What separates great sellers from average performers?
In the final analysis, it’s what people think that ultimately matters more than anything else, in my experience.
So, why am I diving into the myths of virtual selling? The thing is these myths can impact your thinking. They can affect your mindset. And if you buy into some of these myths, it reduces the power of what’s available to you.
In my new book, Mastering Virtual Selling, my co-authors and I debunk these common myths. I’m going to cut to the chase on five of them right now.
MYTH #1: Virtual selling is a temporary solution.
First of all, there’s a myth that virtual selling is a temporary solution. A lot of people think that we’re going to be five days a week at the office and that everything’s going to go back to 2019.
Recently, I was on a call with eight people from a large company. What was interesting is that several of them were in the same office building. One of them was at a fifteen-person conference table by himself. All of the others were either in their home offices or other offices. They were all using Zoom.
This is what the hybrid future looks like.
There are going to be some people at the office on a more regular basis than in the height of the pandemic. But thinking that we’re going to put this genie back in the bottle is a challenge because it’s not playing out that way.
The bottom line is, we believe that virtual selling is here to stay, and there’s a lot of evidence that supports that idea.
Just ask yourself, how do you want to work going forward? Most people want to work part of the time in the office, and they’re realizing that there are enormous efficiencies of working remotely.
MYTH #2: Virtual selling is inferior to face-to-face selling.
That leads me to number two: the idea that virtual selling is inferior to face-to-face selling.
Do you know why so many of us believe that? Because that’s all we knew. If all you know is face-to-face selling, and then it gets taken away from you, of course, you’re going to think that it’s superior to a virtual approach.
But what I can tell you is that we actually believe that a virtual approach allows you to create a richer buyer experience. You can actually use your time more effectively.
When you understand the frontstage / backstage model we describe in the book, you’ll learn that one way to make it a richer experience is by doing some things during live sales calls (frontstage) and doing other things before and after the call (backstage).
> To learn more about frontstage and backstage selling, get your copy of Mastering Virtual Selling.
MYTH #3: Virtual selling doesn’t require new skills.
The next myth is that virtual selling doesn’t require new skills. If that were true we wouldn’t have written our book, Mastering Virtual Selling.
I have extensive experience as a presenter in front of live audiences, an emcee, and a speaker. I thought I could simply port all of that over to this new world. But it turns out it’s not enough.
There are so many new skills, from the idea of targeted polling of your audience to putting information into chat. All of these things that seem obvious to us now are part of what makes virtual selling a richer experience—if you’ve learned the skills.
You not only need to master new skills, but also grasp the ins and outs of different platforms, from Zoom to Microsoft Teams to WebEx and others. Each tool offers different ways of interacting. It’s almost like being fluent in multiple languages. If you want to interact in these different arenas, you’ve got to be fluent.
The bottom line is virtual selling requires new skills.
MYTH #4: It’s hard to build rapport virtually.
The next myth is that it’s hard to build rapport virtually. This is the one that I have to say is easiest to argue in both directions. Because the truth is, it is harder—at first. But it turns out that once you get over a certain hump, it actually can be a better way.
Those of you who are B2B sellers have sold to people who are repeat customers, whom you’ve known for years.
Here’s the question: How many times have you ever been to their house? How many times have you met their family? How many times have you ever seen their personal office, what they’ve got in the background, and the things that matter to them in their personal life?
Probably never, or very rarely.
What I’m here to tell you is that we’ve got techniques in our book that describe very clearly the methods you can use to build rapport virtually.
And once you get the hang of it, you’re going to see, because of the efficiencies of this approach, you can actually do a lot more than you could have if it was all face-to-face.
So it is true that it’s somewhat hard, but it’s not impossible. And once you get the hang of it, it can be done at scale.
MYTH #5: Buyers are not ready for virtual selling.
The last myth is that buyers are not ready for virtual selling. It turns out that sellers are not ready for virtual selling. We’ve seen so many sellers saying, ‘I can’t wait to get back. I can’t wait to see my clients and my customers in person.’
We understand that.
But here’s the thing. What we see in our own experience across a wide range of industries, coupled with surveys from companies like McKinsey and Accenture across the world, is that buyers don’t want to see you. According to McKinsey, 80% of B2B buyers prefer remote to in person sales.
Now, don’t take it personally. It’s not you, and it’s not that they don’t want to interact with you. It’s that they don’t want to use their time the way they were using it before.
Just think about it. Every meeting you had, you met someone at the door. They had to go through security, bring you to their office, get a glass of water, etc. At the end of the meeting they had to walk you out of the office, to the door—think of all of the time!
Everything that you thought took an hour was an hour and a half to your buyer.
Now buyers and sellers have the ability to build rapport, be more efficient, still maintain a connection with people, and leverage their energy. Buyers are ready. Our challenge is helping sellers get ready.
It’s time to put aside these myths and focus on the tremendous benefits of virtual selling. When you do, you’ll have the mindset that will transform your approach for success in a hybrid world.
Visit our site: MasteringVirtualSelling.com
Buy or pre-order your copy: Mastering Virtual Selling