Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were forced to face the fact that how they do sales will never be the same. If you want to survive, and not just during the pandemic, you have to accept that selling virtually is the new – and most likely permanent – normal.
Some have taken to the virtual shift like fish to water. Unfortunately, most are struggling to keep up and are still waiting for things to return to the way they were.
Well, don’t expect it to happen.
Like it or not, sales have started going digital even before the pandemic. In 2019, e-commerce sales hit 14.1% of all retail purchases in the world. 49% of people already use their mobile phones for shopping, exclusively. Mobile is expected to outpace all online sales by 2021, driving a whopping 54% of all virtual sales.
This only means one thing— either start learning how to do virtual sales, or sink. It’s that simple.
People Are Going Online to Buy What They Need
Social distancing and stay-at-home measures mean that millions of people have discovered there’s no need to go out for what they need.
They can shop for everything from groceries to clothes and pet supplies online. Need to talk to your doctor? Schedule a telehealth consultation and get your prescription filled while you’re at it. Most forms of entertainment, from museum tours to concerts and games, are now available digitally.
People can get and pay for everything they need without ever stepping foot outside their homes. And that means you have to be where they are if you want to make a sale.
How to Win the Virtual Sales Game
If you’re used to selling in person, the prospect of going digital can be daunting. There will certainly be a learning curve, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Just like in-person sales, the key is to dive in, practice, and study tips and techniques to help you get better at it.
Here are a few steps to help you get started:
Pick Your Tools Carefully
WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Zoom? These are the top video conferencing applications today. If you’re talking to clients and selling online, you’ll most likely be using one, or several of these applications.
The prices are very similar, as are the features. They are easy to get used to and work on almost all types of equipment, but they do require certain specs to function well. Aside from conducting your sales meetings, they are also effective internal collaboration tools with your team.
Not familiar with how they work? Select one and focus on getting comfortable with it. No matter what you choose, they will arm your sales team with the virtual tools they need to close those sales.
Treat Virtual Sales Like In-Person Sales
If you’re used to in-person sales calls, you and your team are probably comfortable setting the stage for your audience already. But now you have to take that and deliver it online through a video. To succeed, follow a few simple rules:
- Make sure the room you’re in is presentable. Use a virtual background if you have to.
- Check your lighting. Ideally, it should be in front of you so that your face is illuminated. Buy a cheap ring light if you don’t have one already.
- Set a dress code. First impressions still matter online, perhaps more than ever. Make sure you and your team are well-groomed and wearing appropriate clothing.
- Do a technology check before the call. The last thing you want is your screen glitching or getting disconnected while you’re doing your presentation.
Don’t Forget That Sound Matters
Just as important as video, is sound. Your video may be clear as day, but if people can’t hear you, it’s still ineffective.
One way to check is to record yourself speaking, then play it back to help you spot issues. If you’ll be leading the sales meeting, get your whole team on a conference call. Then, go around to each member and ask them if they can hear you well. If you find that your sound is low-quality, try picking up a noise-canceling headset with a microphone.
Ensure That Your Internet Can Handle Calls
Your system needs to meet specific bandwidth requirements to handle conference calls properly. In general, you need a minimum of 600kbps for 1:1 video calling. Group video calls usually require a minimum of 1mbps.
Everyone who will be on the call – sales reps, sales leaders, sales engineers, etc. – should have these internet speeds at the very minimum.
The best way to ensure this is to give your entire sales team a stipend for the internet so they can upgrade accordingly.
Write Down Your Sales Process
By “writing down,” we literally mean set pen to paper. More than 84% of companies don’t have a solid sales process, let alone something that is documented.’
Once you get started with virtual sales, your sales process is your blueprint. It’s the map that will get you from the first contact with a prospect all the way to closing a new customer. Without that map or blueprint, you and your sales team are guaranteed to get lost during the call.
Sure, you might find your way sometimes. But it will take a lot longer, and you’re bound to make mistakes that can lead you to lose potential business.
To succeed in virtual selling, your entire team needs to know and have that map. They need to be aware of the expectations for every stage of the virtual sales process. Every single touchpoint must be mapped out. Document your sales process, send them out to the whole team, and never stop refining it.
Start Leaning Hard into Virtual Selling
Virtual selling is never going away, even after the pandemic is under control. Most companies have realized that online sales meetings can be much more efficient and productive than traveling all the way to a prospect. The more you practice selling virtually, the more confident and excited you’ll get about the future, instead of wishing for the good old days.