Mastering virtual selling is the current focus of our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto. Salespeople, Sales Managers, and Business Owners are equipping themselves with the technology to do virtual meetings with buyers. Zoom meetings backed up by email and phone contact will ensure that you can continue addressing client needs and drive sales. This allows you to have face to face meetings without the necessity of in-person. Over the past 9 years, I have done over 1,500 online meetings with our clients, many of whom I’ve never met in person prior to starting services. If you’re interested in learning my 10 Steps to Master Virtual Selling, read on.
Adaptability. That’s the leading sales attribute of today’s Professional Salesperson. Your ability to embrace technology and use it as a tool has become a deciding factor in becoming a victor or victim in 2020. We all know that change is a good thing. It pushes us to be flexible and open to learning new ways of working with clients and being someone who gets their calls and email returned.
The Elephant In The Room
Let me address something that I can understand some Salespeople thinking.
“There will never be a suitable replacement for a face to face meeting in person.”
Agreed. There’s nothing that furthers the relationship with a buyer than meeting them in person. In my opinion, there will never be one that has the same impact. However, right now sticking with that approach will only give your buyers a reason to not want to meet with you. Your ability to adapt and be on the leading edge of technology could be the difference between making sales or watching the competition eat your lunch.
The Benefits of Virtual Selling
There are different levels of virtual selling. On a basic level, you meeting with clients via web-conferencing such as Zoom. Don’t kid yourself! You are meeting the client face to face. You just aren’t in-person. Does it work for the consultative sales process? Absolutely. Many of our clients have signed proposals investing in thousands of dollars without knowing and meeting me in person previously. That is a huge leap of faith based on trust. Here are the benefits of virtual selling:
- Access to decision-makers face to face in a world that is not ready for in-person meetings
- Ability to ask and answer questions and conduct a needs analysis no different than face to face
- Share presentations, videos, and other sales tools via screen sharing
- Visual cues that recognize buying signs and emotional responses based on body language
- Opportunity to meet many clients by working remotely from your home
- No travel time, traffic issues or expenses incurred in face to face meetings
- Finally, a chance to meet with remote clients that you may not have seen often previously
On a basic level, the advantages are substantial. Now imagine an advanced level of virtual selling by doing product demos and educational webinars leveraging internal and external resources. If you want to drive sales from new customers show them your level of expertise in solving their problems with specific products that have been created for that exact purpose.
Your imagination is the only limit to what can be done via virtual selling. One day when in-person meetings are the primary method of client engagement again, virtual selling will still have its place based on convenience and low cost of sale ratios.
It simply makes sense to embrace this form of selling and leverage it as another great sales tool going forward. Here’s how to make the most of it.
The 10 Steps to Virtual Selling in an Advanced Level
Basic video conferencing is simplistic in its approach. Essentially, you create a meeting and send the link to your recipient. They log on and connect to have a conversation with you. This is a great start to virtual selling and should be practiced before you graduate to an advanced degree. Many Professional Salespeople have done this internally for sales meetings and coordination of projects when working remotely. However, when you wish to graduate to an advanced level here are my suggestions.
#1 – Get your work area/meeting room set up for virtual selling
While an advanced setup might be intimidating, you’d be amazed at what can be accomplished with the right tools and technology. Here’s my virtual studio.
This includes multi-monitors, the right microphones (desk and lapel mic), speakers and a conference phone for VoIP audio connection, monitor stands, proper lighting, 1080 pixel hi-def portable Logitech webcam, a docking station to handle power and signal transmission, the highest internet speed and the right workspace. You don’t have to go this elaborate. This is what I do as a virtual sales trainer, coach, and consultant. All our training is done through this system efficiently with few problems, other than internet glitches.
Set up everything you need no less than one hour before the meeting starts. This includes product and tripod placement, turning on the laptop, connecting the lapel mic, and any presentations that you may be using. Never allow yourself to be the victim of circumstances like a last-minute computer update, spotty Wi-Fi reception, internet congestion, or technology challenges. Rushing last minute to get things done can easily turn a great presentation into a train wreck. Clients have no patience for your issues (more like excuses) and neither should they. Great presentation skills can easily be hampered by technology stress minutes before a presentation!
#2 – After everything is in its physical place, do a test of the audio
You want to make sure your lapel mic and your speaker is at the right volume for proper 2-way communication. Test the video and switch from camera to camera to make sure that you don’t have to fiddle around with things during a presentation. Having a great confidence level in technology leads to a stronger presentation.
#3 – Write out your talking points on a flip chart that should be next to one of your dual monitors
Bullet points on features, benefits, and reminders to ask lots of questions of the buyer will all lead to a great presentation. The Zoom meeting should be no different than an in-person demo with lots of dialogue, personality, smiles, hand gestures, and eye movement. Be the actor back in high school drama class.
#4 – Ensure any presentations, PowerPoints and PDFs are already open on one of the adjoining monitors and simply click and drag it to the right screen share
You don’t want to be searching for documents on your desktop and wondering where they are.
#5 – Start the meeting online 10 minutes before the start and mute your audio and video
Once the client is online, you can activate your audio and video and break the ice by talking about how useful Zoom is. I like to start new clients by asking them if they’ve used Zoom before and give them a brief tutorial on the audio and video areas. Assist them in activating their webcam. Trust me, doing a demo without seeing the client is painful. You’re presenting blind and can’t see their face and body language. Your client should not be online before you are. You’re the host and you need to greet them accordingly.
#6 – Start each meeting with a verbal agenda with the client
“I thought what we’d do today is find out the scope of the challenges you’re currently facing and perhaps discuss some options to deal with them. Please don’t hold your questions. Ask away because today is a dialogue and the more you tell me where you’re coming from, the better I can help you. OK?” Personally, I try to get the client talking quickly in a Zoom Meeting. It opens the buyer up and leads to a more productive, enjoyable meeting. Find out what they are currently using for a product, its shortcomings, and what features they might like about our product.
#7 – Bridge the gap between screen sharing by telling clients that what you’re doing
“In just a minute, you should be seeing (whatever). Please let me know when you do.” That way, you won’t start referring to something they can’t see. Consider making your greatest sales points to the client without screen share. You want to look them in the eye full screen for impact.
#8 – Use all resources at your disposal
Bring in experts inside your company or manufacturer reps to add to your virtual selling process. That shows your buyers that you have a team of people who are focused on providing solutions. Use videos and your website as a visual sales tool.
#9 – End with a conclusion and review a summary of client needs or product benefits
As you present each benefit throughout the presentation, review all of them at the end. Ask them “Of all these benefits, which one appeals to you best?” What they say and how they say it will indicate their interest level. Having them written out and visible is a great way to reinforce your message. Ask them if they have any questions and then ask for the business. Send the client an email immediately after the virtual meeting with an attachment of your presentation in PDF form – not Word – to ensure they can’t easily modify or reproduce it.
#10 – Smile, show your personality, be yourself, and PRACTICE!
Virtual selling is no different than being in person. While it may take you a while to build up confidence based on using a new form of client engagement, always remember that the client must buy you first before they consider your product or service. Have fun! This isn’t rocket science. You’re having a conversation with a buyer to see if their needs match the benefits of your products and services, no different than if you were there in person speaking to them.
Before you start selling virtually, do at least three practice runs with a colleague, fellow Salesperson, or your Sales Manager. Be prepared that your first practice session will be shaky. This is why it’s important not to skip this step. Your second session should be greatly improved with your third session miles better than the first.
Start with a basic level of virtual selling and then graduate to a more advanced one. You will learn a great deal from this experience and be able to drive sales without the advantage of in-person meetings. Should you have any questions, please leave them in the comments box below. I’d be happy to respond to them.
Group, Individual and Online Sales Training in Canada
If you’re a Professional Salesperson, Sales Manager or Business Owner who feels that virtual selling is an area where you’d like specific, exclusive one on one training, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re looking to increase your consultative selling skill set, consider our online course The Sales Skills Incubator for $199 CAD. We’re also in the final stages of producing our latest online sales training course, Negotiating 2 Party Payoffs. Every great Salesperson wants to learn the skills of being a great negotiator. If you wish to be notified when the course is available, subscribe to the PROSALESGUY BLOG. If you prefer reading, check out our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Amazon.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY