When it comes to the sales industry, the idea of virtual selling has been around for a while. Now, it’s becoming even more popular ever since global lockdowns prevented people from leaving their homes, going into the office, and meeting with prospects and customers. The pandemic may have stopped people from their once-normal work routines and in return forced more and more aspects of everyday life have moved online.
This shift of consumers toward a more remote way of life has also pushed many businesses to pivot and follow their prospects and customers to the internet by becoming a virtual seller. Even now that travel and office restrictions are easing, many people have kept their preference for operating online over in-person options.
Unless you’re a global franchise like Walmart or Mcdonald’s, you won’t be able to survive long without an online presence. Even giant chains with fantastic name recognition have still adapted to the virtual environment because they realize this is how to sell in the new normal.
You, too, should adapt to a virtual selling market by getting the right tools, supplies, and training to equip your business with virtual selling for sales professionals. Over 65% of buyers in North America work remotely most of the time, so why would they want to leave the safety and comfort of their own home just to hear a sales pitch? Help your sales reps succeed by encouraging them to join the 81% of sales reps that use video conferencing instead of in-person meet-ups.
Virtual Selling Challenges
Virtual selling has become increasingly popular because it’s quick, convenient, and safe. Still, sales reps, leaders, and organizations experience virtual selling challenges. Before you begin moving your sales operations online, make sure you plan for these common challenges:
Maintaining your buyers’ attention
The internet is a busy place, with many things distracting potential buyers. They might find someone offering the same products as you and give them attention instead. Getting and keeping a buyer’s attention is easier at a physical store, where you can meet them in person, without advertisements from competitors, and they can’t click away. When working with a potential customer online, it’s a bit different.
Establishing trust and building rapport
When dealing with a prospect or customer face-to-face, a good sales rep can quickly gauge their mood, attitude, and feelings regarding the pitch. Sales reps use this information to build a trusting relationship with the buyer. From there, they can steer the conversation in a direction likelier to close the sale.
Working with customers online makes it harder for the buyer and the seller to gauge each other’s tone. Lacking face-to-face interaction makes customers wary of whoever they’re talking to, especially in a sales setting.
Working with prospects and customers online limits their ability to view, analyze, and form opinions on a product or service. They can only see what the seller shows them, making them more skeptical of the pitched product. The most important part of a sale is convincing the other person that your item is their best option to solve a problem. Without examining the product first-hand, they may have a harder time discerning its true value. It’s on the sales reps to showcase products and convince the audience of their value.
It can be especially difficult to maintain clarity if the seller and buyer are communicating via text chats or email. Messages lack the nuance of inflection and tone of a real conversation, often leading people to the wrong conclusions and causing communication issues. In addition, people have an easier time offering and retaining accurate information when speaking to someone in person.