect is on the same page as you. With phone appointments, in essence, you want to give the prospect every chance to cancel. This will solidify the seriousness with which you take your job, and in so doing, prospects will share your seriousness.

3. Send a PAL (a purpose, an agenda, and a limit-- as outlined a couple months back).

E-mail that confirmation. But don't just say you will speak with them at a certain day and time. Lay out the specific purpose, agenda and time limit- as agreed upon earlier. Remind the prospect it is a "phone" appointment in the body of the e-mail and the subject line of the e- mail.

This invokes the "KISS" philosophy of sales: Keep It Simple Stupid. You are making it easier for them to remember the phone appointment.
A few specifics about the PAL:
a. Your subject line must include a benefit, the day of the meeting, the time and the meeting and the word “agenda.” (This way they realize it is an e-mail they should read. Don’t beat around the bush)
b. You remind prospects they only need to call you to cancel. “If anything has changed, please call me at XXX-XXXX or e-mail xxxxxx. However, if I don’t hear from you I will assume no news is good news and that we are on.”
c. Remind them to have internet access—if you plan to go to your website.
d. Make sure your last agenda items is to either “sign necessary paperwork” or to get a “verbal commitment.”
The PAL establishes you as a professional who values their own time- and in so doing you are valuing your clients.
4. Run the appointment identical to as if you were in person.

Call at the exact time. Don't be late, and don't be early. When you speak with the secretary, don't just ask for whoever you need to speak with. Explain "I have a phone appointment"

In the appointment, set the agenda (reminding the prospect you sent an e-mail confirming) build rapport, probe for needs and ask open-ended questions. Only when you have established the need do you present the solution.

5. Have a great website with an interactive presentation you can go through with the prospect.

To run a "virtual sales appointment" you must be able to "show" the prospect what you are offering, in the form of a presentation.

By having this presentation, you engage the prospect- maybe even more than you would in person. While you can't see it, the prospect will be clicking around with their mouse as their interest develops.

6. You must be able to take credit cards

Sales managers are right in this regard: If you can't "close" a deal over the phone, you can't sell over the phone.

To "virtually sell" you must be able to ask for a credit card. This validates why you don't need to meet in person.

Here are a few recommended services to handle credit cards:


7. Follow-up

E-mail thank you letters, giving referrals, sending articles of relevance to their industry electronically, and having a monthly e-zine are strong ways to virtually sell.

When prospects get in the mindset of seeing you on the internet, via e-mail and hearing your voice, it becomes easier and easier for them to trust you.
In sales, when you have trust, you have everything.

"Customers do not care how much you know until they know how much you care."

There are many more ways to show you care than meeting in person.

Author's Bio: 

Todd Natenberg, President, TBN Sales Solutions, is the author of the book, "I just got a job in sales. Now what?" A Playbook for Skyrocketing Your Commissions. TBN Sales Solutions increases commissions for salespeople and profits for businesses through customized training and consulting. They establish structures and procedures in all facets of the sales process, through workshops and individual one on one sales education,, to teach reps to control their own destiny, to impact the bottom line. Visit www.toddnatenberg.com for more information. Todd can be reached at 866-464-0339 or e-mail todd@toddnatenberg.com.