There’s a reason why you should start selling virtually.
Especially if your business has historically sold in-person.
For many, the pandemic has forever changed how we sell.
The days of having feet on the street and just “dropping by” to say hello to customers are gone.
Fortunately it’s not all doom and gloom.
We will return to some degree of face-to-face interaction.
But if you haven’t explored selling on-line, it’s time to think about how you can start to sell virtually.
Why You Should Introduce Virtual Selling
Consider all of the industries that were once thought to require some face-time to sell.
Buying a car can all be done virtually.
I used to sell cars in my early twenties, and the idea of selling a car without ever meeting with a customer back then was unheard of.
Even though it is considered a relationship business, today buying a car can (and is) being done completely virtually.
Insurance is another example.
Recently my annual benefits insurance renewed.
It’s the best plan I’ve ever had, yet I’ve only ever communicated via email with my broker.
For nearly every business there is an opportunity to introduce selling virtually into their business.
Better yet, this can be done while minimizing any pricing objections.
Not Everything Has to Be Sold Online (The Guru’s Are Wrong)
Despite what you may have read, you don’t have to move every part of your business online.
This is where many of my clients get stuck.
It’s about identifying what existing or new product or service can be sold online, rather then shifting your entire business online.
If you listened to so-called guru’s, they would lead you to believe that the only way to prospect and sell is online.
Just create great content on social media, add a landing page with explainer video, and watch the sales roll in.
This may work in some sectors, like software or some other doodad that is a commodity.
But when it comes to selling to traditional products (like manufactured items or insurance), you can move to virtual selling without changing your entire business model.
It’s about mixing what’s working, with what’s new.
Kind of like changing your approach to cold calling.
Converging Old Selling Strategies with New Ones
It’s about converging old strategies with new ones.
Interestingly, I call it this the Converge approach.
It’s an approach that converges modern marketing with old-school sales tactics.
Earlier in 2020, one of my clients was faced with the reality that they could no longer send their sales team on the road.
Sales reps seemed to be at a loss for what to do, while employees in sales seemed to wait by their email to hear from customers.
The old “wait and see” strategy has never been successful, at least not long-term.
We quickly set about redesigning their sales strategy. After all, no strategy that was set before the pandemic has a chance at being effective in today’s environment.
With a new strategy set, we introduced the Converge approach to achieve their new objectives.
Steps in the Converge Approach:
Where are your buyers seeking products/services similar to yours?
Where else are these ideas in practice? How can you confirm this?
No idea is too crazy.
What ideas can you generate to support your growth objectives? All ideas are good ideas.
What new solutions can you introduce with current capabilities and within a reasonable time frame?
Identify entrance point.
What new initiatives will you start with? How will you build on success?
What are the likely outcomes of your efforts? How will you measure progress?
Launch the first initiatives and monitor progress. What’s working? What isn’t?
How can you insinuate these processes and practices into everyday business moving forward?
Lessons from Shifting Some Sales to Virtual
What we learned was interesting.
Most of their customers were using the internet today to find their products.
Despite this, capturing these leads’ contact information wasn’t something easily done.
Additionally, getting them to respond to email only offered about a 20% effective rate.
The result was a heavy focus on building their online presence (i.e., website SEO, selective social media presence, virtual event participation) combined with online chat and good old-fashioned telephone follow-up.
These strategies, when combined, increased response rates by nearly 40% from the “wait and see who emails” strategy and made calling less cold and cumbersome.
It’s possible that we will once again be able to grab lunch or a coffee and discuss business, but with buyer generations shifting, the need to converge modern marketing with traditional sales strategies has never been greater.
Where are your customers spending their time today and how can you start a relationship if you can’t see them face to face?
© Shawn Casemore 2021. All Rights Reserved.
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