During the past couple of weeks, I have been conducting an increasing number of virtual Strategic Business Selling virtual learning journeys to client organizations aggressively transforming themselves from in-person selling organizations to virtual selling organizations.
Most of the large F500-type companies I work with have had a tough time of it but are feeling positive that things are getting better. Interestingly enough, most of these organization also understand that this current state of selling isn’t a temporary thing and that there will be no “going back” to the way it once was in selling. And for many, that’s ok, because the way it once was really wasn’t that great or productive.
As sales professionals continue to adapt and show great resilience in the sales process, I wanted to share some of the high-level concepts and tools that we have been training the best sales professionals on which when used effectively can increase the pipeline in a virtual selling world.
Valuable Business Need + Valuable Business Solution = Valuable Business Opportunity
Cold calling is dead. Cold emailing is dead. Referrals are on life support. It is almost impossible to build a pipeline without two fundamental elements: a customer with a valuable business need and a sales professional with a valuable business solution (and the ability to know what to do with it). Value is the key word here as the customer must have a recognized business challenge or opportunity such as decreasing profit and the sales person must have a unique business solution that can help solve the challenges such as a new and improved way of increasing revenues and profit. As important as the solution is, the ability for the sales professional to position the value from a business perspective and not just a sales perspective is even more important. Many companies are realizing this and investing in the skills needed to be more effective.
Intimate Needs Gathering
Social selling allows for a customer intimacy that is not achievable in an in-person situation. One of the sales professionals I am working with shared a story of how she asked a prospective customer if she could see his P&L statement to understand why his profits were down. And something happened that never happened to her before; the customer said, “Sure, let me share my screen. Just promise you won’t screen capture this.” Such as situation would not happen in an office or in-person environment due to the physical proximity and crossing a boundary that most people won’t cross in person. But in a nice Zoom or Teams meeting, it’s impossible to cross that boundary because there is a computer screen that serves as a natural boarder.
Controlling the Virtual Presentation
During a traditional in-person sales presentation, many things can go wrong and many things are not controllable. However, in a virtual sales presentation a great sales professional can and should control everything. The best virtual sales professionals aggressively prepare and control the meeting platform, the volume, the materials, the invitations, the demonstrations, and the follow-up. Prospects love to take the power during a sales meeting because it gives them the ability to dictate terms. In the virtual sales environment is it completely possible to take the power and control the flow of the sales meeting even when the prospect is sitting in his home office in his pajamas.
In summary, the new world may be an easier world to sell in. It will be a lot clearer earlier in the process of who is a great prospect and who is not. Virtual selling will continue to transform the sales approach toward a more business-based approach and the best sales professionals will have enhanced selling and business acumen skills to help their customers to achieve success.