Just a couple of years ago, holding a virtual sales meeting was practically unheard of. If teams wanted to close the deal, they needed to sit down with prospects face-to-face. That perception changed in the early days of the pandemic, when companies were forced to adapt to a virtual business model out of necessity. Soon, sales managers discovered that virtual sales meetings serve a purpose even in a reopened market.
Of course, the acceptance of virtual sales meetings doesn’t mean they truly can replace an in-person pitch. There’s a time and a place for each method. To determine when each pitch style is most appropriate, it’s important to understand the differences between an in-person sales pitch and a virtual one.
Elements of an in-person sales pitch
What is an in-person sales pitch? Well, the answer is pretty obvious since the term is fairly self-explanatory. An in-person sale pitch occurs during a face-to-face meeting with prospective clients. It involves sales reps and leads meeting in the same physical locations and making direct contact with one another. During an in-person sales meeting, parties are able to openly discuss their ideas and a decision sometimes can be made instantly. While visual presentations such as slide decks aren’t required, they still are helpful tools in conveying information about a product or service and persuading audiences to make a purchase.
Elements of a virtual sales pitch
A virtual sales pitch, on the other hand, is made when meeting with potential customers through technology. Thanks to the internet and teleconferencing software tools like Zoom or Skype, sales teams can meet with prospects from anywhere in the world. During a virtual meeting, ideas and product information can be shared through audio recordings, video conferencing, screen sharing and even webinars. While a visual presentation is optional when conducting an in-person sales pitch, its presence is pivotal in most virtual sales pitches to adequately convey relevant data to an online audience.
Differences between in-person and virtual sales pitches
The differences between in-person and virtual sales pitches include far more than location. Different communication methods require different skills and preparation, and they can lead to different results. After all, it might be more efficient to email hundreds of pitches in a matter of moments, but holding a few engaging face-to-face sales meetings still might yield better outcomes.
How are in-person and virtual sales pitches different? Consider the following:
- Geography – The very nature of an in-person sales meeting means individuals must be in the same place at the same time, while sales teams can reach across geographical boundaries to virtually pitch prospects in remote locations.
- Cost – Conducting a face-to-face sales pitch can be costly if the company is paying for travel expenses and renting a venue for the meeting, but the same business can save 50-80% of that cost by holding a virtual meeting, instead.
- Relationships – In-person sales meetings provide an opportunity for sales reps and prospects to forge professional relationships that help overall communication. Virtual audiences, on the other hand, are not physically present to form a relationship, and therefore the meetings often remain more formal.
- Non-verbal communication – Non-verbal cues can help sales reps understand their audiences through body language and gestures. These vital forms of non-verbal communication are largely absent during a virtual sales pitch, so salespeople will find it much harder to discern when a prospect is confused, disinterested or even uncomfortable.
- Engagement – Many sales teams have found that prospects have a harder time paying attention during a virtual sales pitch, and they often encounter more interruptions and distractions. Meanwhile, in-person sales pitch attendees have more opportunities to engage and connect with the sale rep, creating a collaborative environment.
- Productivity – All those virtual interruptions and distractions result in prolonged meeting times with less-productive focus. In-person sales meetings, on the other hand, have far fewer interruptions and are therefore more productive.
- Flexibility – Conducting a productive virtual sales meeting requires adherence to an agenda, as well as managing time limits. An in-person sales pitch, however, often is more flexible to include unexpected questions and discussions.
Making presentations work for in-person and virtual sales pitches
While there are definite distinctions between an in-person sales pitch and a virtual sales meeting, visual presentations are an effective tool for each. That doesn’t mean, however, that the same presentation will suffice for face-to-face and remote pitches.
In fact, an effective sales deck is almost always needed for a virtual sale pitch since it helps convey the desired concepts. An in-person pitch, however, usually relies on a more condensed version of the presentation to serve as background slides. Of course, the differences don’t end there.
When preparing a virtual presentation, it’s important to include more photos, animations, visual storytelling and audio content to engage the audience since you won’t physically be present to engage them yourself. Time can also be a concern, so preparation is key to ensuring your slides are appropriately spaced and you don’t spend too much time on a specific one.
The good news is that whether you’re presenting an in-person sales pitch or the virtual variety, you can save time and achieve superior results by customizing a presentation template. Beautiful.ai users can choose from a host of curated presentation templates designed to support practically any topic. Then, they need only customize their details and add relevant content as artificial intelligence automatically adjusts the slides based on professional good design principles.