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Virtual Selling: 6 Steps for Selling When You Can’t Be There

As you already know, this is an unprecedented, challenging time for businesses of all types and sizes. Sales teams have had to quickly shift to selling remotely and backing away from relying on face-to-face interactions. Reps can no longer shake hands with new clients as they close the deal. Of course, this shift has been easier on industries that have been more prepared to sell digitally, compared to those who aren’t. Still, across the board, it feels like the “human” element of a sales job is gone. Many teams are left anxious about what steps to make to keep sales up for the foreseeable future and are now looking into “virtual selling.”

We understand that everything is uncertain right now, but the best thing you can do is focus on this opportunity to be “cutting edge” and sell virtually. Offer buyers what they are looking for – an easy purchase. Actually, shifting to a virtual sales model can shorten your sales cycle and help you build a reliable revenue engine for your business moving forward. 

We’re here to help you make the transition! Here are some helpful tips for getting started in your shift to a virtual selling system.

What is “Virtual Selling”?

Interestingly, many sales leaders are saying that even though sales has historically been an in-person or over-the-phone activity, the Coronavirus is changing that. Buyers now want immediate access to virtual information and to easily buy online. So whether we like it or not, now is the best time to transition your sales strategy to a “virtual selling” model.

What is “virtual selling,” anyways? According to Sean Campbell (CEO of Cascade Insights), virtual selling is “how to get a PO (purchase order) without being there.” Despite what some may think, it’s not taking the easy way out! You can spend months setting up in-person meetings,  creating new sales decks for each prospective customer, and going over contracts. Virtual selling is the alternative. It helps sales reps get 95% of their selling done by using a web-based, streamlined selling system, and get the deal closed more quickly and conveniently. 

It’s a crucial tool for sales teams during this time – but it also is revolutionizing the sales world by shortening sales cycles and helping reps get more done more quickly. As a result, industry leaders predict that virtual selling will remain an industry trend after Coronavirus.

6 Steps to Sell Virtually

1. Revamp your “30-second sales pitch”

First thing’s first. Use this strange time to sharpen your toolbox. Buyers’ attention spans are already short and now more than ever they want immediate gratification. Even if you think buyers have stopped buying – think again! They’re still buying, but now they’re doing it online and they expect an even quicker purchase. 

This phenomenon will only be amplified by the new virtual shift. It’s never been more important to make sure you are “value selling,” or in other words, selling your prospective buyers a solution. This is going to ultimately help you weed out shoppers and free up your time to speak to lower funnel prospects

Ask yourself a few basic questions before connecting with new prospective buyers:

  • Why are my target customers interested in my products/services? (hint: it’s not because of price…  Read about why people buy things).
  • How can my product/service help customers during this time?
  • What value does my product/service offer?

Be ready to present this to every prospective buyer you speak to and sell them on your unique solution. If you haven’t thought about your “30-second pitch” in a while, now is the time to revamp it in light of the current health/economic crisis.

2. Perfect your email templates

Guess what the shift to virtual selling did not eliminate from your sales toolbox? Email. You still have email working in your favor, and now is the time to leverage it.

It’s not enough to prepare for a great phone call with your prospects. You need a stellar email strategy to follow-up and ultimately close the deal. In fact, we find that this is where a lot of great sales teams go wrong. They have efficient phone calls, but their email strategy is inconsistent or infrequent.

Make sure you create follow-up email templates that you can pull out and use during each phase of the buying experience. For instance, create a message to use after an initial phone call as well as follow-up calls.

By the way, haven’t edited your email templates in a while? We get it. We’re busy too. But now is the time to adjust your messaging to hit on those buyer pain points involving their new economic challenges. You may be surprised at what a simple adjustment of language can do for your sales funnel.

3. Create virtual demos

Unfortunately, sales reps can no longer rely on face-to-face meetings to show off their products or services. However, remember that many of your prospective customers will be visual learners. They will likely want to visualize your product or service before they’re ready to buy. That’s why we recommend creating videos that demonstrate the value of your product or service, which can take the place of in-person appointments.

For instance, create a Youtube channel for your business and give a demo or tour of your product. Take a look at ModSpace using a video to show off their mobile and ground-level offices. Focus on your benefits and solutions for prospects. The goal is to get 90% of the selling accomplished by adding value in your video. Then, tie up any loose ends during a virtual appointment. 

Note: if you do not have the means to create videos, you can always take high-quality photos to post to your website or to attach to your emails instead.

4. Follow up by setting up a virtual appointment

Luckily, there’s tons of virtual tools sales teams can use to “meet” with prospects. Plus, utilizing video meetings can be even more efficient than having a phone call. Setting up virtual appointments is actually quite simple, and prospects are actually expecting it right now, given the circumstances.

First, use an online scheduling tool such as Calendly.com. Implement this into your email strategy, so prospects can easily click the link and book an appointment with you. (Remember, they want instantaneous buying solutions.)

Then, set up a company Zoom account. We recommend Zoom because it actually integrates with SalesForce and other CRM software so you can stay up to date with your CRM management! Zoom starts at just $14.99 per month, but there are also other alternatives that work well too. For instance, Whereby.com starts at $9.99 per month and requires no logins or existing accounts for guests.

5. Set up easy web-based purchasing

Your next job is to make sure interested prospects can easily buy after speaking with you via virtual appointment.

The best way to do this is optimize your website for online purchases. You want your website to act as a “virtual storefront,” especially if you usually rely on your physical store to do most of the selling. Take a look at these tips for optimizing your virtual storefront.

If you have a contract-based business model, use electronic document signing services to close your deals. There are many affordable, reliable E-sign services today. Try Docusign or Pandadoc. When you’re close to closing the deal, send your prospect your electronic contract. They’ll likely thank you for being responsible and respecting their distance and health.

6. When in doubt, up-sell

Frustrated with prospects who are unresponsive or not looking to buy right now? Time to tap into your customer archives!

Look for opportunities through customers who have bought from you recently (since March). Check in with them and present new opportunities. If they had a need to buy from you once since the pandemic, it’s not far-fetched that they may need to buy again.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But how much does it cost to up-sell to an existing customer? $0. Use the resources and sales system you already have and maximize your revenue where you can.

We know that this adjustment can be stressful. But be reassured that many companies following these steps and executing them well are seeing newfound success. In fact, companies optimizing their virtual selling system are shortening their sales cycles. Think about it – you no longer need to meet with customers, travel, or spend time worrying about other face-to-face interactions that can eat up tons of hours in your workday.

To learn more, give this informative webinar a listen to get even more tips on virtual selling. Or get in touch with us – we love talking about this stuff! 360Connect is helping tons of companies adjust to their new selling environment right now through our digital marketplace model. Let’s set up a time to talk.

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