What You Need To Sharpen Your Virtual Selling Skills
Virtual selling has become the new normal. Even as the pandemic eases, virtual selling isn’t going away. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2021 report, 70 percent of buyers say they would like to work remotely half or more of the time, and 50 percent say that working remotely has made the purchasing process easier.
While success in sales requires certain skills regardless of selling format, there are some capabilities that can help bolster your virtual selling skills. Steve Kearns, a marketing manager for LinkedIn, says that when you know which skills are most effective in an online environment, you can drive buyer confidence.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Kearns’ thoughts on the virtual selling skills to develop now.
Social media skills. Creating and maintaining active social media accounts can help you in many ways—especially when it comes to virtual selling. Social media allows you to promote your services, build credibility and engage with a large audience, says Kearns. You can also learn more about your prospects and clients through social media, whether you explore communities, connections or hashtags.
Writing skills. Sales reps don’t need to be exceptional writers, but they do need to know how to communicate effectively and concisely in their writing. Kearns says that while most sales professionals build their careers around spoken conversations, they should still know how to craft copy for emails, social media and more.
Empathy. This skill became even more important during the pandemic, as peopled grappled with disruption in their personal and professional lives. In a virtual selling environment, empathy helps you nurture connections and establish trust, says Kearns. If you go for the hard sell, you may end up losing the relationship you worked so hard to build.
Emotional intelligence. Similar to empathy, emotional intelligence in sales involves the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions as well as those of others, notes Kearns. This can be a challenging skill to develop in virtual settings because it’s harder to read someone’s vibe if you’re not in the same room. However, Kearns says you can still draw on subtle visual and verbal cues to know what to say.
Collaboration. Kearns points out that knowing how to collaborate with colleagues can significantly improve the consistency of buyer experiences and drive greater overall productivity. It’s also important to collaborate with buyers because when buyers win, sellers win. Always look for ways to work together to consultatively solve problems.
Strategic thinking. To succeed in virtual selling, it’s important to think about the big picture. Don’t get so focused on pushing solutions or contacting prospects with sales outreach that you don’t establish an authentic relationship. Kearns notes that this might require sales professionals to step out of the “always be closing” mentality.
At this point, you and your sales team probably have a solid grasp on virtual selling. However, it’s always helpful to continue growing and learning how to succeed in a virtual sales environment. By refining the skills above, you can help build relationships that will help you succeed in any sales setting.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Steve Kearns is the marketing manager for content and social media at LinkedIn.