Virtual or remote selling isn't new, I've worked from home for 20 years, but there was always the option to go to a client's office. Now, no company is going to allow people to visit their offices and the option to take people for lunch seems to be a fading memory.
It would seem that the we are all in "inside sales now" ... that is, we are selling sitting at desks at home.
This year has been a wild year with Covid-19 and virtual selling has become a must-mastered technique for your sales department.
Employees are scattered throughout the world, less and less are working in-person nobody is attending live events, salespeople are inundated with "digital" communications and platforms and struggle to sell virtually.
Let's state this upfront. Virtual selling is not sitting at home, doing what you did for the last twenty years, calling people and emailing them. I know some sales gurus will have it that virtual selling is bombarding people with video messages, rather than bombarding people with cold calls!
Don't make this mistake, virtual selling is not about being skilled at video calls, phone calls, emails, and text messages – this is about selling virtually, in an internet enabled world. Bombarding me with pitches on Linkedin is not social selling it's cold calling on a social network!
Plus Covid has transformed our world and the world has moved on.
Let's Take a Step Back
If we think about selling, my background is new business sales. I've always needed to be able to build relationships and trust and do it quickly.
Back in the 1980s there was no internet (honestly) and the only way you could get through to prospects was the telephone. Then in the 1990s email arrived. The problem is that now everybody has a phone and everybody has email. That also means that people have email blockers and call blockers.
Sales has Always Changed
There was about this time when being able to create relationships wasn't enough and so you needed to be an expert in what you sold.
Then The Internet Arrived and Changed Everything
But things have changed big time. The internet arrived.
While in the past, the only way you could find out about my products and services was by talking to me. Now you can go online (without me knowing) and get all the information you need. You can add me to a short list or disqualify me from a shortlist and I won't even know.
If you want to read about how the internet has changed the world, read my article here.
The Sales Problem Today Even in A Virtual World
This blog is about remote selling, so how on earth can I as a salesperson have conversations with prospects and customers and do it in a way that will
1. Show You Can Trust Me?
2. Show You I am an expert?
3. Have a Conversation?
I can ring people up (cold call them), I can send emails (I can cold email them) but this does not create trust. In fact I'm just another salesperson.
The average person is bombarded with up to 10,000 brand messages a day, so how are you going to differentiate yourself and not be "just another sales person?"
Many companies are also still stuck in 1998 when it comes to selling, measuring things like salespeople demos. The problem is for all sales and marketing team is that the internet has meant that the customer is now smarter than you. They know how to play the game and drive your margins down. But I digress.
Let's get back to virtual selling.
There are 5 Possible Outcomes From a Traditional Virtual Customer Approach (Cold calling or sending Emails)
1. The person blocks you, probably without telling you
2. The person tells you to go away, I'm being polite here
3. The person tells you they purchased one of those 3 months ago
4. The person tells you to call back in 3 months
5. You hit the person when they are ready to buy - Congratulations!
Hubspot research shows that email marketing has a 98% rejection rate.
Why Have You Already Been Out Sold?
Social selling, some people call it remote selling, some people call it virtual selling or remote selling, isn't new. We have been in business for 4 years and have been transforming your competition to a new way of thinking and a new way of selling.
I know people think that social selling is spammy people with connection requests or you hit people with a connection request and then hit people with a pitch. This is just what you always did, it's cold calling on a social network. This does not create trust, relationships, conversations or win you deals.
Your Competitor Is Already Doing This
Your competitor has empowered their salespeople to use social, backed by a world leading methodology (ours). What does that mean?
It means that your competitor sales people look interesting, they are proactively building networks, they are creating and sharing content. This content is insightful and educational. They don't look like "just another salesperson".
(Note: There is a difference between a network and a contact. Contacts don't remember you, a network will. Just building contacts on LinkedIn is a waste of time, you need to build a network, as these people will remember you. Let's not forget that the difference between a B2B sales and a B2C sale is that with a B2B sale the client knows the name of the salesperson).
Virtual Selling - This is How You Have Been Outsold If You Cold Call Or Send Emails
So while you are calling me and emailing me hoping that I will go wow! That is the solution just for me.
Your competitors sales team will have already, connected to me, they won't have spammed me because they know that spamming and using templates does not build trust. It also does not create conversations. What we are looking to do on social is build relationships and conversations.
Your competitor sales people know that "know me, like me, trust me" and if I do all of those things when it comes to buy something I will buy from somebody I know like and trust.
Why as your competition who has built a relationship with me, that I know like and trust ..... I will buy from.
That's why you have been out sold if you are still using legacy sales methods like cold calling and email.
This is why you need to switch to virtual selling and quick.
Where Do We Go From Here?
For those unsure of what to do, DLA Ignite will complete a review of your current social / digital / virtual / remote selling capability. For free.
We will take your team (up top 5) and perform a complete root and branch virtual selling assessment.
This will include: Profiles, connections, followers, inbound and outbound activity, content, engagement, follow up, results.
We will map your business against the DLA Ignite baseline and present back to you our findings. We will show you where improvements can be made and what results should be expected. No hard sell, just present back to you a road map.
As a CEO who signed with us recently said
"We entered lock down analogue, we have to leave this pandemic, digital."
Although the concept of virtual selling is not new, it’s safe to say that this sales process has grown significantly as remote work has become more normalized over the years.