Selling virtually: how to adapt and thrive
Updated: Sep 30
Right now we are hearing messages like: ‘no one is buying anything’, ‘all budgets have been cut’, ‘no-one wants to speak right now’.
We have to ask ourselves: is this completely true? Our tendency to apply the reality of a few businesses to the majority is called the generalisation instinct and we need to challenge this.
The reality is, many companies still want to promote themselves and grow, their employees still require development and individuals still have goals they want to achieve. To support this, the show (and the sales) must go on.
So we’re adapting, and quickly. In the same way we’ve taken our jobs online, we have to take our sales process and engage in ‘virtual selling’ might feel like a new way of selling but in fact, it isn't really that different from face to face and can be just as effective. Learning how to do it well is essential to help us succeed in this new landscape.
Here are five areas to consider to help you improve your virtual selling:
1. Get comfortable with video calls
Selling well is fundamentally based on relationship building and a simple way to do this at the moment is to turn your video on during calls.
These video calls give us the opportunity to build rapport, in a way we can’t over a phone call as we can read body language. They even offer some additional benefits.
They save time and money, are better for the environment, have overall better attendance rates and mean you can have your notes open in front of you and see a person's facial expressions in more detail.
So, turn that video on.
When you do, think about your background, this is more important than you might initially think. As we video call from our homes we are sharing parts of our personal life, this is great for sales calls as it is a talking point. A plain white wall behind you gives you nothing to chat about.
Also, ensure the lighting and position of your camera is right. The camera should be straight ahead or slightly above you and the lighting (window or artificial) is coming from in front rather than behind or the side, as this can throw odd shadows on your face!
Following this helps you appear more professional, confident and experienced.
2. Keep in touch with your clients
Now is more important than ever to offer reassurance to your clients, and remind them you are there. Maybe they are having a turbulent time, things might have changed in their sector or business. You want to be their trusted advisor who they turn to for advice and support. Have a go-giver attitude, offer support and help if you can.
Use google alerts to track news updates on your clients. Then use this insight to share relevant and interesting articles to keep front of mind, show you care and keep in touch.
3. Listen, and really listen
People buy from people they like. Be genuinely interested in your prospect and client’s life, remember what they share with you and ask about it on the next call.
One of our biggest communication problems in sales is that we “listen to reply rather than to understand”. When you listen to reply you are just talking, and when you talk you are stating what you know. When you listen with the intent to understand you truly learn about your prospects/clients motivations and needs and this is what will help you to tailor a solution that will truly help and add value.
4. Be more active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn use has gone up by 55% since we started working remotely. Get involved. LinkedIn is a brilliant platform for sharing insight, connecting with new people, finding new leads and learning new things.
A few tips to get more from LinkedIn:
Post regularly, aim for twice a week
Post at the most effective times
Interact with the posts of those you follow
Add a personal voice to your posts
Upload a photo or image with your post
If you re-share something add a comment
Connect with new people and everyone you know
5. Engage in virtual networking
In the same way we can transition to selling virtually, we can also network virtually. There are many online events to join that could help you build your network. When joining events and webinars treat these as if you were at the event. Be present, involved and follow up with individuals afterwards.
For more, read our blog on how to continue networking virtually.
To virtually sell well, we must all be more human: show your face on video, keep in touch, listen and be genuinely interested. If you do all this virtual selling can be just as effective, if not more effective than face to face selling.
Virtual selling is a new skill, and like every new skill you need to practice to improve. Record your next video call and watch yourself back, ask yourself how do I come across on video? Did I listen enough?
Get in touch for any advice or insight on virtual selling techniques from the Higson team.