Online Sales Presentations – Effectively Selling Value on Web Demonstrations

In today’s Web 2.0 world, the use of online web conferences for the purpose of selling or demonstrating a product or service are becoming more and more popular with companies employing a business to business [B2B] sales force. The proliferation of platforms including market leaders Go To Meeting and WebEx with many secondary competitors such as Dim Dim, Glance and Fuze all offer the same basic service and are all vying for market share. These platforms can prove to be a valuable and cost effective way to sell products or services for 3 main reasons: 1) The cost of travel to/from sales presentations is eliminated. Airfare, rental car, hotels and meals are not required. 2) In what used to take up to 3 days including travel to visit a sales prospect can be done in an hour or less. This allows a salesperson to increase the number of sales presentations by up to 15x! 3) A salesperson just needs the skills it takes to speak and present effectively online, which many find much more comfortable rather than speaking in person. This opens the door for many more qualified salespeople requiring less salary than a typical “road warrior” type salesperson further reducing the cost of sale for companies. All this being said, very few sales people know how to effectively use this platform and in the following article I’ll outline why a web conference is NOT a phone sale, the 5 biggest mistakes most commonly made using this platform and how to best duplicate a “face to face” selling environment online.

Selling over the phone is a dying method for selling products & services. National “Do Not Call” lists, voice mail, cell phones, phone screeners and decision makers spending less time in a standard office environment all contribute to the decline in the effectiveness of traditional inside, phone sale. The good news is web conferencing and demonstrations bring something new to the table; visual evidence, convenience & privacy. Asking a prospect to spend 15-30 minutes viewing the latest & greatest product or service that can benefit them is a much easier request to fill than hoping to catch someone at their desk and spit out enough info to avoid being hung up on. Effective web demonstrations are generally set in advance by the use of marketing channels much like a traditional face to face meeting but with much more flexibility in availability since travel & geographic constraints are eliminated. Like the traditional phone sale, the prospect is able to keep a virtual boundary that is lost in a face to face meeting which results in many more prospects agreeing to meet with you…online. The prospect is less fearful that a pushy salesman will show up and cause them to purchase something on the spot. If presented properly, prospects actually feel like your offering them the opportunity to view something of value rather than feel like they are doing a favor by not hanging the phone up. All of the above contributes to a less intrusive, more accepted and increasingly popular sales opportunity.

Many salespeople that utilize this new method of selling don’t realize that because this is not a traditional phone sale that their approach has to be different than what they might be used to with a typical over-the-phone sales pitch. Many salespeople still “show up & throw up” and bombard their prospect with as much information as they can in the shortest amount of time. It’s as if they are still afraid of the hang up and are trying to get across as much information before the dial tone sets in. A web demonstration is the complete opposite and should be treated as such. During a web demonstration, you have earned the prospects undivided attention for pre-specified time to introduce the benefits of your product or service. Another common mistake is salespeople tend to “lecture” over the demonstration. This brings back memories in the prospect’s mind of sitting in class watching a projector or blackboard. Extremely Boring! The goal is to encourage involvement and facilitate a meaningful conversation that will uncover the prospects “hot buttons” or what can be described as a “needs analysis”. If this is done properly, the prospect has given you a road map on exactly to how to sell them! This brings to mind another point. Listen! Listen! Listen! The old saying God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason especially holds true here. If you pay attention to the parts of demonstration that generate the most interest and listen to their questions and comments, the prospect will reveal the key to earning their business. Finally you must respect the prospect’s time. Before any demonstration you should set the time frame of how long this presentation will last. If it runs long because they extend it through questions and conversation, that’s okay! In fact that is what you want, however, if you end up doing most of the talking it better wrap up in the allotted time or you instantly become pest. Today’s sales environment is all about permission, not intrusion. When you set the expectations of the web demonstration you basically getting permission to present your product or service for that appointment time only. Don’t overstay your welcome.

Web Conferencing and Demonstrations will continue to gain popularity as the cost of doing business steadily increases. As a salesperson this is a skill set that is necessary to learn as soon as possible. If done properly, you can earn more money in less time and in many companies never leave your house. Web demonstrations creates a virtual marketplace that is inexpensive and highly effective.