The Fine [Developing] Art of Virtual Selling
What does Virtual Selling mean anyway? I tried to sell something, and it didn’t work? Does it mean I sold something, but for no money with no actual product? Was I playing a new video game that tries to inspire real salespeople to get off their butts and DO something? Or none of the above?
In the (almost new…although we’ve been living in it for 30+ years now) digital universe we find ourselves in come 2020, there are some unique challenges but also opportunities to retool our marketing and sales toolbox. There remains great value in what have become more traditional practices of email marketing, follow-up phone calls (if you’re ready to leave a good voicemail of course!), social media posts and an effective and representative website presenting your company in a dynamic and differentiated way. But wait…there’s a new device in the toolbox! But what is it? Is it a webinar? NO. Is it a revised website? NO. Is it another Zoom call? Please God…NNNNOOOOO)! It IS the advent of the virtual interactive platform.
When trade shows and events went from 60-to-zero overnight in March 2020 those in the face-to-face marketing world scrambled to ascertain the new reality and imagine a way forward. Many resurrected a formerly launched concept of virtual trade shows. When previously introduced, the concept of virtual trade shows and events received a limited, tepid response. Suddenly what was a peripheral concept was the centerpiece for companies scrambling to figure out how quickly to become a real virtual resource for their customers. The space was flooded with frankly, some amateur-looking productions. Limited options, cartoon-looking avatars, sparse or non-existing backend data were often parts of solutions thrust into cyberspace…just awful and a bad representation of the platform. Thankfully, designers and programmers rapidly improved the options.
Now marketers can demand and be satisfied with much more robust and professional productions. What has evolved is not just another version of a webinar or interactive web site, but the emergence of “virtual” as a tool for storytelling. At its best a virtual creation is something sales professionals can use to not only present their solutions to a prospect but engage the client as a participant in discovering the solution they craft, together. An exciting evolution of a platform that turns the corner from a passive observational process into a collaborative experience. When done correctly this delivers a truly immersive experience that solidifies the relationship between a customer looking for something sorely needed in this economy and a vendor who aspires to be much more…the trusted advisor and perceived expert every sales professional aims to be. Anyone who settles for less will soon be left behind when the world goes back to the “new normal”…whatever that ends up being.
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