January 18

How to Overcome the Top 8 Virtual Pitch Challenges for Agencies

Almost three years after the world shifted to remote and hybrid work, Zoom, Teams, and GoToMeeting continue as vital tools for agency owners and business development executives to connect with their prospects. However, presenting over these virtual presentation platforms continues to create agency business development challenges because agency teams still lack the vital virtual selling skills required to close deals and build relationships. Today I'll discuss the top 8 virtual pitch challenges agency owners tell me they still suffer from when presenting virtually, and I'll offer a few simple tips to overcome them.

Lack of Nonverbal Cues

One of the biggest virtual pitch challenges is the need for nonverbal cues. In a face-to-face meeting, you can read body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to gauge your prospects' interest. However, these cues are often lost over Zoom, making it difficult to accurately measure a prospect's response to your pitch.

To overcome this challenge, you should be extra mindful of your nonverbal cues and pay close attention to the prospects’ verbal cues that you can see. Frequently ask for feedback and clarification from your prospects, AND stop screen sharing when you do. This will make it easier to get a quick visual check vs. relying on the small Zoom video box you see during a screen share session. And if you're really uncomfortable pitching virtually, invest in virtual selling skills training

Technical Difficulties

Another common challenge of virtual presentations over platforms like Zoom is technical difficulties. These include poor internet connection, audio and video issues, and my personal favorite — non-proficient users that stumble when trying to start and stop screen shares, etc., all of which disrupt the flow of the presentation.

To overcome this challenge, have someone who isn't a primary presenter prepared to troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise during the meeting. Practice, practice, and practice more — especially screen-sharing handoffs. And it goes without saying, test your equipment and internet connection before the meeting and have a backup plan if something goes wrong. 

Have you read: 18 Tips To Deliver The Perfect Virtual Pitch?   

Click Here to Read Next

Distractions

If you or your prospect is working from home, children, pets, or other household tasks often create distractions while on a Zoom call. Not only does it make it difficult to focus on your sales presentation, but also each distraction decreases the likelihood your client prospect retains your key sales messages.

To overcome this challenge, make sure you have a quiet and professional setting for virtual sales calls. Set boundaries with your family and pets to minimize disruptions during the call and suggest similar tactics for all sales prospects. Additionally, as soon as your sales prospect logs into the Zoom call, pay attention to any potential distractions on their side of the call and proactively adjust your presentation content or style if necessary. 

Difficulty Building Rapport

Building rapport with prospects is crucial to closing deals. However, over Zoom, establishing a connection with prospects can be challenging, making it difficult to build trust and credibility — both essential to Selling Greatly

To overcome this challenge, make an extra effort to establish a connection with your prospects by being personable and relatable. Conduct Social Reconnaissance research on all sales prospects and decision-makers before the meeting.  Use the information to develop Conversation Catalysts to spur pre/post-meeting small talk. Then, log into the call a bit early, and don't rush off as soon as the formal presentation is completed. Instead, take the opportunity to engage in a bit of small talk. Focus on asking open-ended questions while actively listening to understand needs and discover pain points. Finally, follow up after the meeting to continue building rapport and connection.

Have you read: 11 Tips For Hosting Better Zoom Sales Calls & Meetings?   

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Limited Engagement

Let's face it, virtual meetings are less engaging than face-to-face meetings, which makes it difficult for salespeople to keep prospects interested in the pitch. Prospects suffering from second-screen syndrome are more likely to multitask or tune out during a virtual presentation, resulting in key sales points getting lost in translation or simply missed entirely.

To overcome this virtual pitch challenge, create interactive, engaging presentations. Consider using polls, quizzes, and other engagement tools to keep your prospects engaged. Redesign your PowerPoint decks using a Micro-Call design to better align with shorter attention spans often associated with virtual sales presentations. Finally, use the SRC presentation delivery technique to prime your client prospects to pay attention to your pitch.

Difficulty Closing Deals

Closing deals over virtual sales calls can be challenging, as prospects may be less likely to commit without in-person interaction — to feel confident in their decision. Adding to the challenge, the lack of nonverbal cues and difficulty building rapport make it difficult to gauge a prospect's interest level.

To overcome this challenge, clearly differentiate the value of your product or service and proactively address any objections or concerns the prospect voices or you think they may have but are not sharing. Additionally, follow up after the meeting with key decision-making team members to privately answer any concerns they may have but didn't want to address in front of the entire selection committee — this is an essential step when you have a champion on the committee. 

Have you read: The Art Of Staying In Touch Via Digital Platforms?   

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Limited Access to Sales Enablement Resources

In a face-to-face pitch, you can easily access and share traditional sales enablement resources such as brochures, creative samples, and case studies to support your pitch. But if you don't have equally effective digital sales support resources, communicating the value of your agency's services during a virtual pitch becomes almost impossible.

To overcome this challenge, have digital versions of your resources — 2nd-Click Content — readily available and be prepared to share during the virtual pitch call. Done well, this particular challenge becomes a virtual selling strength because you can easily share and walk your prospect through the digital sales support tool/content in real-time vs sharing and waiting for them to consume it later. When you consider people trust content more than people, this technique transforms virtual pitches into powerful business closing meetings.

Hybrid Presentation Challenges

When some participants are present in person and others are on a virtual call, it can be challenging to effectively present and engage with all attendees. It's easier to monitor in-person participants by reading body language and facial expressions. Because they're in the same room, it's easier to have more interactive communication. This can make it difficult to balance your engagement and attention with both in-person and virtual participants — which can backfire, especially if a key decision-maker is viewing the pitch virtually.

To overcome this virtual pitch challenge, have a clear agenda and set of guidelines for the pitch meeting, ensuring that both in-person and virtual participants have equal opportunities to participate and engage. Use interactive tools such as polls and quizzes to keep virtual participants engaged and involved. Leverage our SRC virtual presentation technique to make virtual attendees feel more present in the meeting. If possible, have each in-person attendee log into the virtual call on their own laptop using their own camera, but muting their microphone. This will make virtual attendees feel more equal vs. looking at a bunch of small people on a single small video feed when you stop screen sharing and return to full-screen video sharing. 

In conclusion, pitching over platforms like Zoom comes with its own set of virtual pitch challenges that can make it difficult for you to close deals and build relationships. However, by being mindful of these challenges and using the strategies and tips provided in this post, you can overcome these challenges and deliver the Perfect Pitch. And if you're looking for more good virtual presentation advice, why not check out our 18 Tips To Deliver The Perfect Virtual Pitch post?

If you're a first-time reader and liked this piece, why not consider subscribing so we can stay in touch? Of course, you can break up at any time if you don't like what we send 😉.  Till next time. 


This post was originally published on Insight & Information, the weekly sales and marketing blog created by the fine folks at Converse Digital. If you want to learn how to create, engage in, and convert conversations into new clients and customers, give them a call


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Ad Agency Business Development, sales prospecting, virtual sales techniques, virtual selling skills articles


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