Best Practices for Virtual Selling


COVID-19 accelerated the digital revolution. In a matter of months, almost every aspect of our professional lives found a digital home, affecting how we do business and generate leads. If you want to make sales for your product or service during the pandemic, you need to meet your target market where they are: online.

Since the arrival of COVID-19, nearly 90% of B2B sales have shifted to a virtual platform, according to a McKinsey & Company global survey. Interestingly, more than half of the people who adopted a virtual sales strategy found it even more effective than traditional in-person tactics.

Revising your sales strategies for success in a digital environment is essential. Here’s how to make the most of your virtual selling.

Plan Interactive Presentations

It’s harder to make personal connections in a virtual environment. You need to provide opportunities for your listeners to connect with your story. “Make sure that you’re authentic in telling your story,” says Barret Blondeau, founder and CEO of Baton Rouge-based Unlock’d, a virtual home-selling platform that eliminates the need for a realtor. Blondeau launched Unlock’d at the beginning of Louisiana’s shutdown, forcing him to pivot to a digital sales strategy.

When pitching a potential client, reel them in by solving their most significant pain point first. Blondeau leads with Unlock’d’s ability to eliminate expensive real estate commissions, which is extremely attractive to building developers and home flippers. Once they’re hooked, maintaining interest is critical. On a video call, you can’t tell when someone’s attention has wandered. They could be looking at other browser windows or distracted by their surroundings.

“Be conversational,” Blondeau says. “Try to get a back and forth.” If your prospects are responsive, you know they’re listening. Encouraging participation also allows you to find out more about what they need so you can propose nuanced solutions to their specific problems.

Take Advantage of Decreased Travel

Since the bulk of trade shows and other in-person lead generation events are canceled, you’ll need to revamp your sales strategy to reach virtual leads, Blondeau says. Decreased travel allows more time and money to support your pivot.

“In a face-to-face selling environment, you schedule weeks ahead of time,” says Stephen Diorio, executive director at the Revenue Enablement Institute. Selling through a virtual platform shrinks the sales cycle, he says. You can schedule more calls with less buffer time in-between, and you don’t have to worry about time wasted in airport terminals or hotel lobbies anymore. “There is a pace and sequencing to sales that changes dramatically,” Diorio says. “Use cadence to your advantage.”

Less travel saves money, too. Consider investing additional funds in content initiatives that demonstrate the value you’re bringing to market, Diorio recommends. Such initiatives could include original thought leadership articles that inform your industry peers, video content that builds your brand or virtual reality presentations that make your customers feel like they’re in the room with you.

Leverage Recordings to Improve

Selling in a virtual environment requires new tactics and ways to read nonverbal cues. Don’t assume that just because you were great with in-person sales, Diorio says, that you’ll automatically be at the top of your game in a virtual setting.

Virtual sales offer an advantage that traditional in-person sales don’t – you can record nearly every sales presentation and interaction. “You can get a very fine-grained picture of what’s going on,” Diorio says.

Save recordings of your team’s sales calls and evaluate your tactics to see what works in a digital environment and what falls flat. Consistent practice at virtual selling will help you engage with prospects and grow your business during economically challenging times.

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