Differentiation on the Virtual Stage

As the dust is settling, buyers are enjoying the efficiencies and ease of interacting with virtual salespeople; the leverage has shifted even more into the buyers’ hands – and buyers know it.

Surely, by now you’re fully aware that the sales world has shifted to virtual selling – or rather the sales world is attempting to make that shift. This new normal has sellers and buyers alike innovating their selling and buying processes without the need for face-to-face or in-person meetings.

In many cases, all parties acknowledge that aspects of moving to virtual communication platforms is much more efficient than previous methods.

Even if they survived their stint in the sitting position while trying to “wait it out,” the companies most resistant to virtual selling have now embraced it and are starting to reap the benefits.

But, the playing field is changing again; it’s continuing to evolve. Prospects and customers (buyers) are starting to see advantages to their partners and vendors being unable to meet with them in person.

Barriers and excuses have been fortified by restrictions, and the virtual world has flexed to meet this new normal.

As the dust is settling, buyers are enjoying the efficiencies and ease of interacting with virtual salespeople. The leverage has shifted even more into the buyers’ hands – and they know it.

Virtual Selling is The New Status Quo

When you’re prospecting, everyone is your competition.

Every single virtual salesperson sitting at home trying to get the attention of your prospect for any reason whatsoever is your competitor. As such, buyers are more critical of how and where they spend their time. This is giving buyers more choices.

The requirement to work from home and conduct business virtually is breaking down geographic barriers.

Unless a vendor is geographically limited for some reason, such as service regions or exclusivity, there really is no reason to limit their physical selling region. It’s just as easy to call and email New York and Omaha as it is Dallas and Paris. This, too, is giving buyers more options – and more distractions.

Everyone is on the same stage – a virtual stage.

Social media, emails, calls, and even video-based prospecting are the communication platforms that everyone has to use now. It’s creating noise for buyers, and it’s largely ineffective without meaningful differentiation. Buyers are becoming adept at ignoring most of it.

Buyers have accepted the new virtual engagement model.

They’re gaining more leverage by not meeting with you face-to-face. They can hide behind “corporate policy,” COVID restrictions, and working from home to justify relegating the sales call to a virtual platform.

Negotiation is easier for buyers over a call or collaboration platform like Zoom.

They can mute and disable video to virtually disappear (be careful, they can still see and hear you). And, they’re growing fond of this additional leverage.

Buyers pit vendors against one another.

Many sellers are operating in desperation, and in some markets, they’re driving down prices on their way to extinction. This inspires some buyers to pit vendors against one another – which is less uncomfortable for them in a virtual setting.

Ok, so now what? The great news is that there is a way through this that allows you to keep your integrity, company profit, and commission check intact.

Four Tips to Stand Out with Virtual Selling

Differentiation is essential for survival. I get hundreds of same-same LinkedIn and email garbage requests every day “just wanting to connect” or “just wanting to talk at me” through an overly long and poorly crafted message.

My favorite of all are the messages asking me to “just CLICK HERE to set an appointment with me.”

No…that’s not happening.

Leverage Multiple Prospecting Approaches

If you’re going to rise above the sea of sameness, your prospecting efforts need to purposefully leverage many different channels.

It MUST also include picking up the damn phone as well as integrating well-crafted, high-quality video prospecting.

All of your messaging should use consistent frameworks that have been purpose-built to increase your win probability.

In his series of trainings and best-selling books, Fanatical Prospecting and Virtual Selling, Jeb Blount walks you through how to do just this.

I know what you’re thinking: “Jason, you said that everyone is using these methods, so what makes this different?” Great question, and the answer is two-fold.

Telephone Prospecting and Other Virtual Channels to Use

First, the balance of using multiple platforms to prospect is critical; you can’t just hide behind emails and social media. Too many companies that “prospect” are NEVER picking up the phone.

They’ve relegated prospecting to sending templated emails and spend hours each day wafting aimlessly through LinkedIn profiles. No “one thing” is the exclusive answer; it’s about balance across multiple channels and being better at it than everyone else.

Secondly, the quality of your message and delivery matters. When everyone else is sending emails and starting to use video platforms such as Vidyard, the quality of your message and delivery matters.

A high quality and purposeful video sent via email or LinkedIn will produce much better results than the on-the-fly video created on a cell phone while you were walking the dog and “just wanting to reach out.”

It’s really no different than getting dressed up for a sales call – it shows respect and signals that you’re investing in the opportunity to earn their business.

Always Be Video Sales Call Ready

You must ALWAYS be video ready. Let your competition fall behind because they’re still sitting on their couch in their gym shorts and baseball caps. That ship has sailed.

Additionally, the novelty of the nuances associated with working from home are growing less acceptable. It’s less cute that the kittens are playing in the background, and I’m sorry if that makes me an asshole, but I’m not wrong.

If your competition has solved their crappy lighting problems, removed cluttered backgrounds, uses good video and audio equipment, and figured out how to keep the dogs and children at bay, they’re going to knock you down and out.

Jeb’s Virtual Selling details how to get ahead and stay ahead in this new world, and it’s much more doable than you might think. But make no mistake, those of you that are naturally gifted in sales are not going to out-charm a talented rookie salesperson that’s invested in their virtual sales environment.

Stick to Your Sales Process

So, what do you do about the competition that’s driving down prices and commoditizing your space? Do NOT join them in that race to the bottom. Stick to your sales process.

Preserve diligence in your messaging and quality of delivery. Anticipate and prepare for pricing and cost objections in advance. And most of all, maintain emotional control.

Buyers almost always have more leverage than sellers. But, if you don’t get ahead of the competition by refining and mastering your virtual selling skills, you won’t have to worry about the additional buyers’ leverage. Your competition will be getting all of their time, attention, and business anyway.

Get your A-game started today. Invest in yourself and transcend the noisy mediocrity.

When it comes to virtual selling, appearances and preparedness can make or break you. Here’s a FREE checklist we made to help you perfect your virtual stage: Virtual Sales Call Check List.

About the author

Jason Eatmon

Jason is a Nebraska native which is where his work ethic and sense of…

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