There's no question that almost the entire U.S. has shifted its selling methodology from person-to-person selling to selling virtually.
Real estate agents are almost being sold 100 percent virtually. Auto sales are now typically 90 percent virtual. Even pharmaceutical sales to doctors are now not only being held virtually but that 60 percent of all surgeons, the doctors who most rely on pharmaceutical sales agents for technical support, feel that long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, that there would still be significant restrictions on the amount of in-person sales visits.
In other words, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed virtual sales into a new world, and rightly or wrongly, the changes will be more or less permanent.
So How Well Are Virtual Salespeople Adapting to the New Sales Environment?
Frankly, many businesses are failing miserably at virtual selling. Both life and business will go on after COVID-19 is over, but in the meantime, virtual selling can be a useful tool.
So What Are Some of the Challenges of Selling Virtually?
Two of the major challenges are gaining the buyer's attention and keeping them there, and developing a relationship virtually.
These are things that salesmen do naturally in person-to-person sales, but require a great deal of coaching and practice to do naturally as part of virtual sales. Salespeople soon learn that these are not easy tasks to master in virtual sales.
In addition, salespeople need to completely be able to master the platforms they use to communicate to potential clients, whether it be by Zoom, Skype, or another platform.
Everything in a virtual sales pitch must go completely smooth so that the client forgets that they are talking virtually. And every mistake, whether it is a slideshow that stops mid-presentation or a cell phone that rings in the middle of your pitch must go perfectly.
And not only must a sales pitch go perfectly smooth, with no interruptions, but salespeople must be experts in teaching their potential clients how to use the platform they may choose to do video chats with.
For example, before a salesperson and a client can chat on skype, either the salesperson or the client must go on Skype and send an invitation, which is then accepted to chat. Sounds simple, but try explaining it to a 60-year-old man who barely knows how to turn his computer on or read his email.
Yes, it's a brave new world out there, but just as horse-driven carriages gave room to automobiles, so too, will selling virtually dominate the world for many decades.