Sales and Marketing in a Virtual World: How to Thrive in Today’s New Marketplace

NARI webinar series welcomed Marcus Sheridan who is a highly sought after keynote speaker known for his unique ability to excite, engage, and motivate audiences.  He also works with hundreds of businesses, helping them to become the most trusted voice in their industry.

Marcus began the webinar discussing the current climate of COVID-19 and the parallel event of the economic collapse of 2008.  He recognizes that even though the economic collapse of 2008 was a difficult time as a homeowner, there were positives as well.

Economic hardship is always followed by certain sales and marketing opportunities.  Whenever we see an economic slowdown, marketing is typically the first area where cuts are made.  There are several marketing opportunities available to businesses to get you through the slowdown.

Marketing Opportunities:

  1. Businesses will cut marketing activity. Leaving a void and causing a ripple effect.  If you can write 3 articles a week and create 2-3 videos a week, you will have an explosion of what you see from prospects.  This assumes the content is the right quality, with the right focus.
  2. The marketplace will look for leaders. People are searching for steady leadership in your industry.  Marcus gave an example from his own experience owning a pool company.  When COVID-19 came out, he knew that contractors would wonder what was going on in the pool industry and homeowners would think about purchasing pools.  He wanted to instill the mindset in pool contractors that when they have questions about the industry, they will look to River Pools for answers.  For homeowners when an event like this happens, they will want to spend more time at their home.  Marcus explained that homeowners will not be traveling, vacationing, or much more, so they want to create a better home experience and the money will shift from previous plans to a pool.  After 5000 consumers read his article, consumers realized this was the right choice for them, they would like to invest money in their homes and reached out to Marcus’ pool company.
  3. Pain will lead to unique innovations. Put a pop-up on your website saying “Would you like a virtual sales experience?”  Virtual selling will be prolific.  Create a video that explains to a prospective client what they will get from the selling process.  Again, Marcus used his pool company as an example.  “Let the client know to make this process successful virtually they will need to send a plot map and photos of their backyard.  This will allow our team to see any potential issues like grading and give you a quote for a pool.  We will meet with you on Zoom to discuss the options and if you’re not sure how to use Zoom, we will send you instructions on how to use it.”


Focus on these 5 points of interest, when you are trying to create an educational experience for the homeowner.  Cost – show pricing effectively; teaching the marketplace what they can expect when they get quotes.  What defines value in the marketplace?

  1. Problems – Buyers want to seek the negatives for the project they will be starting.
  2. Comparisons – We love to compare stuff when we are shopping for something. How often are you discussing the choices they are making?
  3. Reviews – People are obsessed with reviews. They want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  4. Best – What is the best? Everyone wants to know what the best product is.

These five subjects are what move the needle the most from a sales and marketing perspective.  When you produce your social video, regular text this is what the homeowners want to know, but we don’t spend enough time on.


Virtual Sales Appointment Best Practices:

  1. Know and teach the technology:

Know the tools and be able to teach with the technology.  Zoom is the most popular tool in the world, it has a free application, several videos on how to use it and it is user friendly.  Don’t assume everyone knows how to use the platform.  Ask the client or prospective client: “Are you familiar with Zoom?”  If not, send them video instructions on how to get started.

  1. Require Cameras be on:

Require the cameras to be on when you are having a virtual sales call.  Studies show that when both cameras are on, closing rates are higher.  Explain to the client it is important that they turn on the camera so they can see you and get a sense of who you are.  It is also important for you to see the client and know that they understand what is being explained to them.  Before the call, always ask the client: “Will you be sure to have your camera on during our meeting?”

  1. Limit text on slides: Limit the amount of text on slides for homeowners. More image-based, less text.  If there is a full deck you want to share with the client, share it before or after the call.
  2. Limit screen sharing: Share your screen when a client needs to see a slide, once the slide is done, turn off screen sharing. A proper call should be in and out of sharing your screen.  You want the client to see you clearly.  Specifically, ask the client to use their laptop.  If a slide has a lot of detail, it will be too hard to see on a phone.
  3. Write names down: When you have multiple decision-makers. Ask everyone their name and write them down.
  4. Ask questions using names: Ask questions directly to various attendees.  This will keep everyone engaged in the conversation.
  5. Smile: A smile changes our disposition and will make a big difference in your sales calls.
  6. Face a light source: Always face a light source, especially if you lack good frontal light in your office.  You can also turn the brightness up on your laptop.
  7. Sit up/Stand up: When you are having a sales call you always want to sit up and focus so you can engage in the conversation.
  8. State purpose of the call: This is very important when you sell virtually because most clients have never done this before and you need to set the expectation. Let your client know the purpose of the call is to get the perfect plan for them, something that fits their needs, give a price, and let them know they can put a deposit down at the end of the call and get started on the project as soon as possible.
  9. Take control of the call: You need to lead the conversation.  If you’re not guiding the conversation, the sales rate plummets.


Self-Selection and the Touchless Sale:

Marcus gives an example of using Wix, a website builder.  Wix takes you through the sales process, one question at a time.  Every question is taking you through the sales process for owning your website.  Wix uses first-person so you feel like you are in control of the process.  Every question builds on the prior question until they ask if you would like to create your website right now.  Once you put the name of your business in the field, you are committed and are ready to purchase.  In your mind, you have already bought it.

Have a place on your website where you can ask people what is best for them.  You can walk the client through a series of questions that will lead them through the sales process, they now understand what product they want and they come to you for pricing.

There is a simple out of the box tool that will allow you to create a question experience called  You can also create a question experience with text or email.


Sales Opportunities:

  1. One to one video is more important than ever.
    1. There are fundamental flaws with email.
      1. People tend not to open emails. The average open rate of emails is 18%.  If you send out 100 emails to clients or prospects, 18 will get open and 82 won’t.
      2. People won’t read the emails.
  • People won’t understand the email.
  1. Improve the subject line of your email.
    1. If you include the client’s name in the subject line, it will increase open rates on average by 10%.
    2. Including video in your subject line will increase open rates on average by 10%.
  • Including a personalized, specific message will increase open rates on average by 20%.
  1. Vidyard is a free tool you can use for video messages.
  1. Virtual pricing tools are critical. Technology drives us all. Give them a price range of what the project will cost.
  2. Appointment-based selling online is a must. Allow prospects to schedule a sales call or showroom visit with you through their website. An example is Yale Appliance.  They allow prospects to pick a specific sales representative, look at the representative’s calendar, and schedule the appointment time.  The schedule-a-visit tool close rate is 62% higher for Yale.
  3. Get back to basics. Work with your sales team on virtual calls.  Roleplay sales call with your group, practice makes perfect.  Relearn how to communicate with the client.
  4. Assignment selling is key. It is the process of integrating content into your sales process. This will take less time to teach the client and more time selling.  Let the client know that you will send information, what value it will give the client, and ask them for a commitment to watch or read the content that you send.


Opportunities Snapshot:

  1. Marketing Opportunities:
    1. Businesses will cut marketing activity, leaving a void and causing a ripple effect.
    2. The marketplace will look for leaders.
    3. Pain will lead to innovation.
  2. Sales Opportunities:
    1. One-to-one video in email is more important than ever.
    2. Virtual pricing tools are critical.
    3. Appointment-based selling online is a must.
    4. Basic training such as role-play is critical.
    5. Assignment selling is key.


Click here for the PDF of Sales and Marketing in a Virtual World: How to Thrive in Today’s New Marketplace

Click here for the Video Presentation of Sales and Marketing in a Virtual World: How to Thrive in Today’s New Marketplace Webinar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *