This was a client query that kept most of our teams busy throughout a greater part of 2020. Though most organizations were fast enough to adopt the digital first approach to selling, concern related to the efficiency of the process remained to be an issue. This then led us to a six-month journey to identify the challenges in virtually selling financial products and how these specific areas can be addressed.
The silver lining of the new normal, if we can dare to call it that, is that 34% of customers surveyed in Asia responded positively, that they finally realized the importance of products like life and health insurance. While another 28% have stated that they have a better understanding of their personal financial goals and protection needs. So, we know the buyers are ready, but with the mandates of social distancing the challenges are as follows:
- Virtual selling is a new medium and will require sellers to master new skills.
- Sellers will have to overcome the lack of trust that comes with lack of personal connect.
- Data analysis and trends will have to become a staple diet in seller lives.
Keeping these challenges in mind, we have identified three stages to convert a financial products sales expert into a financial products’ virtual sales expert.
As per the LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2020, 77% of the respondent’s surveyed from the sales community have stated that they now hold more virtual meetings, however there is a 44% drop in responsiveness of customers. To add to this there is a 44% rise in the overall sales cycle.
The Sales Team needs to have a lot of digital assets and be savvy with the technology options available to them. When they are in a virtual meeting with customers, they can provide a WOW experience by anticipating what the potential customer will want to know and delivering the answers in a visually demonstrative manner.
So, to increase responsiveness the outreach needs to have additional hooks and information such as:
- Electronic pamphlets that decode complex financial products for customers
- Online calculators, growth simulations and comparison tools to engage a customer and get higher responses to virtual meetings.
- Access to existing customer data so that they know their customer, their investments, and their buying behavior.
- Present an offer as an upsell instead of a new sale.
- Access to online documentation tools like Google Drive or an online repository of documents in the LMS, so they can record their actions by customer, and have a clear plan for next-steps or follow up.
- Company ID cards and official email IDs are a must.
- Branded clothing and gear would be powerful visual references.
Only 3% of buyers trust a sales representative. Therefore, building trust with potential customers in the virtual set up is more difficult but not impossible. Some new behaviors and practices need to be ingrained into, and imbibed by, your sales team.
- Learn to leverage your company brand by wearing branded clothing or showing the branded gear.
- Show company ID card and keep it visible throughout the call.
- Send electronic material shown on the call, along with the discussion points from official email ID.
- Tool for virtual call should be widely available so customer can easily access the meeting link.
- Training on all functionalities of the tool is necessary to appear knowledgeable to the customer.
- Practice and proficiency on the tool are critical for providing a great customer experience.
- Informing the customer that the call will be recorded automatically builds trust and assures the customer that the information shared with them cannot be misleading.
The beauty of the digital space is that everything is trackable, and the data, big or small, is always saying something. Here is how the sales team can leverage data to improve their virtual sales numbers:
- Conduct daily virtual huddles and a digital dashboard showing performance metrics, for updates, applause, target check, etc.
- Leaders use the same tool as the reps to maintain morale and motivation in the team.
- Upfront visibility of compliance training completion status, along with performance so everyone knows that they are accountable at every stage for compliance and KPIs.
- Use call recordings for regulatory compliances, quality checks, performance measurement, coaching and feedback.
There have been many changes in 2020 and some of these changes are here to stay. Digitalization of sales will need sales teams to be immersed in an overall digital culture that can be promoted by an enterprise LMS. The faster financial companies and BFSI can adapt the sooner they can build a view of future business metrics, create forecasts and plan strategies around virtual selling of financial products.