Virtual selling is any form of selling that occurs without the buyer and the seller physically present with each other in the same room. Telephone, text, email, Zoom – it’s all virtual selling. Since virtual selling, in that sense, is long standing, there’s no reason to think negatively about it.
The first key to successful virtual selling is to accept the fact that selling fundamentals don’t change just because you’re using a communications tool that is new to either you or the prospective client. The medium used to communicate with your target audience is just that – a medium. Your product or service must stand on its own merit.
Fundamentals matter. If your product has a viable market, it will sell. What are fundamentals? Good prospecting. Qualifying prospects. Focusing on prospect value. Never assuming value when making pitches and going back to value when clients give you objections.
But for now, think of virtual selling as that which takes place over Zoom, Teams, and platforms of similar ilk. This might be a surprise but buyers actually like it. Not ALL buyers, but many do. A 2021 report by McKinsey indicates that 71 percent of buyers preferred virtual communication channels when considering new vendors.
And it’s practical too. Many of the people who make buying decisions work remotely at least part of the time. If you want to reach them, you’re going to have to communicate virtually – unless you want to be an old-fashioned door-to-door salesman!
To sell virtually, the following things are important:
1. Know your tools. You never want to get hung up on the technology. Make sure you have practiced all the features you’re going use.
2. Be prepared – if more than one sales pro is going to be involved in the meeting, figure out ahead of time who’s doing what. For some reason, the fumbling that goes on between sales reps comes across as more annoying and unprofessional on virtual platforms than when you are in person.
3. Because you’re not physically present in the room, you might need to be a little more energetic and perhaps even a little more animated than you are in person. It is easier for prospects and clients to get bored, drift off and secretly look at their phone in a virtual setting than in a physical one. Also, I have noticed that sales pros are more likely to talk in monotone voices and mindlessly focus on features and benefits in a virtual setting than when in person.
4. Don’t forget that questions are more important than telling when meeting with a client. Because the virtual format seems a little more artificial, some sales pros don’t ask as many questions as they would in person and don’t listen as intently either.
5. Make sure your PowerPoints and shared documents are as interesting as possible. It’s easier for clients to drift off when you’re not there in person so you definitely don’t want dull visuals.
6. Remember the next commitment. Whenever you meet with a prospect, you never want to leave without getting a commitment from them as to the next step. That need does not change just because you’re on Zoom.
7. Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re meeting virtually. When you call someone on the phone, you don’t waste 10 minutes talking about how weird it is that you’re on the phone instead of in person. Well, don’t do that on Zoom either. Drives me nuts when I’m in a hurry and the person with whom I’m virtually meeting wastes time joking about Zoom or talking about how “so many meetings are virtual these days…”
8. Make sure your background is professional and not distracting. Similarly, control your environment for good sound.
If I have to choose between virtual and in-person selling, I prefer in-person. Nevertheless, virtual selling is a tremendous weapon that should definitely be in your holster.