Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Sales to Accelerate Your Business – Part 1

by

If someone approached you asking about the difference between online and offline sales, what kind of answer would you give? How would you explain the psychology between the 2? Or were you even aware that there was a difference in the approach?

If your answer is, “I haven’t got a clue,” you aren’t alone. Most business owners don’t know because they’ve never been taught—much less provided resources about how to begin selling and building a brand online. It’s an entirely different animal than the offline world.

As leaders in the world of e-commerce and experts with decades of experience in face-to-face sales, the Viral Solutions team often notices that businesses are not meeting their full potential simply because they do not understand the massive difference between offline and online sales.

To grow your business to the heights you dream of, it is imperative that you have an online presence and that your sales and marketing team understands the differences between online and offline sales—as well as the psychology of each one.

To help your business accomplish these tasks, let’s talk about a major problem we often face…

When a business that has always sold strictly offline decides it’s time to have an online presence—which is crucial in today’s technological climate and can really accelerate your business if done right—they think they can use the same marketing and sales tactics that they have always used offline.

This does not work. It is backward, in fact. When a business that has never had an online presence asks us to build their website, they often request we frame it around themselves…

“Look at me! Look at how great my product or service is! You need this!”

While this may be true, it turns prospects off. In the online world, it should never be just about you. Your potential clients want to know how your product or service can benefit THEM. Unlike selling offline, when it comes to online sales, providing facts and information is your primary goal.

You can’t simply place yourself in someone’s view by showing up. You have to earn every click and every view—in one way or another.

The Huge Differences Between the Offline and Online Sales Process

Your first task in bridging the gap between your offline and online sales is by learning the big differences between the 2 and the psychology of each. We discuss these differences below:

Offline Sales—Where YOU Have the Advantage

Online Sales—Where Your CUSTOMER Has the Advantage

As you can see, there is a world of difference in the thought processes your salespeople should possess when it comes to selling online vs. offline.

If you have yet to create an online presence, understand that now is the time to do so. The e-commerce world is only going to continue growing, and there’s no end in sight.

One thing is a given: If your business is not yet online, it is time to bite the bullet and create a proper web presence.

If you are a business owner who has yet to get started selling online or are a novice, now that you have been alerted to the big difference between online and offline sales, we can get you started off on the right foot by suggesting you and your sales team read the following blog post: The Sales and Marketing Process in the Digital Age: How a Salesperson Can Excel in the Digital Age.

If you own a brick-and-mortar store and are ready to get started selling online, we strongly suggest you also add this blog post to your research material before getting started: Why Marketing, (and Selling) Online Can Yield Big Results for Brick-and-Mortar Stores.

The Importance of Social Selling

One important thing to take into consideration when creating an online presence for your business is that having just a website won’t cut it. To really make an impact and obtain more sales, you need social media pages where you are active, sharing your product or service, providing helpful information, answering questions, and engaging with potential clients.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus—these are the main players in social media, and social selling is a BIG deal.

To help you and your online sales team understand the importance of social selling, watch the following video from Jill Konrath, an expert in sales strategies, a thought leader, a speaker, and a best-selling author in the sales sphere:

In the blog post accompanying the video, Jill discusses social selling from the point of view of our own Thomas von Ahn. Below is a section of the blog post where Jill discusses Thomas and the successful sales strategies of Viral Solutions:

Let me give you an example of how different social selling is from our traditional approach. Thomas von Ahn of Viral Solutions recently shared with me that 58% of his company's revenue comes directly from LinkedIn initial contacts.

What's he doing? First off, he's got his bases covered with a decent profile. And, he's not one bit like those pushy, self-promotional people who are looking for a quick hit. Instead, he's a go-giver, in it for the long haul because it's the right thing to do.

Tom has joined numerous groups that are frequented by his targeted customer. He participates in lots of group discussions. He even asks good probing questions to start his own discussions.

Tom regularly gives free advice — without expecting it to immediately turn into a business. He offers free e-books and free white papers. He shares good resources that can help solve problems his company can't. And, he even wishes people happy birthday.

Don’t Discount the Importance of Selling Offline

We have spent the brunt of this blog post discussing online selling and the difference between that of offline sales, along with tips for successfully selling online. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t emphasize the importance of never abandoning your offline sales potential.

No matter how advanced and technological our society becomes, there will always be people who prefer dealing with someone in person, face-to-face. The tried and true tactics of offline selling—such as the 5 major ones mentioned in this post from the forums of American Express—still ring true today.

Combining Offline, Online, and Social Selling Is a Recipe for Success

You must have a combination of successful offline, online, and social selling tactics. Let’s recap the main points to keep in mind to combine the 3 as a recipe for success:

If you have all of the above tactics in place, you just can’t help but accelerate your business toward bigger and better success.

If you think you need assistance with your business, we offer free consultations. We go deep, performing a comprehensive audit of your business to discern what will work best for you. Read this blog post to understand more about the Ultimate Marketing Audit and Strategy Sessions of Viral Solutions.

 


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

Stay Up To Speed in the Ever Changing World of Marketing!

Sign-up today for FREE, monthly marketing tips, loopholes, and news to EXPLODE your Return on Investment!



Filed Under: Business Tips

About Thomas von Ahn

With more than 30 years of experience in B2B sales across various industries, Thomas has unique insight into both the offline and online sales sphere. It was during his time in the trenches that Thomas noticed a recurring theme: Though business owners are knowledgeable about their craft or trade, they often struggle to market and sell to their prospects. This realization is what prompted Thomas and his now business partner, Christine, to bring Viral Solutions to life. Since starting the company, Thomas has been able to assist countless business owners in developing a solid marketing plan based upon sound marketing strategy, then assigning the marketing tactics to a team of talented employees, and, finally, watching those actions unfold—his true passion.

Though Viral Solutions is on Thomas’ mind 24/7, he does occasionally take a break to cheer on the Green Bay Packers and enjoy his adopted home of Wisconsin. Much of his family also works at Viral Solutions, and this closeness with family and employees is the cornerstone of the Viral Solutions culture.