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5 Proven Tips That Can Increase Virtual Sales

Posted by Gaia Hawkes on Tue, Jun 21, 2022

Many people prefer purchasing things online nowadays. In fact, three-quarters of surveyed buyers prefer virtual sales over traditional sales.

If virtual selling is already part of your business strategy, you might want to ramp your efforts up. Here are 5 proven tips to help you increase virtual sales.

virtual sales

Image: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1612831455359-970e23a1e4e9 Credit: Unsplash

Many people prefer purchasing things online nowadays. In fact, three-quarters of surveyed buyers prefer virtual sales over traditional sales. For buyers, this means that they can have more frequent communication with the seller because they need not meet in person. It’s also cost-effective and convenient, removing the need to leave their house or travel to purchase products or services. Lastly, purchasing online allows buyers to interact with more sellers. Through a simple call, message, or email, they can even converse with multiple sellers at once to find the best product for them.

If virtual selling is already part of your business strategy, you might want to ramp your efforts up. Here are some proven tips to help you increase virtual sales:

Acquire virtual sales training
While the time, effort, and resources needed to train people can make it a little tedious, virtual sales training is critical in increasing sales. A thought leader in relational and collaborative sciences, Keith Ferrazzi, notes how today's new virtual dynamic is an opportunity to recalibrate teams to be more collaborative and effective. With the pandemic increasing the number of prospects willing to purchase things online, virtual sales training equips employees with the right skills, such as persuasion and proper online presentation, to carry out their job more efficiently.

Repeat important points
According to neuroscientist Carmen Simon, customers will remember very little about your conversation, especially in this digital, information-filled era. They can only retain information for a few seconds at a time before it is replaced or distracted with new thoughts. This is why it's important that you repeat important points once every minute — especially if your sale is happening via a call. If you're selling products via email, repeat words that will convince them to purchase your product, such as the benefits it can give them. More often than not, your customer will remember the points you’ve made, positively impacting their purchase decision.

Practice listening
While this seems trivial, listening to what a potential customer has to say mid-sale can go a long way in convincing a lead to feel their value to your company. In fact, sales strategist Michelle Seger believes listening to your clients' thoughts and opinions is crucial, despite the consequence of a delayed agreement. This allows salespeople to know how to provide better service, explore how leads want to buy from the company, and make better deals moving forward. Knowing when to switch from selling to listening is key in securing sales.

Keep your social media platforms active
Social media is a convenient way for sales teams to potentially "seal" deals with prospects before even meeting them. After all, consumers and potential clients will visit your social media profiles before making purchasing decisions. It’s the most accessible way for them to get to know about your company and product, so these platforms must be active. As such, consistently publish relevant social media content regarding your products and services so potential clients stay informed.

Encourage product reviews
Finally, don't forget to tell your customers to leave a review if they like the product they've purchased. Product reviews can influence a potential customer’s buying decision more compared to star ratings alone. Apparently, it’s the text that makes a difference; without it, potential customers are not swayed. Thus, encourage buyers to leave a product review with their thoughts and experience. If you're selling a service, receiving a testimonial from them via email or virtual call (and posting it on your website) works just as well.

Virtual sales are becoming the preferred method of the majority of buyers. Hopefully, these tips help you satisfy leads and increase your sales.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: increase sales, virtual selling, virtual sales process

Virtual Selling: What Can Go Wrong?

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Feb 23, 2022

If you consider all the things that you do as a salesperson throughout the day, you’ll notice you spend a lot of time virtually prospecting, qualifying, closing, and building relationships.

But there is so much more involved in making effective virtual sales calls and interactions with your prospects than just using Zoom.

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The short answer is this: Everything!

As I thought about this article, I thought about what was all included with virtual selling:

  • Marketing to new segments, verticals, individuals
  • Prospecting for additional business from current clients/portfolios/books of business
  • Following up on contacts initiated from social media or traditional networking
  • Conducting initial conversation live but not in person face-to-face
  • Qualifying discussions
  • Presentations and closing appointments
  • Use of video materials or other support content such as testimonials, case studies, and proof of concept reports.

But as I started my Google search for articles on the history of virtual selling, one of the hits was a link to a course offered by IMPACT – a virtual training company. Here is an excerpt from the page:

A couple of weeks ago, I set up an appointment with a rather large, well-known tax company. I went on their site ready to schedule my appointment and saw that I could either go in person, or I could do a virtual call. To start, they clearly laid out what I could expect and what I needed to do on the day of. When the meeting day rolled around, I checked my email to see if they sent a reminder of what I needed to do.

Nothing.

I then logged into the account I created where they said a button for a video call would show up.

Nothing. 

I then called them and asked what I should be doing to make sure the video call works out and then proceeded to tell me that the tax preparer will call me right before because "he’s the only one in the office who knows how it works.” 

Long story short, I received the call and then proceeded to spend almost 30 minutes trying to get it to work (which it never did). What seemed like a seamless alternative to save time on my part turned into quite a frustrating, time-consuming debacle. 

This is why there is so much more to making virtual selling and interactions with your prospects than just using Zoom for your calls. 

So, what can go wrong? Everything. And that, understandably, is why you might hesitate or be resistant to move towards more virtual selling. 

There was probably a time when many of the things you do now were new to you, your industry, or your career. Believe it or not, there was a time when:

  • We didn’t use computers as a sales enablement tool
  • We certainly didn’t Google anything, use Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Emails were considered for internal use only and never, NEVER, would we communicate with a prospect or client via email
  • Using a tablet or mobile device was Sci-Fi
  • PowerPoint presentations were for those salespeople that couldn’t command the room or didn’t know their solutions well enough

My point here is that there was a time when you resisted, pushed back, or were hesitant to do something that you thought would take away from your traditional approach or thoughts about selling:

  • People do business with people they like
  • It’s important to have a firm handshake and look your prospect squarely in the eye
  • Selling is a face-to-face business
  • If I don’t’ get out and see my prospects, my competition will

But if you take a minute and consider all the things that you do, you’ll notice you spend a lot of time virtually prospecting, qualifying, closing, and relationship building.

Virtual communication can be defined as any communication that takes place without you physically being present with the person you are communicating with. If you don’t think you sell virtually today, or you don’t think you live in a virtual sales world, then take a look at your inbox and sent folder and your cell phone call log every day.

So, here is where I’ve landed:

  • Embrace the fact that you already have a sales practice that is highly virtual
  • Take time to understand how to become more effective in your current virtual communication methods  
    • Your body language, facial expressions, eye movement, and tone of voice all gets lost when you send an email
    • Much of the same is lost even on a phone call
    • Emails have to capture the reader’s attention just like a handshake, and eye contact does
    • When making phone calls, you have 5 seconds to capture the prospect's attention
  • Expand your current virtual communication to include video: Tips for better, more effective video meetings;
    • Duplicate the in-person experience as best you can
    • Let an expert run the backroom – set-up and running the meeting – so that you can focus on what you do best
    • Professional look and feel. You don’t have to be studio quality for most meetings but if you are presenting the deal that makes or breaks your year, and virtual is your best option, then put your best foot forward
    • Practice, practice, practice
    • Make sure your participants are prepared well in advance. Also, log-in for the meeting– especially first-time events – should be 10 to 15 minutes before starting the meeting
    • Have backup information clearly communicated. For example, if you run into problems, you will switch to a conference call

In closing, think about how much more you can get done, and how much more effective you can be if you didn’t have to get into a car for an hour each way for a meeting. Think about the flexibility it gives your client if there are people that can't make it into the office for the meeting but can now join virtually. Think about your ability to include more of the right people in meetings so that your sales process doesn’t get bogged down. Think about all the things you already do that are virtual and how you can improve your skills in those areas.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: virtual selling, virtual sales calls, virtual sales process

How to Create & Build Relationships Virtually

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Sep 23, 2020

Virtual relationships aren’t new and neither are virtual business relationships. What is new are the expectations and the tools. Instead of in-person meetings, we are now expected to meet via Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook Live. Technology is consistently providing us with more and better ways to connect. We must now:

  1. Become comfortable with virtual-relationship platforms (social networking),
  2. Transition from traditional to virtual relationship-building habits and platforms,
  3. Learn and master the art and science of virtual relationship prospecting, creation and development.
  4. Have a good grasp of our current strengths and weaknesses in relationship-building so we can better understand what we need to improve upon in virtual relationship-building.
  5. Understand that the advent of pandemic(s) may greatly alter the willingness of prospects to meet person-to-person, thus changing the landscape of prospecting and selling forever.

“The web has one big drawback: It’s harder to connect on a human level with people when they exist in two dimensions on your computer screen or mobile device. You need to work extra hard to make sure you’re interacting in a way that allows you to build genuine, meaningful relationships.”

“People want to work with colleagues they know, like and trust. When building professional relationships with people online, consider the intersection of these three qualities: transparency, likability and credibility. Transparency lets people get to know you, while likability reflects their interest in you and credibility builds trust.” William Arruda Senior Contributor Forbes 

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This shift in the way we conduct business may have changed permanently and we must change with it. We need to understand and adapt to this cataclysmic shift so that we may be successful in this volatile new environment.

Here are the key concepts, practices and skills that should be considered and employed as you move forward growing your sales.

Key Concepts

  1. Prepare yourself for the following:
    1. It will be easier for people to ignore you. It will take longer to connect.
    2. “Don’t look, act or sound like every other salesperson.”
    3. Develop a tenacious Will to Sell (watch video or click link) to be successful.
    4. Overcome any negative beliefs you have about virtual relationships: e.g. “I can’t sell virtually”.
    5. Whatever challenges you have in the normal course of selling, be prepared for those challenges to be magnified.
  1. Best Practices – you must have a set of best practices.
    1. Have a checklist for each meeting:
    2. Do a rehearsal prior to the meeting. Have any presentation pre-loaded and ready to show.
    3. Check that lighting, audio and video are all in good working condition.
    4. In advance, share your agenda.
    5. Be yourself- be vulnerable, transparent. Don’t dominate the conversation to fill space. Ask questions. Listen intently.
    6. Use virtual backgrounds if your room is a garage.
    7. Dress appropriately for the meeting.
    8. Be memorable and unusual in a good way
    9. Know what your competition is doing virtually. While you don’t necessarily have to compete, you should understand how your virtual room will be evaluated.
    10. Finish each meeting with a clear next step.
  1. Common issues:
    1. Camera Angle and Distance- Spend time to view how others will see you. Eliminate distractions and “nose shots”.
    2. Fumbling to find and load a source or presentation.
    3. Finding a good tempo; one that will hold audience attention.
  1. Any weakness you have in personal meetings will be magnified on camera. Your desire, commitment and outlook must be strong. Your SALES DNA must support building and selling relationships in a virtual model. (Score your Sales DNA)
  2. Hone your sales process and approach. Because so much at the beginning of the sales cycle/buying cycle lays the groundwork for the proceeding steps, gaining trust and confidence while operating virtually might take longer. For example- You might have to do a better job with Proof of Concept. Or Qualifying might require different questions. Remember to Qualify for Budget and Decision-Making.

Our Sales Growth Coach can help you leverage virtual tools!

Topics: closing more sales, sales priorities, sales productivity, sales advice, sales effectiveness training, virtual selling

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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