How to Engage your Customer During Customer Meeting?
A few years ago, when the idea for Salesdeck was conceived, one of the key driving forces was to increase customer engagement during virtual calls. As you already know, interaction during sales calls is cumbersome – customers feel such calls are boring and are one notification away from zooming off to Instagram live or Twitter spaces.
Powerpoint presentations haven’t helped this cause either since they are usually monologues where the salesperson is the only one speaking while the customers remain muted. We felt things needed to change. After all, there has to be a two-way exchange between the buyer and the customer for sales to happen.
If you’re unaware, we have a virtual selling podcast where our founder Gabriel interviews some of the brightest minds in the sales world. In the last few weeks, we’ve had several sales experts come in to share their best tips on virtual interactions and, along the line, dropped valuable customer engagement strategies without even knowing it themselves.
We’ve compressed their best advice on customer engagement strategy into this article. We believe testing out the tips here would help increase customer satisfaction, affecting long-term customer retention.
But, before we jump into the heart of this article, let’s walk through what we will cover:
- What is a customer engagement strategy?
- Why is it necessary to engage your customer?
- Seven ways to engage your customer during a customer meeting
Tag along; let’s do justice to each of these subjects starting with:
What is a Customer Engagement Strategy?
10 hours, 51 minutes.
That’s the record for the longest customer call at Zappos.
Zappos sell shoes, bags and apparel, and you might want to ask- “what could they be discussing with customers for that long.”
I don’t know.
But what’s sure is that Zappos’ customer engagement campaign is all about wowing customers and one of such parameters is unlimited call time. If customers need help with order shipment, product-fit or exchange of items in their cart, there’s a “Zapporian” desperate to answer those queries and impress. This is key to increased customer satisfaction in the last 20 years.
But hey! Your customer engagement strategy doesn’t have to be wrapped around lengthy conversations like Zappos is doing but building trust and rapport with your target audience requires dialogues and not one-way conversations.
Unfortunately, most companies take human interaction off the table once the first deal is closed. As a result, their customer acquisition effort falls short of their customer engagement effort.
That shouldn’t be you!
To the question: What’s a customer engagement strategy?
A customer engagement strategy is a framework or activity that strengthens the bond between customers and your brand.
There’s no one-fit all solution for customer engagement. Brands are always on the hunt for new and exciting ways of engaging customers over virtual calls. But a few can’t see the reason behind having a clear engagement strategy. They seek no need for improvement even if customers fall asleep out of boredom.
If you’re one of those, here’s a handful of reasons why you should have a change of heart:
Why is it necessary to engage your customer?
It helps customers Interact with your brand.
Sales aren’t measured by the amount of talking done but by the quality of conversation. That can only happen when there’s a two-way exchange: both the buyer and seller take turns in talking and listening.
When the seller does the talking, there is a chance for the customer to pass the sales rep through their mental filter: analyze their body language, tone, willingness to help, dedication to the brand, problem-solving abilities and other traits that gives out their professionalism.
And when the table turns and the customer takes charge of the microphone, it offers a chance for the sales rep to gather intelligence on the customer’s needs, financial abilities, core beliefs, goals, objectives, pain points, and values.
Identify customer journey
Quality interaction helps you identify a) customer position in the buying journey and b) qualification and a chance of becoming one of your best customers – repeat purchasers, product evangelists or loyal fans.
Improves information retention
A good engagement strategy draws listeners into the meeting. Engaged customers are likely to retain information far longer than absent-minded attendees. Thus ensuring knowledge of your company stick around for a while.
Engagement shows they’re interested.
Engagement shows that customers are actively listening. This reflects in the quality of questions asked and objections raised. A customer that answers with a simple “yes” or “no” is probably bored and can’t wait to zoom out of the meeting to something more interesting.
Benefits of a customer engagement strategy
The biggest benefit of a solid engagement strategy is that it helps you build a long-term relationship that converts regular buyers into recurring purchasers, loyal fans, and product evangelists.
Existing customers frequently renew and can opt for a lifetime subscription plan. They can see the value in your product or services and aren’t scared of providing feedbacks on areas where adjustment is needed.
What benefit comes from having a loyal fanbase?
Ask Apple and Amazon.
Apple boasts of one of the most loyal fanbases worldwide, something the rest of us love to call “apple fanboys.”
They’re the guys who can’t tolerate any slander against the company and stand in line all night to be one of the first to get their hands on the next shiny thing.
Anyone who isn’t an Apple user is less privileged and out of their league.
It took years for Apple to instil such level of loyalty, and this comes from consistent engagement – social media content, discount deals and in-person events that create the buzz ahead of a new launch.
A loyal customer is likely to become an evangelist if you keep them around for as long as possible. In the case of Apple, its evangelists are the iPhone-obsessed YouTubers and social media influencers who can’t stop singing their praises.
An evangelist is your greatest asset for word of the mouth marketing campaign. They bring in referrals without intervention from your marketing team.
8 ways to engage your customer during a customer meeting
Two human beings are meeting for the first time. First time seeing each other’s face, in what I call a “virtual first date”, how do you start the conversation? Keep it alive and avoid awkward dead air? That’s the question most sales reps ask when meeting a client for the first time.
Unfortunately, only a few know how to unravel that mystery. If this has remained a gray area for you, here are tips to keep in mind during your next call:
Where do you start? A meeting agenda that outlines key talking points and allotted time is a good place to begin. Preparedness also extends to checking your device and video conferencing tool for any glitch that might obstruct conversation.
And don’t forget to turn up in casual business clothes rather than pajamas or undies. You still need to look the part even if the meeting is held in the corners of your bedroom (for virtual calls)
Inject some energy in your tone
Our chat with James Buckley in the 12th episode of the virtual selling podcast made us realize the importance of energy in sales. It’s not what you say that matters but how you say it.
Preparing for a customer meeting requires being in tune with your audience when you speak – know when to raise your voice, lower it, and smile. Keeping positive energy helps buyers recognize your passion and thought-leadership.
From the tone of your voice, buyers can tell if you’re driven by passion or the paycheck.
Prioritize trust enablement
According to Hubspot, 51% of top buyers rank trust as the top thing they want in a sales rep, but only 3% trust their sales reps. This tallies with the point Bill Mccormick made in our last interview – “Trust enablement is the new currency for building authentic relations.”
What’s the trust formula for customer meetings?
Engaging in conversations that provide meaningful value. This could be as simple as finding out what they’re struggling with, areas they need help and presenting a professional image during customer interaction. It’s not about jumping in and saving the day; the key to trust enablement is to make the sales rep someone they look forward to talking to, just like in the case of Zappos customers.
Please don’t make it a Q and A session
What’s the best way to get customers talking? There are thousands of tips out there, but one route to avoid is creating an interview atmosphere. Shy customers cave in when the meeting gets tense or the sales rep sounds too formal.
A great way to make a meeting feel like a peer-to-peer chat is to share stories and a little background knowledge about the company. Also, ask open-ended questions to get customers to share their tory But avoid the cheesy and salesy ones like:
” What’s keeping you up all night.”
” What’s stopping you from buying right now.”
“How much are you willing to spend on a solution like others.”
This gives an impression of desperation.
Consider talking gaps
We’ve been there; you’ve allotted 40 minutes to this meeting; you want to go over the points and call it a day quickly.
Don’t do that!
Avoid talking at a stretch during a customer meeting. Ideally, have a break between each talking point to seek customer feedback. For instance, if I allotted 10 minutes to each talking point on my agenda, I would take a break after the second to ask customers if they have any questions.
Measure engagement metrics
Measuring customer engagement in meetings is different from engagement across the entire sales cycle. For instance, Salesdeck’s upcoming post-meeting feature provides meeting analytics that offers an overview of questions asked during the meeting, the number of times the meeting was exited and the nature of cards played. This simple activity helps with qualifications, and you can identify buying traits.
Incorporate Gamification into meetings
According to Forbes, Gartner predicted back in 2011 that Gamification will be a “highly significant trend” in the nearest future. That prediction has turned out to be true.
Gamification is simply the act of introducing gaming elements to non-gaming activities. This innovation act increases users’ experience and forces everyone to participate in the fun.
Fortunately, Salesdeck is at the heart of Gamification for virtual selling. Elements such as card decks and battle cards invite customers to contribute during sales meetings. As a result, customers can play cards that align with their thoughts without necessarily taking control of the microphone. It takes the fear of speaking away
Automation is here to ease manual effort, but human interaction remains the bedrock of customer relationships. The tips mentioned here might seem like common sense, and might have heard them a thousand times that they no longer hold any significance
But it’s important to form the basis for engagement during customer meetings. This way, you go in knowing what to say and, most importantly, knowing how to draw customers into the conversation.
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