Virtual Selling the right hand to close more deals
Now that the world has evolved its work activities more and more to hybrid and work from home environments. Virtual meetings, remote selling, and the need for an emphasis on selling skills, for both has come into play to a greater degree. The skills of listening intently, and studying your buyer’s body language, can stack the house odds in your favor. It only takes the right skills, toolset, and platform.
Now that the world has evolved its work activities more and more to hybrid and work from home environments, Virtual meetings, remote selling, virtual sales enablement and the need for virtual selling skills has come into play to a greater degree.
In addition, sales organizations have turned to virtual meeting software as a way to adapt, and grow their businesses. Especially in recent times, when an in-person meeting may have not been feasible, or allowed. What has stayed the same, is that businesses are trying to implement the same, in-person sales processes; processes meant for vis-à-vis or face to face physical meetings, into a virtual environment.
If you’re looking to keep card sharp, as a sales professional these days, re-skill yourself on how to sell virtually.
What is Virtual Selling?
The term “virtual selling” is self-explanatory. Yet, the execution offers a little more of a challenge. For this article, we will refer to virtual selling as being over video when two parties are using online technologies, and selling to customers remotely. In fact, veteran salespeople have been selling “virtually” for years. It is the addition of video, the internet, and further sales enablement tools that lend a greater degree of difficulty, and reward.
When done correctly, and with preparation as with any business process, virtual selling with the proper sales enablement tools can help build rapport, and trust with the buyer at a much faster pace.
Here are some tips for virtual selling:
- Use a high quality web camera, and a microphone whenever possible so that you can see body language, hear and see cues, and mirror your buyer’s actions, if complimentary
- Build rapport by talking about common interests, such as hobbies or current events, and don’t forget to be personable
- Use social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, to research potential buyers and learn more about them to get a better picture of your buyer
- Be aware of the different types of technology available to augment your virtual selling skills and how to use them effectively
- Keep in mind that virtual selling is not without its challenges, and take steps to overcome them to be successful
Sales professionals who are skilled at virtual selling know how to use these tools to their advantage. Through effective communication, body language, and relationship-building you can overcome virtual-difficulties, and close more deals while at it. Sales professionals skilled in virtual selling, also know how to navigate virtual sales processes by hybridizing some of the same tools as in-person selling for a greater end result.
Virtual selling is not just for newbies or those uncomfortable with face-to-face interactions. Experienced, sales professionals not accustomed to virtual selling can also benefit from these techniques to reach more buyers and augment current relationships. With a little practice, virtual selling can be a powerful way to connect with buyers, and build your skills toolkit at the same time.
Along with the rise of social media and broadcast-quality video conferencing tools, greater internet bandwidth, and even 5G-based mobile platforms, virtual meetings have taken on a new form in everyday use.
The modern buyer wants to be able to connect with a sales rep virtually, through social media platforms, a secure video/chat app, or even directly through a company website. Virtual meetings allow for these connections and relationship-building to happen. In fact, buyers said leading a thorough discovery of their wants and needs weighted 71% of their purchasing decision. All without the need for expensive travel, and resulting in less time spent on logistics, and more time spent in front of your customers.
This is not to say that in-person meetings, and selling will no longer be useful or relevant. On the other hand, virtual meetings, and virtual selling provide new possibilities for sales reps to go double or nothing. This can happen by both meeting with buyers on demand, thus conducting more “touches,” and by even more chances to show the buyer how to solve their problems. These extra “touches” can also be helpful to buyers when a virtual seller needs to circle back for milestones, or other approvals, get up to date customer news at a moment’s notice, and further develop buyer relationships.
While virtual selling and virtual meetings may seem like recent developments in when it comes to business offerings, video calls, virtual meeting rooms , and social media platforms are increasingly being used in place of phone calls, letters, or office visits. In fact, with proper sales enablement tools, virtual selling is a better than the classic office visits and field sales meetings: because your salespeople can conduct more effective meetings, with more effective tools at their disposal.
Which Virtual Selling Skills Should You Have?
Virtual selling skills are important for sales professionals in today’s digital age. However, even with a multitude of platforms available, and features like Apple’s Center Stage (in FaceTime) these platforms do not guide us on which skills to focus on. Here is a guide to the four most important virtual selling skills:
1. Good Communication: This is the most important virtual selling skill. In order to build rapport with potential clients, sellers need to communicate effectively both online and off. This includes using the right tone of voice, correct body language, and words. Using tools to help augment your virtual meetings, and giving your customer’s needs top priority.
2. Sales Process: It is also essential to understand the virtual sales process and how to use the skill set to adapt and facilitate changes to your current methods, especially if you are new to virtual meetings, virtual sales, or video communications.
3. Sales Enablement: Virtual selling also requires virtual sales enablement, which is the ability to create and deliver effective sales presentations for online use. Effective sales enablement is the practice of providing sales professionals what they need to succeed. In sales, engagement equals revenue, and sales enablement equals opportunity by improving performance. Which in turn leads to a more consistent engagement experience.
4. Great Interpersonal Skills: Finally, virtual selling also requires the ability to conduct virtual meetings properly, and to keep the buyers attention. This is a crucial skill, and in fact, 91% of buyers say it is the biggest challenge in virtual selling. Other very important skills include facilitating interaction with your buyer, and as mentioned above, the skill of active (and attentive) listening.
So, which virtual selling skill should you focus on? In addition to great communication—by that we mean: learning as much as one can about sales communications skills, active listening, and problem solving—are all of them. If you’re looking to be “dealt in” on the high rolling action that virtual selling can bring,. It is best to polish your skills sets, and practice.
Challenges of Virtual Selling
The challenges of virtual selling are largely related to the lack of face-to-face interaction. Without being able to meet in person, sales reps must find new ways to build rapport and trust with their customers. Additionally, they must learn to read body language and cues virtually. Not as difficult as it seems if you apply the skills you already know.
Moreover, as with in-person interactions virtual sellers need to be aware of their own body language. With some customers, even minor cues such as poor body language, or poor language itself can be seen as a barrier to moving the sales process forward. As with all business meetings, a virtual seller needs to first make a good impression with new, and potential customers just as they would in a face-to-face meeting.
There are a few ways you can improve your body language in a virtual meeting:
Be aware of your posture – sit or stand up straight, and avoid slouching. Make eye contact – look at the person you are speaking to as much as possible (including looking into the camera). Keep your hands open – avoid crossing your arms. Smile – a genuine smile will make you appear friendly and trustworthy.
Just as important, people in virtual selling situations need to be aware of the body language of their customers. If a customer is leaning away from you or has their arms crossed, they may be sending other signals about the meeting. Take these cues, and other non-verbal information into account and adjust accordingly.
Virtual selling can be a great way to reach new customers and expand your business. By being aware of the importance of non-verbal cues, technology, the customer’s needs, and taking the time to build rapport, virtual sellers can overcome these challenges and succeed in today’s competitive sales environment.
Despite the learning curve in overcoming some of these challenges, virtual selling can be a highly effective tool. By leveraging the right techniques, sales teams can continue to close deals and drive revenue, sometimes at a much faster pace. Also, the opportunity to frame virtual sales meetings to serve the customer’s schedule, rather than the other way around can be considered another touchpoint to help build the relationship.
Virtual Selling Tools
If you’re in sales, or have attended sales calls with any regularity then you know that the selling process has changed dramatically in recent years. Virtual selling, now that the pandemic is subsiding, is somewhat becoming the new norm. As a direct result, sales reps have had to adapt their skills and strategies to be successful in this newer environment.
Fortunately, there are a number of virtual selling tools available that can help sales reps be more successful.
Some of the most popular virtual selling tools include:
- Video conferencing hardware (VC): Although most times expensive, and out of reach to smaller businesses, VC has aided remote selling for years. This type of solution most often offers an enterprise level of video, and connectivity. VC hardware often includes software tools like virtual white boards, and other tools to aid virtual meetings.
- Social media: Social media can be a great way to connect with potential customers and build relationships, in turn introducing your sales teams to remote sales, and virtual selling. Sales reps can use social media to share information about their products or services, answer customer questions, and even close deals.
- Virtual meeting software: This type of software allows sales reps, and others to connect to a single or multiple points of contact, and hold meetings with potential customers from any point that has an internet connection. This is the most versatile way to keep in contact with customers both while in the office, at a home office, or while mobile.
- Sales enablement platforms: Sales enablement platforms allow salespeople to not only communicate their message about products, but to clearly, and concisely explain, transfer data, and dissect the message. As stated above, the goal is to not only speak to your buyer, but to make sure that they understand the value that your product offers
These are just a few of the many virtual selling tools available. While this sector grows, one can expect the market to have many many more selections. Of course, there are only a few great applications that rise to the top.
What Should I Consider Before Moving My Organization to Virtual Meetings?
When evaluating whether to move your sales organization to a hybrid, virtual selling model, there are a few things to consider. All-in-all, think of virtual meetings as a royal flush, or a full house before booking your next in-person meeting.
The most important factor is whether or not your sales team is prepared and willing to make the switch. Sales reps must be comfortable using technology, and virtual sales enablement platforms to more effectively communicate with buyers. Including mastering newly learned skills, and the ability provide more closes, outside of the usual space of experiencing the in-person “win.”
There are a few factors to consider when moving your sales organization to a virtual selling model. Or, whether evaluating the virtual selling model as an addition to augment your current sales toolkits. The most important factor is whether or not your sales team is prepared and willing to make the switch. Sales reps must be comfortable using technology, and virtual sales enablement to communicate with buyers. Including mastering newly learned skills, and the ability to close deals outside of the usual space of experiencing the in-person “win.”
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