Five years ago, if you said most people would be able to work from home, you might have been called crazy. It did not matter if you had the sniffles or did not have a meeting that day, everyone would wake up early, grab their coffee, and commute into the office. However, as things have drastically changed in everyone’s life over the past two years, working from home is feasible for most people, if not the new normal for them.
While being able to wear sweatpants on a business call is a big perk of working from home, there are also many things to keep in mind. Amidst all the recent changes, it is important to make sure you are still working effectively. Selling in person is not always an option anymore, so check out our tips for virtual selling.
What is Virtual Selling?
Virtual selling is straightforward and is what it sounds like, selling in a virtual environment. Today, we know this as using different tools such as Zoom or GoToMeeting to connect with prospects and customers. Rather than traveling to a prospect’s office or meeting them for lunch, the past two years have shown all you need to connect is a webcam and a laptop.
Now, you can meet “face to face” from halfway around the world and get the same real-time reactions as you would in a big board room. Yes, being in a box on the screen is not ideal, but the switch to virtual selling has opened a lot of opportunities for those who use it well.
Why is Virtual Selling Important?
As alluded to above, effective virtual selling is now a necessity. Millions of people are now expecting the accessibility of not needing to travel into the office to attend a meeting. Now, you can connect with anyone worldwide from the comfort of your own home, which opens millions of opportunities.
Sellers are no longer limited to who they could set up meetings with or forced to miss a day of work to travel. Now, you can pitch a prospect from New York in the morning, follow-up with a pipeline opportunity in California after lunch, and seal a deal with someone from Texas before your day is done. Virtual selling is a big silver lining to come from the past two years and sellers must take advantage of the possibilities it provides.
Virtual Selling Tools
Before you hop on a call with someone five states away, you must make sure you have the right technology to get the job done. There are plenty of tools that are useful for virtual selling, but here are our picks for the best. Vidyard helps you share content with your prospect and customers. Zoom is a great video conferencing tool that everyone, for better or for worse, is very used to by now. Finally, Salesvue is a sales engagement platform which is great for coordinating activity and staying efficient in a virtual setting.
How to Sell in a Virtual Environment
Now that you know the importance of virtual selling and the best tools to use, it is important to understand how this all works together. It is one thing to know you must be able to sell virtually, it is another to know how to actually do it. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when meeting virtually:
- Audio - Audio is a crucial part of virtual selling. It is important to remember to make sure everyone in the meeting can hear you loud and clear. Unlike a meeting in the office, you may run into some issues getting everyone to hear what you are saying. By either using your phone to dial into the call, or using headphones when using the computer audio, this will help everyone hear you crystal clear. Also, try muting if you are not speaking, as this will help eliminate the possibility for distracting background noise.
- Lighting - Good lighting makes a big difference in how your meeting will go. It seems silly, but make sure everyone can see you! Placing yourself in front of a simple, clean, distraction-free background where there is enough lighting to show your face is key. The whole point of a video call instead of a phone call is to see other people, so make sure everyone can see your smiling face.
- Materials - By making all your presentation materials available before the call, you will not get caught in the awkward silence of looking for what you are showing next. Clicking through endless tabs and browsers seems like an eternity, even if it is just a few seconds, and can throw off your mojo. Make sure you have everyone you could need at the start, just like you would for an in-person meeting.
- Expect the Unusual - Like in-person meetings, things can go wrong in a virtual meeting as well. We have all been in the position where everything is going great and suddenly something happens that has you looking at your coworkers trying to figure out what happened. Virtual meetings are no exception. Maybe your kids burst through the door, or your dog wants everyone else on the call to know the mailman is outside. Whatever the case, do not panic. Everyone is used to working from home and you are not the first person for this to happen to. Take a breath, shake it off, and remember you are always the person most worried about it.
How to Prospect in a Virtual Environment
Even before the big move to virtual selling, emails were annoying. Sure, occasionally you would get 20% off your favorite store, but that may have been only one in every 20 emails. Now, it feels like those come one in every 100. Everyone is emailing now more than ever, which is why it is vital to stand out amongst the crowd.
While there are different ways to help stand out, two keys are personalization and videos. Your emails should be personalized, or at least relevant enough, to where they do not read like spam and all your prospects feel a connection with them.
One way to help achieve this is to add a video in your email that is relevant to a pain point that your target has as you relate it to your product or service. Including a video in your emails will not only help cut down on the text within the email, but it can also start building a relationship with the prospect by showing your face and hearing your voice.
How to Manage a Remote Selling Team
So, we have covered the tools needed to conduct virtual selling, and some tips to remember once you get into the meeting. But what if you are the team lead in change or making sure these meetings run smoothly? Do not worry, we have some tips for you too:
- Be Prepared for Tech Issues - Technology is great…until you need it most. We have all had technology issues arise in some important meetings, so it is important you and your team are ready to handle them. By making sure everyone is on the same page beforehand on what to do if something goes wrong and having a backup plan in place, you can save everyone from an embarrassing situation.
- Listening is Important - Listening has always been and will always be important during a sales meeting. However, this is taken to another level online. With everyone not wanting to speak over one another, you may run into the dreaded awkward silence. However, by making sure your team knows who is saying what and listening to others on the call, you can help avoid this.
- Dress the Part - Another way to get all your sellers on the same page is to make sure everyone is dressing the part. Yes, wearing PJs at work has been a good twist to the last few years, but the last thing you want to happen is for a seller to show up to an important meeting wearing their favorite high school reunion t-shirt. While the dress code may be different for your company now, do not let your team lose sight of being professional when you have a big call that day. Dressing for success helps put everyone in the right mindset to have a great meeting and close the deal!
- Set Expectations Upfront - One thing lost amidst the move to virtual selling was the in-person check ins. Now, it is up to sellers to hit their quotas and log the necessary activity. It is much easier to ignore a Slack message than someone walking up to your desk, so by making sure everyone understands the expectations upfront, you can help eliminate potential issues with your team in the future.
- Utilize a Sales Engagement Platform - One way to help keep everyone on track is by implementing a sales engagement platform. These platforms help your sellers automate their day-to-day tasks, connect sellers with prospects and customers in a timely manner, and highlight KPIs essential to the success of your team. Using one of these tools helps everyone on the team sell in a virtual environment.
Steps Moving Forward
Now that you are an expert on virtual selling, it is time to bring this to your company! Do not let these tips and tricks slide out of mind and make sure to implement the right tools to help your team succeed.
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