Gone are the days when the only avenue to close a deal or sell was through physical means or face-to-face. The cost of selling was obviously higher — one had to consider the cost of commuting from home to the office to the client, attire, and possibly representation if the meeting was to happen over lunch, etc. A production number of sorts, with much preparation needed to ensure deal closure.
Consumers and customers are now more empowered. Not only can we choose whether to engage virtually or face-to-face, the cost of buying has become relatively lower. There is typically no need to go out of the house and one only requires a decent internet connection and a smartphone or laptop.
Enter hybrid selling, which is a combination of being able to do face-to-face selling and virtual selling. It involves agility and flexibility to cater to the preferences of the buyer.
Hybrid selling provides more efficiency. One can maximize meetings by segmenting those who require high (face-to-face) or low touch (virtual). Depending on the complexity of the product or service being sold — and the stage of the selling cycle — a seller will need to be agile. For example, buying an insurance product may at some point require face-to-face discussions, especially when the premium is high and coverage or use is complex. In addition, this agility also allows sellers to be agile enough to take video calls wherever they are.
The buyer, meanwhile, can freely choose sellers depending on his or her comfort level and the rapport established. This is why building rapport online is so important and companies do invest in activities and engagements that will teach their (hybrid) sellers to develop this skill, among others.
Sellers need to master virtual selling, especially for those industries that have transformed post-pandemic, such as banking and insurance, to name a few. While the essential get-to-know-your-customer agenda is there, it is still a different experience to cull the information using online means, and the importance of doing so cannot be stressed enough.
A good working framework for reference:
– What are your client’s future wants and needs?
– What is their current state and are there any pain points?
– Can you assess the gap and find some areas where you (as in your company’s product and service offerings) can fit in?
– What solutions can be offered in the process?
Buyers are essentially looking for value. In fact, buyers nowadays look for long-term relationships as they are after the overall experience.
To end, here are seven tactical areas in virtual selling that can help hybrid sellers connect to buyers/customers:
– Conversation platform. Can it record meetings for future reference? Make sure consent is given.
– Virtual background. This should be a good representation of the company (companies typically have standard ones that reflect branding, etc.).
– Audio. It is important to test this to ensure seamless communication.
– Video. Technically a must for the seller to reflect professionalism.
– Lighting. Make sure to use tools if necessary.
– Attire. This adds to the professionalism.
– You. Overall, you are representing the company so make sure this creates a good impact.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include food innovation, nation-building and sustainability. The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.