Virtual Customer Meeting Pro’s and Con’s
Customer meeting, whether physical or virtual, is key to winning deals. With social distancing still being observed in some places, sales reps are experiencing difficulty meeting face-to-face with customers. One way sales leaders can keep connecting and engaging customers when they cannot do in-person meetings is by meeting virtually.
A virtual customer meeting is a real-time sales interaction between sales reps and customers (or prospects) in virtual meeting rooms. This online meeting enables sales team members and customers to meet in real-time through video conferencing (audio and video) software from anywhere globally without being physically located together.
However, a virtual meeting has its strengths and weaknesses compared to physical meetings. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of virtual customer meetings.
5 Pro’s of Virtual Meetings
The benefits of virtual customer meetings cannot be overemphasized in virtual selling. Here are a few ways virtual meetings are a significant asset to sales professionals:
#1. Saves you cost
Physical meetings with customers have long been a goldmine for sales, but they often require huge expenses. Renting a meeting room, paying for customers’ accommodation, and catering for attendees’ refreshments during a meeting contribute to the high cost of hosting and running a successful in-person meeting.
However, virtual meetings usually require lower expenses, and all the costs mentioned above are not associated with hosting meetings virtually. As a result, sales organizations that meet customers remotely have experienced significant reductions in the fixed costs of hosting and running a customer meeting.
#2. Increased customer attendance
Customers can join a virtual meeting from anywhere around the world. Unlike in-person meetings that they need to travel to attend, virtual meetings do not require a fixed meeting venue. Customers can easily access a virtual meeting on their own time from their electronic device anywhere there are stable internet connections. They also have the freedom to leave a virtual meeting for more important things when the need arises.
It’s important to note that increased customer attendance means increased engagement and more sales. The simplicity of online meeting access and the option to leave the meeting room early without anyone stopping you have encouraged even the busiest customers to attend. This increases customer participation in your sales meeting.
#3. Shorter meeting sessions
Physical meetings can last for hours or days to make it worthwhile, especially for customers who have to travel down to the meeting venue from a far region. Studies have revealed that customers usually struggle to remain focused during a long meeting. As a result, they tune off from meaningful sales conversations or make an excuse to leave the session before it ends.
With a virtual customer meeting, sales organizations can engage customers in a shorter time without dragging it. Customers tend to appreciate a short meeting more than the long one because they experience less fatigue and can get back to their daily activities as soon as possible. You can end your meeting session and leave the virtual meeting room when you’re done with your sales presentation.
#4. More frequent customer meetings
Virtual meetings make it convenient for hosts and attendees to meet whenever they want. You can hold virtual meetings with your customers as much as you want to discuss how your products or services can add value to them, among other things, on your meeting agenda. Virtual meetings require no unique set-up plan, and running a successful one doesn’t cost a fortune.
Sales leaders can set up a virtual meeting in just a few minutes on Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms and send the meeting link to customers to join on the meeting day.
With a virtual meeting, you can host many short check-ins with your customers to keep them updated and informed about your products or services. You can also record your meetings for later use or for those who cannot attend your meeting.
5 Con’s of Virtual Meetings
There are some liabilities associated with virtual meetings. These include the following:
#1. Faulty Internet connections
Hosting and joining a virtual meeting requires robust and stable internet connections. However, no one can always guarantee the 100% stability of their internet connections. Sometimes, customers experience issues with their internet connections when in the meeting room, which cost them to miss out on some of the critical aspects of the meeting.
Unstable internet connections can lead to poor audio and visuals, making the entire meeting experience less fun for both parties. In the worst scenario, the meeting may not hold as scheduled due to issues in the entire video-conference software, virtual meeting tools, or virtual meeting platform you choose for the meeting.
#2. Less face-to-face contact with your customers
In virtual customer meetings, sales team members only have virtual interactions with customers and prospects. The interaction is void of face-to-face components. As such, sales professionals find it challenging to gain the customers’ attention and keep them focused during virtual meetings, especially in today’s distracted virtual setting. Face-to-face communication is needed to understand your customers more and gain their trust.
While virtual meetings are cost-effective and time-saving, they cannot substitute for face-to-face communications with customers when it comes to gaining customers’ understanding needed to keep them engaged throughout the meetings. Customers are less subjected to distraction in physical meetings.
#3. Difficulty in understanding your customers’ emotions
The more emotions or senses involved in the communication process, the more meaningful the communication. Effective communication involves the use of emotions, tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions.
A virtual meeting works with visual and audio-only and cannot allow customers to express their emotions during meetings fully. This makes it more taxing for sales reps to clearly understand their customers through virtual meetings as their customers’ emotions and passion are hidden behind the screen.
#4. Differences in customers’ time zone
While your customers can join your virtual meeting from anywhere globally, differences in their time zones could limit participation levels. Scheduling a customer meeting is one of the most obvious drawbacks of virtual meetings that virtual events planners have to deal with.
How you schedule your virtual meetings is key to maximizing your customer meeting attendance. Though there’s no way to arrange a meeting that every customer will attend together, you should find out what day and time is best to host your virtual meeting to ensure significant participation. The best practice here is to consider changing the time of your virtual meeting every time to give every attendee an equal chance to attend.
As there is nothing with benefits without a drawback, a virtual customer meeting also comes with both pros and cons. Some of these pros and cons are highlighted above.
As a sales leader, it’s your responsibility to become aware of virtual meetings’ advantages and disadvantages. Learning about them will allow you to weigh the two side by side before deciding whether or not to employ virtual meetings.
However, it’s noteworthy that a sales organization serving customers in a virtual realm will have no better choice than to embrace virtual meetings in their entirety. That way, you can continue to interact and engage your prospects without restrictions and eventually convert them into paying customers.
Today, there are multiple video conferencing (audio and video) software and virtual meeting platforms that you can utilize to hold a successful meeting with prospects and customers online. These software and platforms will help you address most of the drawbacks associated with virtual customer meetings and allow you to make the most out of a virtual meeting.
Interested in learning more about scaling your sales team while successfully maintaining your conversion rate, team motivation and engagement? At SaleDeck, we provide you with tools and resources to improve the efficiency of your sales team.