With the abrupt changes COVID-19 has caused in all of our lives over the past month, so many lessons and newly required skills are surfacing in our professional lives—including how to close a deal that may have been in the works long before an unprecedented shutdown or a large deal you would like to get signed when the business world has been turned upside down. Instantly, we are being asked to adjust to continue our day to day working relationships with clients, but it’s a new definition of “being connected.” This time has a whiplash effect on every person, every business and every decision being made in an uncertain future.
A change in momentum can blow up a deal quickly, especially if you don’t have a long-term working relationship with your decision-maker. You can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. There are steps you can take to not only connect with clients you are currently in the middle of a deal with, but also to close a deal with new prospects in this isolated environment. Consider the following:
Be the Driver
Initiate the connection by immediately setting up a video conference to personally connect vs. doing business via email. When in-person meetings are not possible, you can still connect via video conference and create a face to face interaction. This may not be unusual for everyone, but conference calls can turn into video conferences which creates a different type of connection. It is very important to watch others’ facial expressions and read body language that can give you clues as to where you are in your process.
The first step of persuasion is getting out of your own shoes and into the shoes of your decision-maker. So, if you have done your homework and understand the desires of your client it will be easy to navigate how to persuade them to set up a video call. Some people may be shy, and some may think it is too complicated, but you can be sure to set up the call and provide simple steps to make it as user friendly as possible. There are programs out there where it only takes one click to connect. But you must be the driver. This will also help you build credibility as others will notice your forward-thinking.
Make sure you use a video program that has a feature where you can share your screen so you can present documents, backup information or visuals with your conversation. Adding visuals to your presentation will raise retention levels by 70 percent. This is extremely important in this environment, so you not only connect personally but you connect visually. Plus, this is a way to give you a reason to circle back around and touch base with your client and direct your conversation back to your visuals when designed to lead your decision-maker to your point.
Another way to follow up with your clients may be to send them an electronic version of your visuals. This again gives you another touchpoint as well as finding a way to get them to look at them again. Not only is repetition important but visual repetition is vital. Looking for ways to continue to stay connected when we feel disconnected will also show others you are being innovative by finding creative ways to take initiative to keep the connection. These types of actions make you stand out and easy to remember—which is exactly what you want.
Visual Persuasion is More Important Than Ever
Another golden rule to persuasion—you must always have visuals that lead your decision-maker to your desired conclusion if you want to persuade a decision-maker. Designing your visuals to guide your decision-maker to your desired conclusion is one of the most important steps you can take in closing a deal. There are tools that can assist in accomplishing this task easily.
You can not only present charts and graphs; you must design them to lead others to the outcome you need to close the deal. You need to make sure the point you are trying to make it in each and every one of the visuals you present in your virtual meeting. Do not just put up a chart that is informative or data-oriented. It must have a message and you need to design that chart to direct them to the message you are trying to convey. Choosing colors that direct the viewer to your point, simplifying information to highlight your point and using directive language in your titles are just a few steps that you can take to put you on the path to success.
Be empathetic to your client’s needs (i.e. put yourself in their shoes). Everyone is under stress right now but if you are prepared your clients will feel you are taking care of them—creating a sense of trust you can build on to get that signature on the dotted line.