Virtual selling – in which sales teams discover, communicate with, and sell to customers and clients remotely – generates unique challenges to the art of the sale. However, if practiced well, selling virtually can offer businesses and buyers alike a more time-efficient sales experience – not to mention cutting down the costs of in-person sales operations.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 3 obstacles to virtual sales and spell out the virtual selling best practices that can help you leverage the virtual environment to your advantage and master the remote sale.
3 obstacles to remote selling (and how to overcome them)
As companies were tasked with shifting their operations during the pandemic, the need to carry out remote sales created new challenges. Let’s take a look at 3 challenges and how to overcome them.
Remote environments create an emotional barrier
The challenge: A virtual meeting environment can lack the warmth of an in-person meeting, and prospects may be less receptive to opening up. How can sales reps put prospects at ease and build rapport in a virtual setting?
The solution: Aim to create a warm virtual environment that mimics in-person communication as much as possible, while being aware of the differences. You might try to:
- Schedule video calls not phone calls: 55% of human communication is non-verbal. Video calls allow for body language and facial expressions.
- Build rapport in advance through social selling, digital content experiences, and other virtual mediums.
- Maintain eye contact during calls: eye contact increases perceptions of credibility and honesty, which serves to increase trust – a powerful sales tool.
- Listen actively: ask questions about a client’s pain points, and pay close attention to their answers.
Technical issues disrupt the sales process
The challenge: Remote sales rely not only on a steady internet connection but a decent level of technical competency and knowledge of the latest sales technologies. Can sales teams keep up?
The solution: Minimize technical interruptions by investing in technological solutions designed to facilitate the sales process. Then, take time to get to grips with your chosen tools and technology ahead of time. You might consider:
- Investing in sales enablement software
- Selecting a video conferencing platform that includes scheduling tools
- Making use of a virtual teleprompter app during video calls
- Checking all audio and video settings ahead of time
- Working from a location with a strong internet connection
- Running a test call to try out the features of your software
Difficulty maintaining prospect interest
The challenge: Distractions, phone tag, and the ready availability of the “cancel meeting” button can make maintaining interest a challenging aspect of the remote sale. How do sales reps keep prospects on the line – literally?
The solution: Encourage prospects to speak about their pain points through open-ended questions, and then use this information to maintain interest through the follow-up. Actively work to help your prospect consider their options, and they’re likely to value the conversation as much as what you’re selling. You might:
- Work to increase your market awareness and personalize your pitches to a client’s specific context
- Take note of any key problems or questions a client has – and refer back to these in future conversations
- Meet your prospect where they’re at in the buying cycle
- Be aware of your prospect’s availability and time preferences, and respect these when it comes to meeting times
Virtual selling best practices
Set your virtual sales team up for success with these tried and tested tips for selling online:
When it comes to the remote sale, preparation is every part as important as the sales call itself. Preparation falls into two main categories: research and logistics.
Within the research stage, you may want to consider:
- The prospective customer: this could involve anything from a quick review of a client’s LinkedIn page to a more comprehensive review of a company
- Customer needs & pain points: understanding the obstacles a prospective client faces will help set you up to sell the solution
- The product or service being sold: this might be an obvious one, but keeping key facts, figures, and case studies fresh in your mind is key to speaking convincingly during a sales call!
For each sales call you prepare for, be sure to personalize your preparation to the client, customer, or industry involved. If you’re struggling to keep track of your research, a virtual teleprompter can be an effective (and subtle) way to keep your sales notes on hand during a sales call – without breaking eye contact.
Next, within the logistics stage:
- Send a virtual invite including the platform, date, time, and any technical information the customer may need to join on the day
- Test your video and sound hardware in advance
- Choose your call location, taking noise level and privacy into consideration
- Consider aesthetics: your outfit, background (live or virtual), and lighting can all play a key role in crafting a professional virtual image
Finally, practicing your pitch in advance can be a great way to boost your confidence as you wrap up the preparation stage.
Learn how to connect in a virtual environment
The preparation steps outlined above will help set you up to connect during your virtual sales calls. Once on the call, there are a few more techniques you can use to connect with your potential client.
- Select a platform with multiple options for engagement (e.g., quick answer FAQs, a built-in emailing system, chat function, raise hand feature, etc.)
- Schedule time for questions and verbally invite your prospects to share their comments or concerns
- Work on your virtual body language (or take a course!)
- Offer to record the video or phone call for your prospect to refer back to.
Invest in the follow-up
A virtual sales call isn’t over the moment your call wraps up and you press the “leave” button. The follow-up is an essential step in maintaining interest, scheduling that next meeting, or – hopefully – finalizing the sale!
Once you’ve completed a sales call, aim to send a follow-up email within the first hour. Research shows that companies that do so are more than seven times more likely to qualify the lead than those who wait longer than an hour to follow up. And with more than 80% of sales deals taking five or more contacts to secure the sale, it’s well worth getting a head start!
A follow-up email can be as simple as a quick thank you and a reiteration of the key points covered during the meeting. If there were action items discussed, aim to restate these, as well as to immediately follow up on those you are responsible for – such as attaching a pitch deck or providing an answer to a specific question the prospect had.
Since multiple follow-ups are often called for, aim to add value with each email you send, and offer your lead a specific action they can take to follow up.
Master the remote sale with VODIUM
Confidence communicates competency and builds trust – both essential elements of the remote sale. Born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, VODIUM is committed to empowering remote and hybrid workers to communicate with confidence.
To find out more about how VODIUM’s virtual teleprompter app can help you master the remote sale, read more about virtual communication, or get started with your free trial of VODIUM, reach out to VODIUM today!