How do you re-engage your buyer when they check out during a virtual sales call?
We surveyed 529 B2B buyers for our 2023 Virtual Selling Report and found that specific seller actions and behaviors impact buyer engagement levels.
Those actions and behaviors are summarized below.
So the next time you notice a non-verbal cue that indicates plummeting engagement (e.g., your buyer’s eyes are glazed over as a donut), don’t panic.
You’ll know exactly what to do to turn things around and save the meeting.
The Impact of Buyer Engagement on Deal Outcomes
Before we tell you how to re-engage your buyer, we want to quickly explain why sellers should care about buyer engagement in the first place.
Our research shows a relationship between buyer engagement and deal outcomes.
We asked our panel of B2B buyers to think about the last sales process they participated in and select the option that best describes how engaged they felt.
We then cross tabulated their answers by whether or not they purchased.
As you can see, sellers who keep their buyers engaged throughout the entire sales process are most likely to see positive deal outcomes, while sellers who fail to keep their buyers engaged are least likely to see favorable deal outcomes.
(The blue bar represents maximum engagement, and the purple bar represents minimal engagement.)
Pay attention to the middle ground: the pink, green, and orange bars. When engagement declines at any point during the sales process, so does the likelihood of purchase. So when buyer engagement dips on a video call, you’ve got to get it back on track—and fast.
Worth mentioning: the majority of buyers surveyed work at companies with 5,000+ employees. We know that enterprise buying cycles are lengthy, meaning enterprise sales reps must maintain engagement across a long period of time. But on the flip side, a long sales cycle provides ample time to build strong relationships.
Seller Actions That Impact Buyer Engagement Levels
Highly engaged buyers (those who felt engaged throughout all or most of the sales process), said the following about their sales rep:
The least engaged buyers (those who did not feel engaged throughout all or most of the sales process), selected the following items:
To maintain high engagement across meetings, sellers need to keep the focus on the buyer (their business needs, feelings, personal details, and words).
Quick tip: Whenever a buyer shares a personal detail, write it down so you can mention it later. It’s more personal to ask, “How was your trip to Tahoe?” rather than “How was your vacation?”
Little gestures like this, combined with business acumen and a partner mindset, go a long way … just like this disc golfer. #longway
Lauren Bailey, President at Factor 8, says the number one action sellers can take to increase buyer engagement is to stop talking.
“We [sellers] can’t help it. When we talk, we pitch! Replace the value prop with value questions. Buyer engagement skyrockets when they’re talking. Ask prospects about themselves, their companies, their roles, and their goals,” Bailey says.
“Pro tip: It’s the follow-up question that shows genuine interest and active listening! Engagement doesn’t happen when you ask the question, it happens when you show interest in what they were saying.”
Seller Behaviors That Impact Buyer Engagement Levels
Buyers in the most engaged group were significantly more likely to describe their seller as:
Buyers in this group were also significantly more likely to say their seller had strong relationship management skills.
Organizations often deprioritize emotional intelligence and EQ, but clearly they play an important role in buyer engagement and deal outcomes.
Emotional intelligence enables the kind of empathy sales associates need to understand their customers more deeply—including during the meeting when emotional misunderstandings can be disruptive.
Good news: emotional intelligence can be developed.
Sales leader Orrin Webb Jr. coaches sales reps and managers to apply emotional intelligence. Learn more about building emotional intelligence in this podcast episode:
Overcome The Four Forces That Make Virtual Selling Difficult
Download Uniphore’s 2023 virtual selling report to learn about overcoming the top virtual selling challenges. The report includes 10 actionable recommendations for virtual sellers to help you close more deals and hit your numbers.