A Sales Etiquette Guide for Remote B2B Selling in the COVID-19 Environment

Living in uncertain times doesn’t mean that we can throw etiquette and professionalism out the door. If anything, we need to prove our competence to build trust – now more than ever.

COVID-19 doesn’t mean we can’t continue to do business, but it is changing how we do business – particularly in the sales environment.

I recently had my first online sales interaction in this new world. A representative of my medical aid provider called to set up a video meeting to discuss how my medical aid and life insurance could be restructured to save me money.

It was a stark lesson in how not to host a video sales call:

  • The person on the other side of my screen was reading emails throughout the call
  • She continuously wiped her nose with her hand
  • She wasn’t trying to help me restructure my plan – this was a sales pitch, pure and simple
  • She was disengaged and didn’t maintain eye contact with me.

There was zero value in the meeting for me, which means we didn’t make a deal, but more importantly, I’m second-guessing my current choice of provider. They may have just lost a customer.

How COVID-19 is changing the rules of engagement

Whether we’re in lockdown or not, social distancing is our new reality. This means that if we want to continue doing business with our customers, our rules of engagement need to change.

If you can’t bring the same level of professionalism to video calls as you would to face-to-face meetings, you’re going to lose customers. It’s that simple. How you present yourself either builds confidence in your skills, expertise and solutions – or erodes it.

Here are 6 steps to successfully hosting an online meeting.

1. Prepare your pitch before you pick up the phone

 2. Set an appointment for your meeting

  • Working from home brings its own challenges, so be respectful of your client’s time
  • Online meetings can be as short as ten minutes. Book only as much time as you’ll need

 3. Be deliberate about your goals for interaction

  • Don’t ignore the realities of COVID-19
  • Plan what you need to cover in the meeting
  • Create an agenda for your call with your client
  • Include your agenda with the meeting invite

4. Check your technical setup

  • Join the meeting early
  • Test your speakers and microphone
  • Check your camera is pointing at you
  • Check or blur your background if you’re sitting in an open space – Zoom has a function where you can change your background
  • Minimise outside interruptions from your new office colleagues (pets and children)
  • If you do have children in the house, let your client know and apologise in advance if there are distractions
  • Keep the meeting on point
  • Put your phone and email notifications on silent
  • Ensure any files you intend to share are open and ready before the meeting begins
  • Be prepared with a plan B in case of tech failure

5. Be professional

  • Dress appropriately
  • Communication is 70% visual. Watch your body language and facial expressions
  • Keep your points and questions short, and only cover one at a time
  • Project a positive attitude, but be cognisant of the serious situation we are experiencing
  • Be authentic. Now is not the time for a ‘sales pitch’
  • People in crisis do not want to be sold to, but they are looking for solutions that can help them
  • Straight-forward, human-to-human and above all authentic sales-messaging is essential

6. Successfully host your online meeting

  • Only one person can speak at a time, so let them finish speaking before you begin
  • In larger groups, say your name before speaking
  • Mute your microphone if you are not talking
  • Look into the camera when speaking
  • Do not check emails / messages while on the call
  • Stick to the agenda
  • Use meeting notes to capture action points
  • Summarise action points and next steps at the end of the meeting
  • Email all participants a post-call report

Getting started

These are scary, uncertain times. Many industries might not survive the coming months.

If you have a solution that can support people and businesses however, there is no reason why you can’t continue trading – provided you present yourself professionally and take into consideration what your customers really need during the current crisis.

How ThinkSales can help


Solutions to help sales leaders with their go-to-market strategies and solutions for sales managers to manage remote teams and equip sales reps with the skills and tools to bring in revenue in the midst of COVID-19 crisis.

Click here for full details:

  • Virtual consulting on customer engagement process design and sales strategy
  • Virtual building of call scripting, needs analysis and conversation guides built to engage customers in an online environment
  • Online Psychometric Assessments to assess Sales Reps and pinpoint highest priority development areas for selling in this environment
  • Virtual sales training for sales reps and managers.