What Does ‘Virtual Selling’ Mean?
For hundreds of years, traditional methods of sales have dominated the market. From door-to-door sales to full-on, boardroom-style sales meetings, sales reps have been able to harness the power of face-to-face interaction to make a sale.
However, in the modern world, everything seems to have changed. The past decade or so, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic in the early 2020s, has seen consumers working from home; thus, remote selling seems to have overtaken traditional sales methods.
Virtual Selling Technology
Virtual selling is when a salesperson utilizes the power of virtual meetings technology, such as Zoom or Skype, to pitch a sale to a prospect.
While virtual selling has been popular since the advent of these advanced technologies, the market has recently shifted toward online selling. However, it’s not too late to get on board. Read on to learn everything you need about virtual selling, from its challenges to opportunities.
Why Virtual Selling Is Vital In The Modern World
The advent of the internet has caused advancements in technology. With this technology change comes a change in sales methods. As consumers move towards virtual shops rather than brick-and-mortar storefronts, even the most sizable businesses have had to adapt.
Every industry has to adapt to this changing world, and sales professionals are no exception.
The sales industry has already adapted to the rise of technology with vigor. One 2021 study from Salesforce has shown that leading high-performing teams were more likely to hire staff dedicated to inside sales.
The Need-To-Know Challenges Of Virtual Selling
Virtual sales are popular for several reasons. They are far quicker than traditional sales methods and are convenient for both the prospect and the virtual sellers.
With their benefits, convenience, and rising popularity, virtual selling may seem the apparent direction to lead your sales process. However, virtual selling also has its unique challenges.
You may be familiar with the slightly-more-traditional method of phone sales processes; then you already know many of the issues sellers face with sales calls.
If you are eager to move towards virtual sales but don’t know where to start, these challenges might give you a good idea of what key concepts to cover before starting your virtual selling program.
Show Your Worth
When making sales of any kind, from phone-based cold calls to in-person pitch meetings, your first move should be to prove your value to your prospect.
When your prospect has a problem, you are there to sell them a solution. When it comes to the virtual sales process, this prospect is no different. However, it can be more of a challenge than in other fields.
Many potential customers report that salespeople are not skilled at providing POI in a virtual environment, potentially due to factors such as poor training or an inability to use the particular equipment required, such as;
- Text messages
- Video conferencing software
Remote sellers, therefore, should have a good command of the equipment to improve their digital selling skills.
Building A Rapport
When you make a sale, you don’t want to come across as a machine reading off of a script. Forming human connections and building a report is vital to closing any deal.
Building a rapport is so vital that one study from Salesforce reported a whopping 71% of salespeople building a rapport directly led to turning a prospect into a sale. With excellent relationship-building skills, a good and skilled sales professional can read a prospect’s mood and adjust their attitude to the sales presentation accordingly.
For example, suppose your prospect looks bored. In that case, a skilled salesperson may spice up the presentation by engaging in an unrelated conversation relating to a prospect’s hobby before drawing the topic back to the sales pitch.
However, this rapport can be challenging to build when your interaction with a prospect is limited to seeing each other behind screens. You may be hesitant to utilize virtual sales activities due to the difficulty of building rapport in an online setting, but it is merely something that requires practice.
Catching And Keeping Your Prospect’s Attention
Here is an unfun fact: nobody likes when somebody tries to sell them something. A sales pitch or a meeting can be excruciatingly dull for your prospects if you don’t come up with a good virtual sales strategy and human relationship skills.
Here’s another unfun fact: it is reported that after 48 hours, your prospect will only retain about 10% of anything that you talked about.
With this information, it becomes clear that catching your prospect’s attention is a significant challenge in a virtual selling environment, especially in the modern era of Zoom meetings and multiple phone calls.
Both you and your prospect will experience what some experts call ‘Zoom fatigue,’ so you must find a way to overcome it.
Utilize a versatile, on-the-fly presentation style to help incorporate any distractions into your sales activities. Remember, anything that gets you excited as a human and not as a salesperson may also be exciting to your prospect. Use this to your advantage.
Surviving Technical Issues
Technology may advance at an astounding rate, but glitches still happen at an unavoidable rate. Your video conferencing software may experience a glitch that corrupts your screen, or one party may face internet connection issues.
Unfortunately, these glitches are simply part of video-based technology; they are something that every virtual seller must learn to live with if they want to make successful sales.
If such technology issues prevent your presentation entirely, whether by disconnecting your prospect or making communication impossible, consider rescheduling your sales pitch for another date.
Keeping Clear Communication
Meeting a prospect face-to-face and reading their feelings and attitude does not just help build a rapport; it helps build relationships with customers and keep clear communication.
When you sell virtually, whether you accomplish this via texts, emails, or even a video conference, some nuance in body language or tone can be lost in transmission.
This shortcoming is most evident in virtual sales over a text-based medium, where discerning nuance from communications is extraordinarily challenging, if not outright impossible, in most cases.
How To Overcome Your Issues With Growth And Virtual Selling
Thankfully, you can overcome even the most rigorous challenges in the sales world with willpower and a clever sales approach.
For example, you can even fix many significant technical issues with new software and a better internet connection.
Let’s look closely at some of the best virtual selling practices to overcome your issues with growth in a virtual selling program. These useful virtual sales tips will be on both the technological and technique-oriented fronts.
Utilize The Most Powerful Sales Tools
The sales industry is one of the largest in the world; as such, the market for virtual sales tools is similarly extensive. This market seems to grow with both the sales industry and the technology field.
There are hundreds of excellent programs you could integrate into your sales pitch or use to organize your salesforce alongside big names in video conferencing tools such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Skype.
Let’s examine two of the best digital tools you could utilize in your sales journey: Salesforce and Owler.
Salesforce is one of the more recognizable brands in sales tool technology. This customer relationship platform offers a cloud-based CRM system to help you keep your data organized.
With a user-friendly design and functionality that spans sales, service, and marketing alike, Salesforce boasts almost 150,000 customers worldwide.
Owler is one of the technologies at the front of the market research industry.
Utilizing Owler can help your sales and marketing practice by speeding up your market research, curating real-time alerts about potential customers, and helping leverage emails and cold calls to turn into potential sales.
Be Prepared For Anything
When you’re in the sales industry, you must always stay on your toes and at attention. Every minute detail, from your prospect’s attitude to your sails goals or even the weather, is subject to near-instantaneous change.
For these reasons, you must prepare for any possible scenario during a sales pitch, even when the occasion may seem less formal. The fact that virtual sale is over the internet does not mean you can drop your professionalism.
The best way to accomplish this is to memorize every point you have. You can deliver and elaborate on your issues regardless of your presentation’s availability, even in a worst-case scenario, such as a malfunctioning screen.
Make A PowerPoint Presentation
While you can certainly make a sale without a full visual presentation (like PowerPoint, Google Docs, or other software), it certainly makes a powerful visual aid that can make an otherwise bland virtual sales pitch more attractive.
Consider providing your virtual presentation slides to your prospect beforehand so they have some information on your product to meditate on and potentially have questions to ask afterward.
Additionally, in worse-case technical issues, your prospect can review the materials themselves.
Explain The Process To Your Prospects
“Magicians never reveal their secrets” may be a famous phrase, but it is not good advice for a sales professional. This thought goes double in a virtual sales setting.
Hiding behind a screen can obfuscate intent as much as it does body language, so it’s vital to explain your company’s sales process to your prospects.
Explaining the process helps build trust and rapport with your prospects, which we know is vital. This helps build confidence, and in turn, a more confident prospect is more likely to turn into a customer.
Keep An Eye On Interactions With Your Prospects
You should know that gauging attitudes, thoughts, and feelings from a virtual setting can be challenging for any sales professional.
Thankfully you can use particular methods to ascertain somebody’s thoughts from a virtual space and adjust your presentation accordingly.
- In video meetings, you may observe your prospect’s expression, tone, and level of interest in a presentation.
- Certain email programs allow you to track your emails and see if the prospect opened them or not. You can use this tracking to gauge the quality of your emails.
- Monitor the amount of times users click on documents shared by your company. The higher the number of clicks, the more interest the documents generate.
Train Your Sales Force
You may face the temptation to dump your sales team into your marketing room with a list of phone numbers and emails and let them learn on the job, but this approach may damage your sales rates.
One report from Salesforce indicates that fewer salespeople report receiving any level of training in 2022 as compared to 2021, with nearly 40% of salespeople claiming that they lack the training to close virtual sales.
With these numbers, providing virtual sales training to your sales team can give you a massive boost in your success rate.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals?
At The Brooks Group, our goals are to facilitate conversation among sales entities to help optimize virtual sales for your sales team.
With our virtual sales training, you will learn the essential skills to improve your virtual selling skills from some of the country’s most experienced, award-winning sales professionals.
How Does Using A Sales Automation Platform Benefit Me?
Utilizing a sales automation platform can help you optimize sales by minimizing the length of your selling cycle and increasing your sales success rate.
To get ahead and stay at the forefront of sales in the modern virtual age, you need to utilize the best sales software available on the market.
Whether you use a sales-focused CRM system or a prospect-searching tool, you must integrate a powerful video-based technology into your sales strategy. Gone are the days of the Rolodex and an iron will.
Consumer expectations have changed rapidly as the virtual world grows. Consumers no longer have the patience for the cold calls of door-to-door sales professionals and may feel slighted by the inconvenience of an in-person sales meeting.
Additionally, a sales professional doesn’t just need charisma and information about their product; extensive digital selling skills are a must. Nowadays, some level of technological literacy must be part of every salesperson’s repertoire if they want to close a deal.
What Can I Do About These Changes?
Thankfully, any salesperson with an adaptive nature can adjust to these changes quickly. Such significant changes may require trial and error, but this is nothing new to the sales world.
As you navigate these changes, try keeping a journal of what methods have shown results and what haven’t. By keeping a written record, you can share what works and what doesn’t to help form a better sales strategy for your entire sales cycle.
What Qualities Does A Salesperson Need To Develop For Success In A Virtual Setting?
The qualities you need for virtual selling are many of the same selling skills you need for traditional sales. These selling skills include:
- A persuasive personality
- The ability to memorize information about a product
- A charismatic and friendly nature to build human connections
However, the digital setting of virtual selling does include requirements that are new to the field. These new selling skills are as follows:
- A standard level of technological literacy
- The ability to quickly troubleshoot minor technical issues, such as internet connectivity or corrupted flash drives
- The ability to detect tone from an email or text message
In this changing world, every industry needs all the help it can get. Even the impenetrable sales industry has had to adjust our sales tactics and search process.
If you want to boost your performance in the setting of virtual sales, contact us at The Brooks Group today to get more information on how we can boost your virtual sales performance.