In today’s increasingly virtual world, companies are finding more opportunities to sell online. The basic formation of the sales and marketing world has changed following the pandemic. While high-ticket items were primarily sold offline in the past, the increased prevalence of virtual selling has caused these transactions to move online.
During the pandemic,
many companies have slowed their buying cycles or frozen them. It can be challenging to find prospects that are still buying products and services and even more difficult to engage them in the sales process.
Jean Claude Awwad, an entrepreneur and sales expert, explains how high-ticket sales are being altered by shifting to a virtual environment.
High-Ticket Virtual Selling
For high-ticket items, the shift to virtual sales has been dramatic. High-ticket virtual sales extend over a wide variety of industries and can include products and services like residential roofing, legal or consulting services, and software packages for corporations. Companies that sell these items may be reluctant to move online, but the Canadian market has followed much of the world’s example by shifting to a virtual model.
In Canada, the pandemic has caused the general e-commerce market to leap from 3.8 percent of all sales to 11.4 percent. Understanding how the e-commerce market has changed enables sales and marketing professionals to make necessary business changes.
Changes in Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing have changed a great deal over the past few years as the lion’s share of high-ticket sales have moved online. The pandemic has caused businesses to curtail their in-person travel, meaning that many sales activities must be completed online or via video chat.
Adapting to Virtual Sales
Companies often need to retrain their workforce to adapt to virtual sales. While the basic principles of sales work, online or in-person, various techniques are required to get results.
For example, sales representatives no longer have to travel to see their prospects in person, but they should continue to prep for meetings with just as much dedication and detail as they did in the past. Intense research and preparation are necessary.
In today’s contracted sales environment, it is critical to spend time nurturing the client-sales representative relationship. Building personal relationships with targeted clients requires advanced people skills, but a good salesperson is prepared to put in the needed time and effort.
The Challenges of Selling Completely Virtually
While selling high-ticket items online can be viewed as an increased opportunity, the barriers to success are many. Sales personnel are forced to deal with a great deal of competition for the buyer’s time and attention. Buyers are continually bombarded with sales pitches for every type of product they need to make their business work, and it can be challenging to stand out in this sea of offers.
Without in-person meetings, sales personnel need to find new ways to capture their targets’ attention. Maintaining telephone and video contact with their buyers is a great way to bring a personal dimension to the sales relationship.
The Market is Now an Equal Open Field for Virtual Sellers
The shift to virtual sales has leveled the playing field. This means that companies that have succeeded in the past won’t necessarily have an advantage in the future. Even the smallest companies can leap forward when they can put themselves on an equal footing with industry greats.
Companies Need to Be Ready Or Be Left Behind
Companies that have always done business in the old way may find that they are swept aside by upstart competitors. Jean Claude Awwad emphasizes that companies must be ready to alter how they do business if they want to compete in today’s changing world. High-ticket virtual sellers may find that they are scrambling to keep up with the new market’s demands. Getting up to speed rapidly is the only way that these companies will be able to survive.
Challenges with Virtual Selling
While virtual selling does have some advantages, there are several aspects of virtual sales that many companies may find challenging. These challenges are surmountable, but it is wise to be prepared for them in advance.
More Difficult to Establish a Relationship and Trust in a 2-D World
When sales representatives do not have in-person contacts with their clients, it is hard to build a personal relationship. Bonding activities like casual chats over coffee or going out for working dinners do not exist in the virtual selling world. This can make it harder for salespeople to nurture their relationship with the client.
In place of person-to-person “soft” selling, companies need to create a new model for their sales activities.
Clients are Distracted More Often when Presenting on Virtual Platforms
Clients are often overwhelmed by the number of video chats and Zoom meetings that they have each week. Zoom meetings are taking the place of nearly every in-person interaction, especially when employees are still mainly working at home during the pandemic. It is easy for clients to “zone out” during these meetings since few elements distinguish them from one another.
Some clients may even become distracted to the point where they start browsing through their phones or sending texts or emails during a company’s sales presentation. When this happens, the salesperson should know that they are not doing enough to catch their client’s attention.
Presentations Need to Be More Interactive and Dynamic
One of the techniques that work to engage clients in the conversation is to ask more questions. This interactivity level will help bring attention and reduce the amount of multitasking that goes on during the meeting.
Presentations also need to be eye-catching and memorable. If slides are used, these need to be expertly crafted with just enough information to keep the client interested. The slides need to be presented clearly.
Using animated or recorded video is a great way to make technology work for the seller. These techniques can make a presentation more memorable and make sure that the presentation can compete with the biggest sellers.
Need to Select the Appropriate Technologies
The relationship between the buyer and seller is dictated by how they communicate with one another. Choosing the correct method to communicate with each client can vary. Some clients are easily reached by email and would rather hammer out the details of an offer with you on their own time. Others are motivated by video chatting. If a communication method doesn’t work with a particular client, there is no harm in trying a different tactic.
Reading Signals and Feedback From Your Target Client is More Difficult
While getting the information out there may be more accessible, it is harder to tell whether a presentation is impacting. It is challenging to see nonverbal signs such as body language indicating whether a client is receptive. Asking for frequent feedback is perhaps the best defense against this problem.
Benefits of Virtual Selling
While there are many challenges to virtual selling, there are also quite a few benefits; here are some of them.
More Sales Meetings Per Day
When sales personnel do not need to travel to get to sales meetings, they can pack more meetings into a day. This leads to more opportunities to make sales.
Able to Control The Customer Journey from Lead to Sale
With virtual selling, the seller has the ability to control every aspect of the customer journey. They can track each customer from the initial “bite” on the sales pitch through their interactions with sales and marketing personnel and finally through their buying process.
Able to Expand Sales into New Remote Areas Quicker and At a Lesser Cost
Virtual sales mean that a company is not tied to its geographic area. This exciting opportunity can make it easier for companies to break into new markets without a significant increase in their sales and marketing budget. This makes it easier to expand sales to other territories and countries.
Easier to Funnel Potential Clients into a More Productive Pipeline
When selling virtually, it is easy to filter through clients. This leads to less wasted time when dealing with clients who are not serious prospects. Companies can classify their prospects according to whether they are considered high-value targets and concentrate their sales activities accordingly.
The Future of Virtual Selling
Things may have changed, some temporarily, while others permanently.
It is Here to Stay Even Post-Pandemic
Sellers should be aware that their business has perhaps made a permanent change to a virtual model. Buyers appreciate the convenience of buying high-ticket items online and do not want to go back to the slow and antiquated system of travelling sales representatives and annual meetings.
Buyers Were Exposed to a Great Deal of Virtual Selling and Like it More
Buyers of high-ticket items have become accustomed to doing business virtually. When doing business virtually, it is easier to compare products head-to-head and decide which is best for their purposes.
Virtual Selling Allows Buyers to Filter Through Sellers
Buyers can sort the sales offers they receive from each company and decide which are the highest priority. They can easily say “no” to a product they don’t want, and they can ask for more information from companies that interest them.
Designing a Virtual Selling Strategy
Companies that sell high ticket item products and services need to design a virtual selling strategy and continue to improve on it. Many companies are finding out that their virtual selling capabilities are not what they should be, and the wayside may leave them by companies with more drive and ability to compete.
Creating a virtual sales strategy requires creativity and a great deal of research. Getting to know how competitors sell online can help a company push past its rivals and find its niche.
Technologies in This Field Will Also Change Rapidly
The possibilities of artificial intelligence, algorithms, 5G communications, and augmented reality are just a few ways in which virtual selling may change in the upcoming years. It is incumbent upon sellers to keep a forward-looking eye on sales techniques.
Strong Virtual Selling Capabilities Are a Must and Rewards are High
The rewards of virtual selling can be significant. Virtual selling enables companies to compete on an even playing field, making it easier to break into new markets and add value to customers. When companies have an enhanced ability to sell virtually, they can better compete in the post-pandemic world and obtain or regain their business’s solid position. Jean Claude Awwad believes that companies can expand their sales possibilities if they focus on the virtual realm.