The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things for Americans, including selling practices that have generally relied on in-person contacts for many years. Interestingly, as the world has changed technologically, virtual selling had been increasing prior to the onset of the pandemic. Yet, the pandemic caused a rocketing upsweep in virtual selling—a reported increase of 163 percent versus the pre-pandemic period. Notwithstanding the pandemic, it clearly appears that virtual selling is with us for the future.
Why is Virtual Selling the Way of the Future?
Virtual selling is the way of the future because the world is an increasingly globalized marketplace, and this approach to selling enables the reach and flexibility for selling professionals to span the continents. Its flexibility helps align a company’s offerings with its customers’ changing needs. Its agility enables sales personnel to adapt to changing schedules and customers’ availability. It certainly can save travel time and money, making a salesperson’s time dramatically more efficient. Importantly, virtual connections can be effective in sharing more information, engaging more, and in creating greater levels of trust. And greater levels of trust lead to more sales.
What are the Biggest Virtual Selling Challenges?
The biggest virtual selling challenges are first, gaining buyers’ attention. Second, connecting with buyers to interact virtually. Third, building rapport and keeping them engaged. Fourth, enlightening buyers on what is possible, how to solve their problems, and address their needs. And fifth, overcoming their resistance and dealing with objections.
What are the Virtual Selling Mistakes?
The biggest virtual selling mistakes, perhaps not surprisingly, start with technology problems—disruptions in connections, poor sound, and poor lighting. Mistakes include not being prepared, and just “winging it.” Also on the list are weak presentation skills, poor or no use of visuals, offering poor responses to questions or concerns, and having background distractions such as people and animal household noises. These mistakes can all be overcome with good planning and preparation.
Tips for Successful Virtual Selling
Certainly, virtual selling adds some challenges, but the essential selling principles remain in force. Simply know that if you can sell effectively in person, you can sell effectively in today’s virtual world. Here are some tips leading to your success.
First, deal with the potential of technology problems by ensuring that you have reliable high-speed internet service that has the capacity for virtual visual sales calls. Make sure that you have reliable high-quality equipment including a laptop or tablet that has visual capability and a quality microphone. You may also want to invest in headphones.
Second, choose dependable visual software. Visual connections are significantly preferred over voice calls. Good visual choices include Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. Learn thoroughly how to use these systems out and test the one that you choose so that you can use it flawlessly.
Third, plan a system for connecting with customers and potential customers. That includes email communication to precede and follow calls, the use of scheduling software to make it easy to schedule with customers, and planned follow-up procedures.
Fourth, prepare an appealing visual set-up for your calls. That includes a tidy background, good lighting, and a place that will be free of distractions.
Fifth, use quality dynamic visuals.
To Achieve Sales Success, Seek Outside Expertise
As a fractional VP of Sales, James Bellew works with small to medium-sized business owners to build or rebuild their sales organizations. That includes sales strategy, processes, building, establishing, and aligning sales teams and their sales tools to achieve solid sales improvement.