We’re all getting more comfortable with virtual technology as a must-have mechanism to get in front of veterinary customers. However, as more and more virtual sales calls take place, organizations are finding that a successful virtual sales demonstration is about so much more than just mastering the technology. If selling is an art, then virtual selling is where art and technology collide—and it’s not always pretty.
Traditional in-person tactics don’t necessarily translate into an online selling scenario. There are many dynamic speakers who strictly refuse to do web-based education because the virtual interface is so challenging. Yes, the feedback loop is different, but it doesn’t have to be a showstopper for your sales team.
Here are 10 quick tips to transform the artistry of the sales conversation into virtual spaces:
1. Always Use Your Webcam
In a virtual meeting, just going through a slide deck isn’t going to convince someone to buy. Seeing your face is essential to create the personal interaction that is so important in a sales scenario. Make sure your background isn’t too distracting. You want the prospect to focus on you and your message.
2. Show Your Passion
It’s easy to fall into the trap of running through a rehearsed presentation that can feel flat to your prospect in a virtual demo. Don’t do it! Remember: This is a virtual meeting, not a webinar presentation. You haven’t been called upon to lecture, but rather to have a conversation.
Convey the same energy and enthusiasm that you do at an in-person meeting. If you need to stand to get in the zone, then set up your space with a standing desk. Watch your prospect’s face to make sure they are engaging at the level you need them to. In a live meeting, the art of the interaction is that it’s just that: a 2-way interaction. With webcams, you can still capture the essence of that type of interaction.
3. Look into the Camera
It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s essential. Practice before you begin a meeting with a prospect.
When you look into the camera, the prospect feels that you are looking at them and making eye contact. Don’t look at your own webcam feed on the screen—it can be distracting and throw you off your game.
Position your camera right at eye-level. This will create the closest simulation to a live experience. Be sure to also position yourself in the frame so that your face is visible (but not taking up the entire screen).
If you are too far away from the camera and the viewer is using a small screen, they may not be able to see your facial expressions and feel your passion for your product.
4. Sign on Early
Don’t let the technology of a virtual meeting become a distraction. During web pitches, you need to be solely focused on the art of selling, not on all the technical issues that could occur. Sign onto the web meeting early, and get any troubleshooting out of the way to enable you to focus on your goal.
5. Be Ready to Pivot
In a live meeting, you easily change your conversation based upon the needs of the prospect. A virtual sales demonstration should be no different. Don’t let rigid slide decks keep you on a path when the prospect is telling you they want to talk about something else.
You can avoid this pitfall in a few ways:
- Abandon your slide deck altogether
- Simplify your usual slide deck to contain simple visuals that allow your talk track to go wherever you need
- Create a dynamic presentation that allows you to choose your own adventure as you talk (think Prezi or a PowerPoint with a linkable table of contents)
6. Get a Prospect Baseline
Prospects are used to filling out information before entering an online meeting. Use this opportunity to gauge their current knowledge about your product and to establish a baseline for what information they want to know. This will help you choose the right reference materials to have at your fingertips for the virtual meeting. It will also help you craft a targeted agenda that includes time for the presentation of a proposal. (You’ll find more on this in tip #10.)
7. Show the Product
Create an experience that allows the prospect to connect with your product. This may include showing physical product via your webcam or walking a prospect through a virtual simulation. Don’t just play a product demo video and expect results.
If you do decide to play a video that shows how a product works, don’t use the audio from the video. Instead, narrate it yourself. Your prospect could have watched a video on their own. Maximize their time with a personal experience. They want to hear your voice and understand how the product solves their specific needs, based on what they’ve told you about what they are looking for.
Plus, play-through on audio attached to video can be a challenge in a virtual setting. You can avoid any technical problems by skipping the audio on your videos.
8. Pace Yourself
It’s easy to begin a virtual sales demonstration and feel the urge to brain dump everything you know onto a prospect without taking a breath. Something about the virtual medium makes us feel like we’re giving a presentation rather than engaging in a conversation. Avoid this by following these steps:
- Confirm how much time the prospect has and stick to it. Check in regularly to make sure you’re good on time.
- Create and confirm an agenda with the prospect to make sure you’re on the same page about the goals of the meeting.
- Take breaths and talk in a slower cadence.
- Intentionally pause to give the prospect the opportunity to jump in.
9. Elicit Constant Feedback
We’ve all been there—on a web meeting with something to say and no way to get a word in. Don’t let this happen to you. Let your prospect tell you what they need to know to be sold.
In addition to pacing yourself to create opportunities for the prospect to engage (from tip #8), you should also explicitly solicit feedback. Between slides or after key points have been presented, ask whether there are questions or feedback. People will tell you if they like what they’re hearing.
Confirmation of value is as important as questions. If you’re watching your prospect’s face on the screen, you’ll be able to tell when they’re confused, excited, or when they’re trying to jump in. Remember, our goal is to create an interaction that most closely resembles an in-person meeting. That means a conversation, not a presentation.
10. Set Expectations
It’s a sales conversation, so you need to make sure there is time for the close—and you need to make sure the prospect is prepared to go there. This can be accomplished during the agenda setup.
Based upon how much time the prospect has for the meeting, you can back into the time allocation. For example, if a prospect says they have 40 minutes, set up the agenda like so:
- Spend 20 minutes going over the questions that your prospect had
- Take 10 minutes to outline the ROI of your solution
- Then use the last 10 minutes to talk about a proposal and next steps
This way, the prospect understands that you’ll be sharing a proposal. If they’re uncomfortable with that, they’ll have an opportunity to say so. If you miss this key step in expectation management, your prospect may be turned off completely when you start selling them something.
And there you have it: Use these 10 tips to shine on your next virtual sales demonstration. Have a tip that’s helped you sell during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share it below!