In a recent survey sent to our email subscribers, we asked about the challenges facing sales professionals as we all shift to a primarily virtual world. We uncovered a common theme: It can be a struggle to get your customers to be open to the use of digital tools for communicating with you. For some sales professionals, it's not that they are uncomfortable with using digital tools in the selling process, but, rather, that their customers are not open to engaging with them in a digital/virtual format. So, what can sales professionals do to increase their customers' willingness to join them on virtual calls or meetings?

First and foremost, don't try to pressure your customer into it. Nobody appreciates their viewpoint being disrespected, or altogether ignored! Persuasive tactics will only push your customer further in the other direction and will make them even less receptive to you. Instead, you should create an environment that allows your customers to let their guards down. Get into their "Odds Are." Listen to them and use LAER: The Bonding Process® to understand where they are coming from in their objection to the use of digital tools. Only once they understand that they, and not your commission, are your priority, will they be receptive to you.

After your customers understand that you genuinely care about their concern surrounding the use of digital tools, and once you have a better understanding of where they are coming from, you should communicate a clear game plan for how to proceed. Make sure your game plan is tailored to their particular concerns and adjust it as needed. The point of communicating a detailed, step-by-step plan of how your interaction will happen virtually is to make sure your customer knows exactly what to expect and to ensure there are no surprises. Doing so will increase their level of comfort in engaging with you virtually and will create a safe space for them to interact with you.

Most importantly, nobody knows your customer better than you! Do what you can to help remove the barriers causing their discomfort or concern, but understand that to be truly customer-centric, you must engage with your customer the way they want to be engaged with! If that requires emailing or talking on the phone rather than using tools like web conferencing platforms, microsites or digital collaboration spaces, then it's up to you to adjust the way you sell to the way they prefer to communicate!