Sean McPheat on virtual selling

May 2020

“For those of you that are selling virtually, and need some tips on how to present online, then this column is for you.

It might be completely new to you, or you might already be a seasoned pro, but I’m receiving more and more requests for support from sales people who want to know how to deliver online presentations.  So I thought I’d put down my thoughts on the subject.

We’ve been running a lot of webinars since lockdown and the majority of them have been for sales teams who need to sell and to conduct meetings and presentations online.  So you’re conducting an online sales presentation to a prospective new customer…

Just how can you increase their engagement and keep them interested at the same time?  And how can virtual meetings and virtual presentations achieve this?

The biggest reasons why presentations and talking about products and services fail is down to a couple of important areas:

The message.  Poorly thought out, not logical and too much information
The presentation.  Too wordy, poor design, and lacks impact
The virtual delivery.  Lacks inspiration, belief, and passion
Understanding of the system.  In fact, the lack of understanding!
While I have much to say on this subject, which you will find out by reading my blog on the website listed at the bottom of this piece, here are a few key thoughts.

• Be future-focused.  If you think that you’ll be able to get things back on track with your clients and prospects pretty quickly after the lockdown, we may have to think differently.  Although there will no doubt be pent-up demand, the amount of freedom customers will have to invest will be highly limited.  Just like it took many months (and in some cases, years) for businesses to recover after the last recession, this one, albeit for different reasons, will take time to adjust to what will be a new world order of things.

• Be vigilant in your fact-finding.  See this as an opportunity to research how things will be after we have re-invented our businesses. Clients and prospects will still want to be offered good value, but there will be a bigger need for advice, recommendations and assistance as things pick up again. 

This means we need to build our knowledge on how our clients’ and prospects’ businesses will need to be structured.  More so than ever before, clients will need you to be consultative in your approach.  No-one knows exactly how things will pan out when the virus has finally departed, but one thing we do know: businesses will need a great deal of advice and help when they start up again.

You need to put yourself in the position of being an influencer and showing your ‘big-picture value’ to all who will need you.

• Prepare effectively.  Making a virtual call to a prospect means you need to have all your ducks in a row.  Diligently carry out your research about the company, finding out what their values are, their vision and mission, and how you can link up with that after the trading restrictions have been lifted. 

This preparation will allow you to have a cohesive and professional conversation with the prospect, so they see it as a valuable use of their time.  Keep safe!”

Sean McPheat is Managing Director of MTD Training.  
For information call 0800 849 6732 or visit

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