You are not required to like it, but you are probably going to be required to get accustomed to it: virtual selling is here to stay.

How much selling your company does remotely, or through video conferencing, may be up to your company design, the product you sell, or the industry you work in, but sellers and buyers have discovered that remote commerce has its advantages.

The buyer-seller relationship, which historically had its positives and negatives, has seen a shift that severely impacts the way sellers operate. While it may seem that the advantage has shifted dramatically in the buyer’s favor, there are ways to make it advantageous for your sales staff.

Seller beware 

There are customers and potential clients who understand the need for the seller-buyer dynamic, but there are others who would be fine living in an environment with no sales personnel knocking on their proverbial door. This is especially true of the two youngest generations – millennials and Generation Z – who have been buying items, both personal and professional, through remote means for years now without ever having to listen to a sales presentation.

Presumably, your company has been selling remotely for much of the last 18 months. You learned how to present your products and services in a way that makes them attractive to the virtual customer.

Hopefully, you have not been holding your breath waiting for the day the world would return to “normal’’, because it isn’t going to happen. Many buyers prefer the remote atmosphere that does not require cleaning up their office or offering sales personnel donuts or whatever is done when they appear for a sales presentation appointment at the buyer’s office. This new virtual system is more cost-effective for both the buyer and the seller, and, quite frankly, it is easier for the buyer to end the appointment because they do not have to chase anyone out of the office. They just have to end the call.

It is your job now to make sure that does not happen. For those customers who want to meet “virtually’’, your sales personnel must be ready to capitalize on the meeting just as they would in an in-person setting.

The specific skills of virtual selling

As mentioned, virtual selling is a cost-effective way to promote your product or service. There are no travel expenses. There is no time spent going from one place to another (which is a cost related to the “time is money” thought process). There is no time wasted when your buyer’s previous meeting runs long, and you are stuck in a waiting room mentally criticizing the wall decorations.

But those are advantages to your company, not necessarily to the sales personnel. If they accept the new way of doing your business and realize that they can take advantage of all the newfound time they have, they will see that virtual selling has its advantages.

To make virtual selling work, a seller must perform three tasks: create a virtual presentation that will properly display the value of their product or service, develop their on-screen persona, and know their company’s virtual technology like the back of their hand.

Your on-screen persona

 Salespeople have developed an in-person persona which creates a smooth rapport with potential customers. Perhaps they have spent years in training sessions learning how to make the in-person sales presentation a pleasant experience. Now they need to train to have the same impact on-screen.

As you may have learned by now, human interaction and virtual interaction are not necessarily identical. In some cases, they are not even similar.

If your firm has made the transition to virtual selling, it is prepared to train sales staff in how to present themselves on screen. If salespeople are left to their own devices, there are training videos available as well as services for hire that teach how to present yourself in the way you want on screen. Not every seller wants to project the same image, but every seller needs to know just what they look like on screen and how their in-person persona differs from their on-screen one. This will require practice.

Your product or service virtual presentation

This topic differs depending on what it is you are selling, but you need to be certain that the product or service you are selling translates to an on-screen presentation. Perhaps this is not a concern; the value of your product or service is just as obvious on screen as it is in a conference room or office setting.

But if what you are selling needs to be refined for a video presentation, that is something that will require practice as well. And do not assume you know the best way to sell your product or service in a video presentation; this, too, will need feedback from company management and other sales staff to assure the proper presentation.

Know your technology!

This is vastly important.

Video technology offers a whole new world of opportunities in terms of presentation, including the opportunity to link other people into a virtual meeting if any new information needs to be presented, or a new introduction might elicit a greater response from the seller. But those opportunities are only going to work if your staff knows how to link participants and handle both video and audio transmissions to present a cohesive and stable environment.

And do you know what it takes to fully understand your company’s video technology? Practice.

From necessity to preference

For 18 months, sellers were required to sell by virtual means. Today, they do so in part because it is advantageous to the seller and in part because it is preferred by the buyers. Either way, remote or virtual selling is the future.

It is incorrect to think that what works in person is going to work in a video conference. Your firm needs to consider all the aspects of the new buying structure to be successful.

Companies also should consider the video capabilities of new salespeople when hiring new staff. Best Sales Talent is ready to assist you in finding those salespeople who have fully embraced the new sales atmosphere and are ready to hit the ground running.

Figuratively these days, not literally.