This Week’s Big Deal: Adding a Personal Touch to Digital Interactions

June 24, 2019

One of the hardest parts about selling today, and an aspect I often hear salespeople lament, is the inherently impersonal nature of engaging prospects online. Many of us got into this profession because of our personality and charisma, which can be tough to convey in a digital setting.

There are ways, however, we can still add a personal touch and differentiate ourselves from the pack. The importance of doing so is difficult to measure, but impossible to ignore.

Recently, Mike Schultz of RAIN Group shared a story from a previous job, where his company’s Chief Financial Officer told him why they chose to go with a particular firm. “We picked them because I liked them better,” the CFO said. “All of the firms were qualified to do the work of taking us public. So it came down to which team I felt most comfortable with. Who I wanted to work with. Who communicated with me the best.”

In other words: Even when you have the best product, the best price, and the best fit, you can still lose out because a competing sales rep simply connected better with pivotal decision makers at an account.

In the interest of helping you make that connection, we’re going to highlight two key opportunities for making a memorable impression and increasing your likability factor, even without the benefit of a face-to-face interaction.

Adding a Personal Touch to Digital Sales

Drawing from top trending sales content around the web last week, here are some insights and advice to help you develop a highly appealing digital sales presence.

Shape Their Perception Before the First Interaction

We all know it’s critical to make a good first impression. But sometimes the first impression comes before we ever have the chance to engage a buyer directly. In the age of the internet, the old adage about how our reputations precede us is truer than ever. Prospects can uncover a wealth of information about you before they ever speak (or write) a word to you.

With this in mind, it’s vital to account for all the places someone might go to learn about you, and ensure they’re sending all the right signals.

One prime destination for this kind of research is LinkedIn. Last week at Forbes, Jon James wrote about how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for sales:

  • Your Headline: This is the snippet that appears right under your name in your profile, and alongside it in search results. It’s the most visible piece of content associated with you on LinkedIn. Think of it as your chance to make a quick two-second impression on anyone who comes across you on the platform. By default, it’ll simply show your position and company, but that won’t stand out. Get creative and try to uniquely frame yourself as someone that a person in your niche would want to spark a conversation with. For example, instead of “Sales Rep at Acme Data,” you could say “Hardcore Data Nerd Who Loves to Chat Software.”

  • Your Pitch: As James notes in his piece, the summary section of your profile offers a chance to make an “elevator pitch” before ever doing so directly with a prospect — not just for your product or service, but for yourself. Demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as a consultative advocate.

  • Your Reviews and Recommendations: People tend to trust the things others say about us more than the things we say about ourselves. For this reason, third-party endorsements can be quite powerful. In his Forbes article, James is talking more about featuring reviews of your solution on your profile (which is a good idea), but here I’m talking more about personal endorsements from folks who’ve worked with you in the past.

  • Multimedia: Strong visuals tend to catch people’s eyes more than plain text, so multimedia can be a real difference-maker. This brings us to our next item.

Use Video to Tell Your Story

If you can’t converse with a prospect in person, video might be the next-best thing. This allows the individual on the other end to see you, and feel (in a way) like you’re talking right to them. We’ve written in the past about how video can give B2B sellers an edge, and last week on our blog we featured a handbook for the age of video selling. You can find guidance for getting started in those articles.

Another recent post worth checking out is from Katie Martell on marketing videos that defeat buyer apathy. As the title suggests, this article is oriented toward marketers, but it’s a valuable read for any salesperson who wants to master the art of compelling, persuasive video content. Martell’s tips:

  • Speak to your niche
  • Talk like a human being
  • Drive urgency
  • Earn trust
  • Be where customers want you to be

Each of these will help you come off as approachable and knowledgeable. I would especially emphasize the second suggestion: talk like a human being. Don’t worry about creating a fully-scripted, flawlessly performed and shot video. You’re better off just taking selfie video with your smartphone, speaking casually and authentically. This will be your best bet for replicating that “in-person” experience and can make you seem relatable to prospects.

Let the Real You Show Through

In a vast sea of different solutions and salespeople, it can be challenging to rise above and get noticed. One of the best ways to do so is by letting your real personality shine through in your digital persona. As we’ve established here, there are ways to break through the impersonal nature of the internet, and those who do so effectively will be at an advantage.

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