What are the Virtual Selling Skills You Need to Grow
Today businesses take place in the virtual space in most cases. The overwhelming negative impact the recent global pandemic had on sales has made sales organizations see the need to completely ‘recondition’ their sales approach.
Maybe not entirely, but most sales organizations have transitioned to selling virtually against the traditional, face-to-face approach to sales. Thanks to numerous virtual selling tools and sales enablement tools out there, the transition to remote selling seems less difficult for sales professionals on the technical aspect.
Virtually gaining your potential buyers’ attention and converting them to paying customers is not what you can do with just technology and tools. Your success as a virtual seller combines the right virtual selling skills, correct toolset, and enabling platforms.
The toolset and platforms you need for your virtual sales shouldn’t be a problem – they’re waiting for you to explore them in your virtual selling journey to your satisfaction. However, what seems complicated to have is the right skills, and even that too can be cultivated.
What Is Virtual Selling?
Virtual selling is a new style of selling that takes place entirely online between two parties – salespeople and customers. As against the ‘physical selling’ that involves a face-to-face approach to sales, in virtual selling, sales activities are done remotely without the two parties meeting in person.
This ‘new normal’ way of selling usually uses video calls to engage with customers and video messages to communicate to prospects. However, sales professionals have gone a bit over the top to leverage sophisticated sales technologies and sales enablement tools to hold remote sales meetings with customers with business goals in mind. Sales organizations also leverage various social media platforms to sell virtually to customers.
Virtual Selling Skills —What’s Important and How Sellers Stack Up?
The skills gap brings about the difference between sellers doing so well in the virtual space and those not doing so well. The former have the right skillsets required to excel and overcome the challenges that most people who sell virtually encounter. While the latter (though they might have some skills) have failed to succeed because they lack the basic virtual selling skills needed to transition to remote selling and make sales.
Thus, it becomes so important to recognize the most relevant virtual selling skills and cultivate them to succeed within the virtual business world. Here are the three must-have virtual selling skills for salespeople today:
Effective communication skills
Communication is key to a business’s success (whether virtual or face-to-face) and should be the first skill on sales leaders’ priority list. This involves the ability to establish and lead sales conversations in virtual meetings and create conditions for sharing creative ideas and solving problems.
As a virtual seller, you must know how to use the words your target customers use to engage them in a sales conversation throughout your sales cycle. You have to learn the use of the right tone of voice and body language specific to every buyer’s communication style. Buyers tend to connect well with salespeople with the ability to communicate the sales process effectively.
Strong problem-solving skills
Virtual buyers will make you their default seller versus your competitor if you can create superior value for them. This is where strong problem-solving skills come to play. As a salesperson, you should understand the power and importance of solving a problem before selling. This is because your target customers don’t care about your products; their concern is how your product can help solve their biggest problem and add value to their lives.
Excellent interpersonal skills
It’s essential to develop meaningful relationships with buyers virtually to have a clear understanding of their needs. Here, interpersonal skills refer to the sellers’ ability to interact with buyers more personally. This involves projecting confidence, connecting with buyers, actively listening, and building rapport virtually. Virtual buyers care more about meaningful relationships and want to see this quality in sales professionals. You’ll need this skill to attract buyers’ trust and keep them buying from you in sales.
Top 3 Virtual Selling Challenges
It’s essential to know beforehand that you will face some challenges as you transition to virtual selling as a seller. According to a global study by RAIN Group, the top 3 virtual challenges for sellers are as follows:
Gaining a buyer’s attention and keeping the buyer engaged virtually
91% of sellers reported that it’s always challenging to gain prospects’ attention and engagement in a virtual setting. Engaging distracted buyers while managing the sales cycle is a top challenge for virtual sellers worldwide. While it’s hard enough to gain customers’ attention, losing buyers’ attention is virtually more effortless. Once you lose your buyers’ attention, you’ll need like 10x of your initial effort to get it back.
Changing buyers’ opinions about your products
Convincing prospects to choose your product over your competitors is another top challenge in virtual selling. 89% of virtual sellers face this challenge, especially in the early years of selling to remote buyers. Sellers attempt to instill new ideas and perspectives into buyers’ minds to overcome the challenge. This way, buyers might change their perspective on what’s possible or how their product can solve a problem.
Developing meaningful relationships with virtual buyers
The third-highest ranked challenge by RAIN Group has to do with relationships. 88% of sellers from the global study find it hard to connect and build relationships with buyers virtually on a personal level. In most cases, these buyers are not interested in starting any relationship with buyers online.
Common Mistakes Made by Virtual Sellers
Still, on the global study by RAIN Group, the following are the top virtual mistakes made by sellers according to buyers:
89% of buyers reported that sellers often have one technical difficulty or another. Technical glitches in video calls and software issues are often why most virtual meetings don’t go on as scheduled by sellers.
Poor or no visuals during virtual sales meetings
86% of buyers also pointed out that sellers often do not share visuals during online meetings. And many sellers use poor visuals to communicate new ideas to buyers, and this mistake has cost many sellers the chance to inspire buyers with what they offer.
Non-responsiveness to buyers’ questions or concerns
84% of buyers find their questions and concerns often disregarded by sellers in virtual meetings. This usually makes buyers form negative opinions about sellers that have committed this obvious mistake. They believe such sellers care less about their buyers and more about themselves.
Skills are usually many, and you cannot have them all. But, if you want to be on top of your game as a sales leader, you should recognize and develop the skills that matter most in remote selling. Having the right virtual sales skills can help you overcome the selling challenges associated with virtual sales. In addition, the right virtual selling skills will spare you from making the common mistakes virtual sellers make.
As a sales leader, you can enroll your sales team in virtual sales training to learn and develop the utmost critical skills in virtual selling.