Just think prior to the ongoing pandemic, how many of us dreamed of having virtual meetings, accomplishing much more while working from home comfortably in our casuals without the formal outlooks of the face-to-face meetings?
Unfortunately, we were able to put that to the test nearly a couple of years ago and realized dreams don’t always play out, in reality, the way we’d anticipated.
The pandemic due to COVID has accelerated this change over to virtual meetings due to the restrictions of travelling to places and holding large in-person meetings.
Also, the growth of technology has sparked the debate between virtual and face-to-face meetings. There is no clear conclusion on which type of meeting is better to close sales since they both have their own concept and advantages.
You have to identify the appropriate meeting type for your business situation and prospects’ comfortability.
So, let’s see the concept and advantages of both virtual and face-to-face meetings and see if we can come up with a clear verdict on which is better to close sales.
How do Virtual and Face to Face Meetings Work?
A virtual sales meeting is a type of business collaboration method where people from anywhere in the world connect and collaborate by making use of the technology. They share their business and sales ideas/views through audio, video conferencing, screen sharing, and webinars using an internet connection.
Virtual meetings are real-time interactions between remotely located workers to accomplish a shared goal or plan.
Face-to-face sales meetings are the meetings in which all the business people meet each other in person with direct contact in the same meeting location. The location can be the board room of the company, an office, or any public place that is comfortable.
All the people are expected to give their views on the agenda of the meeting so that some solid business decisions can be taken instantly. Or to be simple, a face-to-face sales meeting is what everyone used to call “a meeting” before the advent of conference calls and web conferencing.
Major Difference between Virtual Vs Face to Face Meetings
|Virtual||Face To Face|
|Communication||Lack the cues we use in-person such as tone of voice, body language, facial expression, and other nonverbal cues that may indicate confusion, discomfort which may lead to miscommunication.||People can communicate both verbally and physically through body language and gestures.|
|Cost||Can save 50 to 80 percent of the costs of a face-to-face meeting.||Cost a great deal due to travel expenses, accommodations, venue rental, etc.|
|Geography||Reach across geographical boundaries to even the most remote locations.||Require individuals to be in the same place at the same time.|
|Bonding||Lack of bonding in virtual connect, being more formal.|| Physical presence strengthens the bond between people.|
|Social Energy|| Paying attention is more difficult when it involves staring at a screen, and also eliminating background noises.||Providing more opportunities to engage and connect, and supporting a collaborative business and sales culture.|
|Flexibility||Flexible enough in sticking to set agendas and managing time limits easier.||More flexible to collaboration, innovation, and building social capital.|
|Productivity||Prolonged time of focus due to fewer meeting interruptions in a closed space.||Few meetings may be unproductive; interruptions reduce productivity when in outdoor locations.|
Role of Virtual Meetings in Modern Sales Process
As we all would know, many of us haven’t had as many virtual sales meetings in our whole lives as in the past couple of years. During the initial pandemic lockdowns, virtual meetings became the new norm for salespeople and companies all around the world.
According to statistics by Impactplus, “64% of sales teams who transitioned to virtual sales met or exceeded their revenue targets for 2020, compared to 50% of those who did not change their sales practices.”
Despite becoming a regular activity in sales, virtual meetings are still seen as inferior to in-person meetings. Yet, with virtual and remote forms of communication here to stay, companies will need to embrace them and work out how to get the most from them.
Efficient and Time-Saving Selling Process
Virtual sales meetings at broader means simplify the sales process by cutting short geographical presence, travel for both you and your prospects. With virtual meetings, the amount of time spent on scheduling and logistical stuff surrounding a meeting tends to be remarkably lower than with face-to-face meetings.
However, being able to pay out minimum time and energy into the sales process means more attention can be given to ensuring business continuity and focusing on your prospect’s needs and expectations.
Above all, virtual sales meetings can allow your prospects to include more key business persons in sales meetings whenever possible from anywhere, paving the way for quicker decision-making and a more efficient sales process as a whole.
Enhanced Collaboration and Personalization
It’s a fact that virtual sales meetings aren’t as organic or fluid as face-to-face communication and interaction can often be constrained, this oddly can make it easier to brainstorm and collaborate effectively.
If only one person’s microphone is able to be active at one time, this helps the persons in meetings to have a more individually balanced collaboration, where everyone gets their turn and has time and space to talk.
Virtual communication can provide more control, speed, structure, and clarity than sitting around a conference table. Also, there is no need to be more cautious about body language and gestures rather than in face-to-face meetings.
Personalized Experience for Prospects
In order to create value in a prospect’s view, it requires a lot of extra effort and out-of-the-box thinking and sales ideas. Virtual selling offers the opportunity for salespersons to communicate their sales views and ideas they would have shared in person in new and innovative ways.
By utilizing a more creative approach to introducing the sales team, giving prospects an interest to look into your product and sales process.
According to a sales report by Epsilon,”80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.” By providing a virtual tour and online demos of your products and services and more, prospects can still have a unique and advanced personal experience.
Why are Face to Face Meetings Still Important for a Sales Process
There is no surprise that technology and business development have transformed the way companies and salespeople interact with customers and prospects. However, even as the business sales process becomes increasingly virtual in recent years, face-to-face sales meetings still aid certain advantages that no digital technology can replicate.
Let’s look through why in-person meetings remain important to the modern sales process and its benefits in better sales.
According to Contemsa, “76% of sales executives prefer face-to-face meetings while only 7% prefer video conferences and the closing rate for in-person meetings is 40%.”
Building a Strong Personal Connection
When we talk about prospects’ purchase decisions, it is not just about the products; they want to buy from the companies they trust and connect with. And the strong connection can be made only through face-to-face meetings rather than virtual communications.
By physically present with a customer or prospect in person, you explain the ideas of sales by putting in the time and effort required for a face-to-face meeting. They’ll leave the meeting feeling like they got to know you and your company as people—which rarely happens in a virtual space.
The personal attention you are showing proves that you are actively listening to their needs, therefore building stronger relationships.
Able to Avoid Miscommunications and Technical Difficulties
Face-to-face sales meetings remove many blockades between the salesperson and their prospects. Physical presence has the prospects’ uninterrupted attention and can communicate information clearly and thoroughly without any disturbances.
Face-to-face communication also allows us to better read hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions of the prospects with which we can know what they are thinking. In virtual meetings, often things can be misinterpreted or miscommunicated when on video conferencing.
Meeting face to face enables you to properly read the overall environment.
Technology may provide increased efficiency and sophistication, but it leaves a gap for error throughout the sales process. How many times have we missed a crucial detail on a video call, or had an internet issue during an important sales meeting?
Can Feel the Product in Person
The most productive and easy way to sell the product is to put the product in front of the eyes of the prospects and let them interact and work with it. Even though a virtual tour can show how a product or service works, nothing can beat the feeling of using the actual product physically.
Also, conducting a demo online also prevents you from analyzing your client’s genuine reaction towards the product. In face-to-face sales meetings, simultaneously having a conversation while going over the product demo also has more impact, and will leave a memorable impact on the client while gaining valuable feedback.
To conclude, be it a virtual sales meeting or face-to-face sales meeting it is meant for collaboration and communication should be centered on which offers the best chance to achieve the sales goals and close sales successfully. If the objective is to build a strong personal connection and to have better communication, you can go for face-to-face meetings.
Whereas if the objective is to have a comfortable and time-saving discussion, a virtual meeting is more than sufficient.