Online selling is hot! It is viewed as cheaper than traditional selling, faster and more effective. I’ll debate the "effective" adjective, concede on the "cheaper" description and remain neutral on the "faster" label. The question you should be asking is how prepared are my sales people to sell online? How prepared are they to sell using online tools that often come down to mere webinars or web meetings?
Being good at online selling is not a factor or your age. It still takes a good and I would even say, great sales person to sell through the web. The sales process remains the same or at least it should. Word of caution, don’t repeat the mistake of many in virtually selling and forgot about or give short shrift to the discovery phase in the selling process – this phase is critical to success.
But even great sales people find selling on the web a challenge. So how do you prepare your team to be successful in virtual selling? You train them in the skills that are critical for non face to face selling.
Skills Critical to Success in Selling Virtually
Listening skills have always been important but when you are not sitting in front of your prospect reading body language is impossible and listening becomes the most critical skill in virtual selling. Listening for changes in voice modulation, word emphasis and volume can become the keys to reading the prospects interest or concerns. Sales people must also learn not to interrupt. Interruptions via the web feel more invasive than in person.
Delivering clear, concise and compelling messages is a must. Given that our attention spans are diminishing and given that holding someone’s attention on the web is problematic, your message but be sharp, to the point and absolutely relevant. Teach your sales team how to condense; edit and fine tune their existing patter. Ramblers must be taught how to get to the point quickly and precisely. Storytellers must turn novels into short stories. On the web less is more!
Creating interest builders to open the conversation is vital! Never, I repeat never make your product or service presentation the first section. Discovery allows you to customize the presentation to the prospects needs. The moment a prospect or customer hears something that has no value for them, they’re gone. Teach your sales team to open with results you’ve delivered then ask if similar results would contribute to the prospects goals. This approach gets you right into discovery and pulls the prospect or customer into the conversation.
Positioning your company shouldn’t take more than 90 seconds. What value do you offer the prospect – and remember the value is how they define it not you? Your sales people must be quick on the draw to position your company in the market. Practice value statements and positioning statements based on the product line or service area you plan to introduce. The name of the game on the web is to deliver value in as short a time as possible.
Speaking skills are critical to success in non face to face interactions. Give your sales team speaking training. Teach them the value of voice modulation, phrasing, pausing and how to sound excited without sounding well, a little crazy! Professional speaking skills become so much more important when delivering over the web or the phone.
Building trust is the key to closing a sale, but building trust through web interactions can be difficult. In a face to face meeting you may have an hour to build trust as you talk but most web interactions are around 15 minutes. How do you build trust in on line interactions? You start by asking meaningful, customer focused questions. You send the signal that the customer’s needs are more important than your need to get a product presented
Virtual selling requires both new skills and a strengthening of old selling skills. While virtual selling may on the surface be cheaper than face to face selling, its effectiveness will be driven by how prepared your sales team is for the new environment.
For training in the skills necessary to be successful at virtual selling, call Catalytic Management.
We turn virtual into closed sales!
Customer Service Week
October 1st- 5th
is Customer Service Week.
My cynical side sees the week as just so much hoopla - a once a year feel good push with no lasting results. To get lasting results:
set service standards for year round performance
solicit consistent feedback from customers
love your customers everyday
Shelley's latest articles:
"10 Reasons Why Discovery Questioning is the Key to Closing Business"
Business Review USA July
"Are You Missing An Opportunity to Sell Your Value?"