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The ongoing pandemic has opened our eyes to the realization that remote work is here to stay, and it’s not going away anytime soon. In fact, most brands in the B2B space expect digital sales to be more than 50% of their business within 2 years.
When it comes to working from home, it’s natural to feel uneasy, especially if you work in sales. Feelings of isolation, not being productive, or not being able to sell properly can overwhelm you.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The following tips will help you turn the lemons provided by this new reality of remote work into lemonade.
Apart from the issues we discussed above, remote selling is challenging also because your prospects are often multitasking or distracted, and you can’t read the body language of people you’re presenting to. So what can you do? Below, you’ll find our best tips you can put to use when working from home.
As a salesperson working from home, you are going to have a lot of virtual meetings with prospects, customers, and colleagues. During these online meetings, your background should come across as simple and professional.
It doesn’t have to be a high-end green screen or studio backdrop, but it shouldn’t be an unprofessional mess either. For example, you don’t want the participants looking at a pet roaming behind you or a pile of laundry. You want them to be able to focus on what you’re saying.
Many video conferencing tools give you the option to set a virtual background, but those usually look unrealistic and pixelated. A real, minimalistic background is the best step forward.
When you are working from home, the line between home and work is somewhat blurry. That’s why it’s important to have a designated workstation.
It could be a whole separate room, or just a small area with a table and chair in your house. What’s important is that it’s something really comfortable and optimized for how you like to work.
Such an area can help you keep your focus as work, as well detach yourself from work when you’re done for the day.
If for some reason it’s not possible for you to have this separate space, there’s another great alternative. You can just pack everything up when you end your day and take it out only the next morning. Even this small act can help set the boundary between home and work.
Poor voice quality or background noise is a big distraction that hinders proper communication and your ability to sell. If your default speakers and microphone are making your or your prospects’ voices sound rough, garbled, or low in volume, it’s time to make some small upgrades.
One way to handle sound problems is to use headphones with a built-in microphone. Another alternative is to get a tabletop USB mic that makes your voice sound crystal clear. An external microphone can go a long way to help you deliver your ideas perfectly.
One of the concerns associated with working from home is a lack of personal connection with your team. When you work from an office, it’s easy to chat up with coworkers, get to know your peers during lunch, or lend someone help. On the other hand, working from home can lead to feelings of isolation.
To get around this problem, it’s good to remember that you can still socialize, even though it’ll take some extra effort. By taking the initiative to schedule virtual coffees and video chats, you can stay connected with your coworkers. It may seem a bit awkward at first, but eventually you’ll come to realize that it’s okay.
Your webcam should be placed and adjusted such that you’re the focus of the video when you’re on screen. Having said that, you also don’t want the camera to be too close to your face. So be careful of how you set your webcam. Your head and shoulders both should be visible when you’re communicating in a meeting.
Image Source: Effective Home Office
When you work from home, there are still stressors that you need to regularly deal with. For instance, a certain account may be causing stress, or you may get assigned to a project that stretches your capacity.
When that happens, don’t delay bringing it up. Tell whoever you need to tell or get the help you need as soon as possible. In fact, have consistent weekly check-ins with your manager or team if possible.
Once you’ve had some practice scheduling and conducting virtual meetings, it will start seeming very easy and natural. As you get more comfortable, it’s easy to forget that there may still be people out there who may not have the same experience.
So be mindful of how you communicate the meeting instructions to participants before and during the event. For example, when sending out a meeting invite, add clear instructions on ways to join the call. Similarly, when starting the meeting, it’s a good idea to briefly go over basic features like muting, live chat, etc. with the participants.
Another challenge when working from home is managing your time and staying organized.
A strong focus on managing your calendar and using a project management software to allocate time for important activities can help you stay on task.
By using software to block off separate chunks of your time for tasks like sourcing, prospecting, follow-up, and more, you’ll be able to keep your deals moving forward.
Many salespeople don’t build a routine when they first start working from home. In addition, there’s a self-imposed pressure to prove that you’re working with the same efficiency as working from the office.
They’d often start and end at different times each day, and eventually get stuck in an unsustainable schedule. As a result, they end up working too many hours and start to feel stressed out.
It’s obviously a good idea to have a fixed start time in the morning, but it is just as important to have a set time to stop working. If you want to maintain your health and productivity, you need to create a stable routine and stick to it.
Working remotely usually means that you’ll not have a lot of distractions. This is great for productivity, but it can also make it difficult to catch a break. In fact, a report by Hubspot states that 45% of people working from home take lunch breaks that are less than 60 minutes, while 25% don’t take them at all.
When you work from home, you don’t have coworkers stopping by your desk asking to grab a cup of coffee, or to take a quick break and get your thoughts on something. So you need to be diligent about taking some short breaks on your own. For example, you can go for a run, stretch your body, or grab a quick snack. Recharging your batteries often will help you feel at ease, avoid burnout and get more done.
Another issue with working remotely is having family members, roommates, or pets at home causing distractions. Moreover, if they are working remotely too, it can be difficult to coordinate.
In such cases, communication is key. Make sure everyone knows each others’ work schedules so you can coordinate the spaces you use for work and avoid disturbing each other during meetings.
As you can see, it takes a while and some conscious effort to get used to working remotely. But the good news is working from home doesn’t have to come in the way of meeting your sales targets.
With these best practices in hand, you can be just as productive and persuasive virtually as you are in person. So make use of the technologies available to you, organize your work, and start connecting with your prospects and peers in a meaningful way.
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