When it comes to the sales industry, the idea of virtual selling has been around for a while. Now, it’s becoming even more popular ever since global lockdowns prevented people from leaving their homes, going into the office, and meeting with prospects and customers. The pandemic may have stopped people from their once-normal work routines and in return forced more and more aspects of everyday life have moved online.
This shift of consumers toward a more remote way of life has also pushed many businesses to pivot and follow their prospects and customers to the internet by becoming a virtual seller. Even now that travel and office restrictions are easing, many people have kept their preference for operating online over in-person options.
Unless you’re a global franchise like Walmart or Mcdonald’s, you won’t be able to survive long without an online presence. Even giant chains with fantastic name recognition have still adapted to the virtual environment because they realize this is how to sell in the new normal.
You, too, should adapt to a virtual selling market by getting the right tools, supplies, and training to equip your business with virtual selling for sales professionals. Over 65% of buyers in North America work remotely most of the time, so why would they want to leave the safety and comfort of their own home just to hear a sales pitch? Help your sales reps succeed by encouraging them to join the 81% of sales reps that use video conferencing instead of in-person meet-ups.
Challenges of the virtual selling world
Virtual selling has become increasingly popular because it’s quick, convenient, and safe. Still, sales reps, leaders, and organizations experience virtual selling challenges. Before you begin moving your sales operations online, make sure you plan for these common challenges:
Maintaining your buyers’ attention
The internet is a busy place, with many things distracting potential buyers. They might find someone offering the same products as you and give them attention instead. Getting and keeping a buyer’s attention is easier at a physical store, where you can meet them in person, without advertisements from competitors, and they can’t click away. When working with a potential customer online, it’s a bit different.
Establishing trust and building rapport
When dealing with a prospect or customer face-to-face, a good sales rep can quickly gauge their mood, attitude, and feelings regarding the pitch. Sales reps use this information to build a trusting relationship with the buyer. From there, they can steer the conversation in a direction likelier to close the sale.
Working with customers online makes it harder for the buyer and the seller to gauge each other’s tone. Lacking face-to-face interaction makes customers wary of whoever they’re talking to, especially in a sales setting.
Working with prospects and customers online limits their ability to view, analyze, and form opinions on a product or service. They can only see what the seller shows them, making them more skeptical of the pitched product. The most important part of a sale is convincing the other person that your item is their best option to solve a problem. Without examining the product first-hand, they may have a harder time discerning its true value. It’s on the sales reps to showcase products and convince the audience of their value.
It can be especially difficult to maintain clarity if the seller and buyer are communicating via text chats or email. Messages lack the nuance of inflection and tone of a real conversation, often leading people to the wrong conclusions and causing communication issues. In addition, people have an easier time offering and retaining accurate information when speaking to someone in person.
Virtual selling best practices
Selling your products or services and working with others online can be challenging, but it’s becoming increasingly necessary. If you can make it past the hurdles, you can gain many benefits of virtual selling. When it comes to selling virtually, best practices get everyone ahead. All you must do to get the results you want is implement the following virtual selling best practices:
Preparation is essential in any scenario, but even more so when conducting business online. Don’t stick a customer with a sales rep who spends the first five minutes of a call getting everything in order. Time is money, and it is more imperative now than ever that a sales rep do their research. They need to learn everything they can about their prospect, the organizations, their pain points, the product or service, and anything else that helps make the sale.
Share materials before the call
Don’t wait until the last moment to give the prospect information and materials they need. Share them in advance and use the call time to discuss the things that matter. Giving prospects information in advance gives them more time to understand what they’re getting into before committing.
Explain the sales process
Selling in a virtual environment is different from doing so in person, and so is buying. Customers hate feeling bamboozled when considering doing business with someone. They want to be in the loop and know what’s going to happen before it happens. One of the best ways to increase the odds of them doing business with you is by explaining the sales process ahead of time.
Work with marketing
Partnering with your marketing team allows sales teams to acquire new resources and collateral. Both teams can benefit from this in the future, as it streamlines the selling process and makes everything more efficient. In turn, the marketing team can get the necessary data more efficiently than before.
Monitor interactions and relationships
Don’t turn a cold shoulder to your prospect or customer after they complete a transaction with you. Maintain the relationship by using what you’ve learned from previous interactions to your advantage. Stay in touch and follow up, so that next time the customer needs your company’s good or service, they’ll return.
Important virtual selling skills for sellers
Using these practices is an excellent way to skyrocket your sales team to the top, but you can always do more. It’s vital to provide reps with training and coaching so they develop the right virtual selling skills. Having these skills is a must for anyone wanting a successful virtual selling process. The right virtual selling skills training is vital to virtual sales success because it can help your sales rep develop the following essential skills:
Without social skills, a sales rep can’t form a trusting, friendly relationship with their potential customers. There would be little to no trust between them, and the odds of a successful sale are significantly decreased.
Communicating intended meaning can be more difficult online. The customer can’t analyze your facial expressions and body language. They can’t gather the nuance of your intention from your vocal tone, and the process can feel scripted or robotic. This impression leads to miscommunication and might offend the customer if they perceive the seller’s message in a way they didn’t intend.
The sales rep must listen and respond to the customer’s comments, questions, and concerns in any kind of sales. Doing business online makes this even more critical. The customer might already feel impatient, easily distractible, and wary. A sales rep should pick up on this and steer the conversation, encouraging the customer to stay interested.
Unlike selling products in person, selling things online eliminates the customer’s ability to form judgments based on examination. When selling online, the sales rep must have the skills needed to display the product accurately while still keeping it in a positive light.
Virtual selling tools to turn to
In addition to skills training and best virtual selling practices, there are several virtual selling tools that a sales rep should know how to use before attempting a sale. These include:
Synchronous and asynchronous video tools can significantly improve the virtual sales process. The former is a live video conference, and the latter refers to recordings. When completing a sale with a customer, text chat and voice calls alone are often not enough to push them to purchase. Using these video tools makes them feel a more personal connection to the sales rep and, therefore, the product.
Social Selling tools include personalized content, activated sellers, and risk mitigation. Creating a customized seller market lets people find what they’re looking for more quickly. Activated sellers reach an audience more deeply through a multi-channel approach, and risk mitigation helps eliminate security risks.
Online sales training is an essential tool. It gives sales reps access to all the means, learning materials, and resources they need to succeed in the world of virtual sales. It teaches them essential skills like communication, social ability, active listening, and more. It also enables them to learn these things remotely and re-access necessary information throughout the sales journey.
Preparing your reps for virtual selling
Virtual selling has been around for a while, and it’s not going anywhere. The process of virtual selling may be complex, but neglecting to do business online may herald the death of your sales organization.
We provide the training, coaching, and enablement software you need to prepare your sales team for the future of virtual selling. So, if you want to succeed in the world of virtual selling, request a demo today.