Why “Virtual Selling” Is So Important To Businesses Today
This past year, the business world’s way of doing things turned upside down when Covid-19 hit. The pandemic has changed so many parts of the business world, in particular, face-to-face selling, which has become less and less doable. Several social distancing restrictions have forced many buyers to order online, fast-tracking the implementation of virtual selling and making it a vital skill. So, what exactly is virtual selling? To put simply, it is the process of successfully getting a purchase without being there.
This past year, author Jeb Blount published a book called “Virtual Selling: A Quick-Start Guide to Leveraging Video, Technology, and Virtual Communication Channels to Engage Remote Buyers and Close Deals Fast”. It is a great read that explains what is needed to be successful when it comes to selling across virtual channels. He goes on to describe the best ways to use this skill in order to maximize commissions, customer services, and sales.
Key Points Discussed in Virtual Selling
Customer Interaction. An important aspect of business that has changed dramatically due to the coronavirus is a business’ interaction with their customers. The trust aspect of a customer meeting is no longer there, since the face-to-face interactions aren’t as prevalent. The good news is that most “prospects and customers quickly [have] adapted to virtual sales calls because there was either no other choice or because it was faster and more convenient” (16).
Virtual demos, engaging presentations, as well as video calls have now replaced the traditional face-to-face contact with customers. However, not only have the rules that used to apply to face-to-face sales also apply to remote sales, but also some of the tools you’ll engage with such as phone calls, emails, social media and video calls are already used in sales strategies.
Success is possible. As intimidating and challenging as it might sound, having success with the new virtual selling process is totally possible! For example, a truck-reselling firm makes more than 90% of its sales – $20,000 to $200,000 – completely virtually. It might be hard to believe that a commercial truck reselling firm is successful without doing test drives and by only sending their customers some photos. How exactly is this possible? Through virtual selling, customers save time and the trouble of conventional buying methods, while companies keep costs low which allows them to offer better deals while still making a good profit.
The 5 C’s of Virtual Selling
In a later chapter of the book, Blount goes on to describe one of the most important elements in the process of virtual and social selling: The 5 C’s.
1.) Conversion: Convert the activities within your social media channels into key business factors such as: “leads, appointments, qualifying information, sales intelligence, closed deals, and account expansion and renewal” (311). Blount goes over a few ways to do this including lead generation, trigger-event and buying-signal monitoring, research and information gathering, as well as outbound prospecting.
2.) Consistency: Post every day. No days off. It’s important to be consistent across all platforms and in all respects. In other words, it’s best to be “active” and online every day. “The more consistent your activity, the higher the probability that your posts get moved to the top of feeds, earning you more eyeballs” (314). If you are facing challenges with this, you also have the option to automate activities on social media.
3.) Connection: Maintain a strong connection online with your customers and audience by keeping engagement steady across platforms. If you do this successfully, the ability to gain “loyal” followers can increase. According to Blount, there are three ways to create connections.
Followers: Gaining followers is just as important as managing your followers.
Reciprocal: Follow for follow. When you follow someone, you can learn from their posts and see what they like. This can give you some more insight as to some new ideas you can post about.
Direct: On social media channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook, you can easily send a direct request to connect with someone. It’s important to engage with their posts by liking, commenting, etc. before sending a request to follow them.
4.) Content Curation: Find, create, and share a wide variety of relevant and engaging content for your customers to see, which can, in turn, help boost engagement on your social media channels as well as your company website. The right content can lead to connections that can ultimately lead to an increase in sales.
5.) Content Creation: Remember to generate your own original content. This might help in terms of standing out as a company. So, what exactly is the best content to post? Long-form posts, articles, videos, and pictures. Finally, it’s important to note that native content can stand out the most, “native” meaning the “post isn’t a link to an article, podcast, or video on another website” (319).
How The Change in Business Due to Covid-19 Has Affected Lavo
COVID-19 and related travel restrictions forced the Lavo Team to adapt to many forms of virtual selling. As an industry, cleaning and hygiene could largely continue face-to-face training, installation and interactions with our essential businesses and customers. However, many of our customer and facilities could not risk that exposure; especially healthcare facilities and nursing homes. We view virtual selling techniques as an effective augmentation to in-person business and have continued to adapt, like so many other business. The use of connected equipment to communicate within facilities is also an effective way to connect virtually with customers.