When the pandemic first hit us, most of us had no idea how much it would change our way of living. Almost every aspect of life has been forced to adopt new ways of surviving or stop functioning. Many people have been forced into learning how to sell virtually.
Among those affected, most are those in sales. Suddenly they could no longer conduct the activities in the physical world.
Like many other sectors, sales reps are forced to turn to online platforms to conduct their businesses. They had to learn how to sell virtually.
Selling virtually is not a new idea or thing. Virtual sales were on the rise, according to a survey conducted in 2018 among 2900 sales pros. In 2021, virtual sales skyrocketed.
The pandemic has played a big role in increasing virtual sales over the past two years. Since the trend was rising even before a big player (pandemic) came into the equation, we can safely assume that virtual selling is here to stay.
Have you been wondering how to sell virtually? How does one even start selling virtually? If you are new to this game or want to sharpen your skills, this guide is for you!
I will share seven key steps that you need to take to be successful in how to sell virtually. These aren’t simple strategies that you know by now; I know you know what you’re doing. I’m here to help you improve what you’re doing so you can be more effective.
Preparing for any meeting is a wise thing to do. Some might skip it, but many swear by it. Preparations become more vital when operating in a virtual environment. There are many things at play, and distractions can decrease your effectiveness.
Preparing for a virtual meeting means ensuring that you consider your client’s preferences and mitigating the challenges they face while working remotely. You can start by booking the call at a time you are both comfortable with. If need be, you may have to compromise because you do not want them distracted at any point during the meeting.
You should also condition your mental faculties to your game plan. Mental preparations go a long way in terms of efficiency or effectiveness. You want to make sure you bring your A-game and hit every goal you had during the meeting.
The second step for effectively selling a product virtually is to create a virtual connection with the customer. When we move from selling face to face into a virtual environment, we get hung up on the technology we’re using.
To some degree, technology is important, but you still need to create a connection with the person you’re dealing with. Now, how do you do that in this kind of environment?
Well, you still need to be observant. Just like you would in a face-to-face environment, you want to be looking around at what’s in the office that you can notice. Something that you can strike up a conversation around it.
Make sure you watch their facial expressions and tone. Ask them questions to understand what’s going on in their world. Don’t get so hung up on the technology that it pulls you away from creating that connection you need to build if you want to have the opportunity to sell.
The key is to focus on the individual and build some connections.
Buyers deal with sales reps every day and hear all sorts of pitches. However, they hear basic or common approaches. You may book a meeting, get online, have some pleasantries, run through some slides, ask a couple of questions and probably book the next meeting. They’re accustomed to what’s going on.
If you want to get their attention and stand out, you need to provoke them a bit. I am not suggesting you irritate them, but that is kind of what Provocation is. How do you do that in a virtual setting?
Make sure you ask questions throughout the conversation. Ask questions that they do not expect. For instance, you may ask why they are looking at making this investment right now instead of in the past or future? That’s an odd question because most sales reps would hope that the customer will make the investment rather than ask why they are making it.
So, consider the questions you’re asking and make sure they are a little bit unique and different. Your questions must stand out because it’s through Provocation that you get and keep the client’s attention when you’re selling to them.
If you have been around sales for any period, you may have heard of mirroring. If I’m sitting in your office and you lean forward, I lean forward. If you sit back, I sit back. If you scratch something, I will do something similar, although I shouldn’t copy it.
That’s mirroring, and the whole idea is that I’m mimicking you to a degree and extent to which you start to believe that I understand what’s going on in your world! It serves to support my case.
In a virtual environment, you don’t necessarily have that opportunity. A lot of sales reps turn off their cameras when their clients turn off theirs. That is not the kind of mirroring you want to do, and it’s pretty hard to sell when everybody’s in the dark.
You should mirror the things that are positive and constructive. Mirror things move you towards building a rapport and good relationships rather than simply mimicking exactly what your buyer is doing. Therefore, if they smile, you smile. If they lean towards the camera, you might do the same, and that is what I call constructive mirroring.
If you want to build a rapport, relationship or demonstrate understanding in a virtual environment, you have to look at the other party in the eye. Dot fixation is not about keeping your eyes dead on the camera. It is making sure you focus on the person you’re presenting to.
You should ensure the clients know that they command your full attention even if you are running through some slides on an extra screen. If they are not looking at you, it is fine. Focus on the client and keep presenting your pitch.
You’ve heard people talk about the fact you need good lighting. It’s important to mention lighting because I see salespeople having virtual presentations in a dark setting. Sometimes, you can’t see their faces.
First impressions are very important. If you want to make a good first impression, you need to have natural lighting. Yes, you got it right! Natural light brings an aura that you just won’t get from artificial light.
If you have the opportunity, you would better be situating yourself in front of a window to get natural light. I know that might sound crazy, and that’s not like the strategy that’s going to launch you from earth on to the moon.
However, when selling virtually, you have to create as much of a natural environment as possible. Use natural light when and where possible. You may even just go outside for some conversations. As long as the sun is not glaring into your camera, natural light would have a better, more natural setting to being on camera.
Don’t Focus on Chat
Most of the tools or software that you’re going to use will have a chat function. This is great, but you will find sales reps driving their clients to chat. As a sales rep, you should not do that.
Driving your clients to chats is an easier way to get information across without many presentations. However, it also limits your interaction and slowly eliminates the small connection you tried to build while starting.
They will not be looking at you anymore or trying to understand your product as you explain it; they will be looking at the attachments in the chats. As a sales professional, you do not want that. You have to make sure you punch the points onto your clients by having all their attention.
If they are putting information in chats, by all means, you will have to address it. Acknowledge the information and return to your presentation. I strongly recommend avoiding chats. Focus on the individual, and if you have some additional information or resources, you can always send it later or book a follow-up call.
Best Video Platforms
If you are going to be selling virtually, you need the best that video conferencing software has to offer. I went ahead and compiled the best video conferencing platforms to make it easier for you. Let’s look at my top four platforms for virtual selling:
First up is Microsoft Teams. This platform is best suited for companies with employees already using Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Teams provide an abundance of collaborative features that help streamline Office workflow.
Since the software already works seamlessly with other Microsoft programs such as SharePoint and Outlook, users can jump between messaging, sharing documents, and having video conferences amongst the team.
The cost is determined monthly and per user, and as of May 2020, Microsoft Teams was being offered free for six months. Microsoft has expanded that offer to include the entire business basic package.
Zoom currently offers a wide range of top-notch video conferencing tools. Additionally, it lets you host one-on-one meetings, group calls, Webinars, and training sessions with screen-sharing capabilities.
It also works on Mac OS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Meeting invites work seamlessly with your calendar. A big selling feature for Zoom is the ability to divide your meeting participants into breakout rooms.
Your host can split guests into smaller sessions during meetings and jump between rooms with four subscriptions. Plans for users to select from. This feature is only available to users paying a subscription. In contrast, the free option allows for unlimited one-on-one meetings but limits those meetings to 40 minutes and up to 100 participants.
GoToMeeting is one of the higher-ranked platforms on the growing list of available video conferences and services.
Unlike other platforms, GoToMeeting works from a Web browser, so you don’t need to download any additional software, and you can access meetings from a desktop or mobile device. Meeting organizers can control who gains access to your meetings with exceptional security features, and precious company data is protected.
Another great feature is the Smart Meeting Assistant. Video meetings can be transcribed automatically, so users can refer back to those transcripts at any time rather than taking notes.
Goto Meeting offers three different plans, and each plan includes unlimited meetings with no time constraints. Choose between the monthly or annual plan, with price reductions included when you select annually.
Goto Meeting offers a free 14 day trial with no commitment or credit card.
Now for anyone already using Google’s G Suite, you may have noticed the updated Google Meet, formerly Google Hangout. Google Meet is part of the G Suite productivity platform is to provide first-class conferencing software.
Tools like Google Docs Spreadsheet and Google Calendar are built directly into the software, so idea sharing is a breeze, and you don’t need to use any outside programs to stay connected.
Hosts can invite guests straight from their Google calendar and host up to 250 participants in a single video conference. Google Meet is not a stand-alone product itself. However, it is included in G Suite Three available plans, and you can test-drive Google Meet before you buy with a free 14-day trial.
How To Sell Virtually: Conclusion
When selling virtually, you don’t have room for mistakes. You have to hit the ball running from the beginning. If people have short attention spans when dealing with them face to face, the attention span is shorter when dealing with them remotely.
You have to learn how to grab and keep their attention throughout the meeting. Make sure that your clients will think about your products once your call ends. This is a skill you must learn through a lot of practice. When you perfect it, virtual selling will be a piece of cake. We hope this article has given you an insight into how to sell virtually.