How to overcome the challenges of virtual selling
You might as well face it: the virtual world is here to stay. Even though in-person activities and options have opened up, the virtual communication tools that we had to adopt quickly at the onset of the pandemic are now readily available to us… forever.
We find that many businesses prefer to have more than one way of communicating and frequently let their customers decide how they want to interact. The good news is that flexibility (rather than ‘one size fits all’) can open new doors, save time, and even streamline previously awkward processes. Think about all the travel time to and from meetings that has now been freed up, for example.
However, the actual selling process (unless you are an online retailer) can be difficult in a virtual situation because, for some businesses, successful selling has as much to do with the intangible chemistry as it does with the product or the product. service you are. sale.
Additionally, today’s buyers tend to be more easily distracted and more likely to multitask in a virtual environment. It is more difficult for the seller to assess the degree of undivided attention from the potential buyer.
Before 2020, you might have found yourself in a conference room with 5-6 decision makers you would pitch your sales pitch to. With everyone in the same room (possibly including an “internal champion”), you can easily switch to the whiteboard to help the prospect better visualize how your product works. An in-person environment also allows you to “read the room temperature” and adjust your height accordingly.
In virtual meetings, you’re limited to a very small box, and in many cases your audience members have watched that same small box for much of their day. Zoom fatigue is real.
The key to positive engagement is to plan ahead and arm yourself with the necessary tools to make the virtual meeting collaborative, interactive and even fun! For example:
- Always turn on video.
- Share something interesting / informative on screen. Slides, stats, and videos can help increase your talking points.
- Use virtual whiteboards to collaborate, present ideas, and take notes.
- Use “sticky notes” to capture points you want to come back to or emphasize.
- Practice ahead of time to make sure your tech upgrades are working!
Also, remember that people pay attention to: (1) things that interest them, and (2) things that are visually stimulating. Here are some tips in this direction:
- Incorporate movement into yourself and your content.
- Watch your facial expressions – don’t forget to make eye contact and smile!
- Use body language and hand gestures to emphasize important points.
- Be aware of the timing to keep people engaged.
- Use more visuals and less text.
If you are essentially a “person in person” you may feel like your main selling advantage has been taken away, but hopefully you can find your own ways to instill your personality in virtual meetings.
Cathy Ackermann, Founder and President of Ackermann Marketing and PR, can be contacted at [email protected]