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How to Close a Sale without Shaking Hands - Transitioning to a Digital Strategy

by Article by Dan Moyle Dan Moyle | April 29, 2020 at 8:15 AM

It feels like we’re all remote workers right now (April, 2020). With that remote work comes a new challenge for some sales team: closing deals without shaking hands. 

One friend of Impulse Creative, Doug Daviidoff (Imagine Business Development) noticed this “new” phenomenon and called it out on Twitter. Doug says it’s not exactly a new thing. 

Here’s the thing: Doug is absolutely right. Closing deals remotely without that face-to-face interaction isn’t new. In fact sales professionals have been doing it for decades. 

Sure, putting a contract with a nice pen in front of your prospect and shaking hands feels like it’s the best scenario. But how many deals do you know that close this way in a modern business? 

We talked with Doug about his tweet and his remote-closing experience. He pointed out that brands like HubSpot and Salesforce close 6-figure deals all day long. You can, too.

Imagine is a location-agnostic marketing and business development agency (and HubSpot Solutions Partner) with a completely remote team. They have no choice other than to close deals from afar. 

Even when Doug had an office for the team, he was already closing deals over the phone—and isn’t that really remote closing? In fact, Doug says he’s been closing over the phone since the 1990s, before he had an agency. 

Before he was an agency owner, Doug was in sales over multiple industries, learning sales fundamentals he would eventually bring to Imagine. 

Want to know what his years of experience have taught him and the team?

Doug Davidoff’s 4 Tips for Closing Deals without Shaking Hands

“If you’re uncomfortable selling remote, it’s all in your head,” Doug says. “The fundamentals are the fundamentals.”

While sales fundamentals transcend time and industry and scenarios, when you’re closing a deal over the phone or a video call, you’ll want to prepare a little differently and keep a few things in mind. Here’s a look at four tips Doug offered.

1—Smile More

One of the first keys to selling over the phone or video is to bring a positive energy and put the prospect at ease. You do this through the simplest action: smile. 

When you sell on the phone versus selling in person, smile more often and bigger when you talk. Exaggerate your smile so the person on the other end of the phone hears it. 

On video, much like when you’re in person, smiling can be seen. You just forget that you’re on video, so you’ll want to practice smiling more often.

2—Check In More Often

During any conversation you’re probably already checking in. Maybe you ask, “Does that make sense?” Or another phrase might be “How does that impact you?”

Checking in helps keep your prospect engaged, and you’re probably already doing this during conversations. The difference when it’s remote is that you’ll want to be more strategic and purposeful about checking in.

Questions to vary your check-ins:

  • What do you think about that?
  • Does that make sense?
  • What questions can I answer?
  • Any thoughts, comments, questions?
  • What comes to mind right now?
  • How does that impact you? 
  • Where are you right now?

Checking in helps you avoid getting lost in a monologue. You don’t want to make the conversation all about you, which happens if you just talk. When you engage your prospect with questions and check-ins, you bring it back to them and you avoid boring them into oblivion. 

3—Structured, Not Scripted

Selling remotely successfully comes from preparing the right way, too. This doesn’t mean you need a script you follow word for word, Doug says. But you do need more of a plan.

One thing people do wrong when selling remotely is they script themselves. Whether it’s a demo or a sales call, scripting it all out isn’t necessarily the way to go. 

Instead of scripting out what to say, Doug suggests structuring where you want to go, planning points to cover, then listening to the prospect. It goes back to being customer-obsessed and solving for their problems. 

So while you might be able to “shoot from the hip” in person, you’ll want to prepare a structure when selling remote.

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4—Substance Over Style

In addition to preparing and leaning into structure, you’ll want to keep in mind that remote selling brings about a different challenge than in-person closing in the style realm. 

Think of it this way: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou taught us that. In person, you can get away with less substance by bringing a lot of energy and style. 

If you have a chaotic live presentation style, the takeaway is likely the energy you bring. But when you’re selling remote, it’s more about the substance because that in-person feeling just isn’t there. 

Concentrate on delivering a ton of value in an easy-to-grasp manner and let that be your style.

When you strip all that flare away you just get back to the substance, and back to enabling them, empowering them to make their decision. 

BONUS: The exception to this rule: Video.

Doug’s conclusion: We should always sell this way, just more focused when you’re not face-to-face. All of these tips to sell remote exist when you’re able to physically shake hands and close a deal. When you’re not in the same room, you just need to kick it up a notch on a few of your fundamentals.

Want to connect with Doug? Here are a few ways:

How can you prepare for remote selling as part of your digital marketing strategy? Here’s a conversation with Impulse Creative’s Growth Strategist, Jackie Pfriender.

Connect with Jackie:

What's next? Let's talk inbound sales!

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