4 Keys to Virtual Sales and Negotiation

course design Jul 19, 2021

In Episode 14 of Your Greatest Work, Manja and Josh talk about the nuances of virtual negotiation and sales.


So you have a course. It's refined, tweaked, tested, and it's your greatest work. Amazing. Wonderful. Exciting!

But now you need learners. What's a course without learners?

And how do you attract learners for your course? Yes, the s-word. Sales. You have to sell your course and convince potential learners that they have something to gain by paying for your materials and spending their efforts on your course.

Negotiations and sales can make many of us feels uncomfortable, but it's an essential part of being successful.

So how can you effectively negotiate and make sales?

And how can you do that in a virtual environment?

Josh Jenkins, the Director of Business Developments at Shapiro Negotiations Institue, has plenty of experience doing just that. Here are Josh's top four tips:

1. Don't think about a sale or negotiation as a single event

We often think of negotiations and sales as single events. According to Josh, that's really not the case. We're constantly negotiating with —or influencing— the people around us. Your colleagues, coworkers, family, and friends.

You're always negotiating something. Where should you eat? What movie should you watch? Who should work on that project or take on this task?

You have experience negotiating (and endless opportunities to practice). Realizing that is important.

2. Don't abandon the small talk

In virtual sales, you're not taking a potential client out for dinner or giving a full-day presentation with a nice lunch break. That has all changed, Josh explains.

What hasn't changed is the need to build relationships with prospective clients. You may have abandoned taking them out for dinner, but you can't abandon small talk.

So when you're planning a video call, plan time for small talk. Build in some go-to opportunities for natural conversation.

Do you have a pet? Have them nearby. Everyone loves pet interruptions on a zoom call.

Does the person on the call have an interesting background? Ask a question about it.

If you're trying to make a sale asynchronously, think about your social media presence. Small talk can happen on any —and every— social media platform. Take advantage of that personal opportunity to engage with future learners.

3. Consider trying assignment selling

What is assignment selling? As Josh explains, this sales strategy involves sending your prospective client some information ahead of time. Essentially, you give them an assignment before your call.

This can help your potential client be more informed about your course or whatever you're offering, but it has another side benefit: they now have some buy-in.

Assignment selling puts some of the responsibility on the client which can help them feel invested in the sale before it even happens.

4. Try to understand their interests

A lot of salespeople try to respond to the client's explicit position. To be more effective, Josh says, you need to really understand the client's interests. What do they need? Why?

By focusing on the interests of a possible client, you can work with them to find the best possible solution for their needs. When you do that, they're more inclined to seal the deal with you. After all, you know what they need and you know how to deliver.

In this week's episode of Your Greatest Work, Josh talks extensively about strategies for making virtual learning effective and applicable as well as strategies for measuring behavior change. This is an episode you definitely don't want to miss.

Tune in to hear Josh's insights! Episode 14 is out now!


About Our Guest

Josh Jenkins is the Sr. Director of Business Development at Shapiro Negotiations Institute. Josh has more than 25 years of experience. He's currently pursuing a Masters in Education from George Mason University, specializing in Instructional Design and Technology.

About Your Greatest Work

Through conversations with global leaders and the credibility of personal industry, Your Greatest Work digs deeper into learning design in useful and applicable ways. The fourteenth episode is out now, listen to it here.

Stay tuned for coming episodes. Let's start the conversation about making your current work into your greatest work.

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