3 Effective Ways to Crush Your Lighting Sales With Virtual Presentations
How do you effectively transition from being in front of your clients 60% of the time to prospecting and closing all your sales 100% virtually?
That’s the question Sara Bishop, Amerlux’s longtime executive director of sales for its Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, asked herself when the COVID pandemic arrived, and its social distancing restrictions abruptly halted face-to-face interactions for the foreseeable future.
How do you reach all your customers and maintain a steady sales process in a virtual-only environment, one that she had never experienced in her 40-plus-year career in lighting?
“Keeping Amerlux at the forefront to our clients—most of whom, for the most part, are still working remotely—required us to rally and become immediately more creative in ramping up and utilizing our virtual presence.”
Here is a trio of effective virtual tactics Bishop and the Amerlux sales team used to continuously close sales from a distance and keep their sales pipeline functioning during historically uncertain times.
One Bright Way For You to Sell Big: Webinars
Architects and designers want to be educated, not sold—even though they’re in the market to buy.
If you’re aggressively promoting your LED lighting solutions to them early on, they’re likely to turn the other way.
With a plethora of information available at the click of a mouse, each is now in control of a critical process your sales team used to dictate: the buyer’s journey.
For lighting sales professionals, this shift has led to a substantial change: Use fewer traditional sales tactics and provide more educational resources to better guide the prospect through their buying journey—with you as the destination.
In other words, don’t convince them; instead, teach them.
One way to teach them is webinars—online learning opportunities available to the prospect on their schedule, whenever they may be, even on the go.
The subjects of the webinars varied from the productivity, educational and health care benefits of tunable white LED lighting to the ins and outs of color rendering to how to set the retail stage with LEDs and lighting controls.
In addition to helping develop confidence and trust in your brand, webinars also promise attendees a new, better strategy to solving a design challenge and continuing education credits from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Both are precisely what architects and lighting designers want from you.
“Pre-pandemic, we utilized AIA presentations to offer architects face-to-face accredited courses. This, in turn, gained Amerlux recognition as an architectural specification grade-U.S. based manufacturer to consider on their specifications. Even though these are somewhat technology-based educational presentations, you can make a large impression with your knowledge as well as Amerlux being willing and supportive to educate,” Bishop said. “Our marketing team has charged forward and imaginatively ramped up our virtual education presence using these great tools, all of which kept clients informed.”
One Big Tip for a Successful Virtual LED Product Launch
Many factors influence a specifier’s (i.e., architect or lighting designer) product of choice—starting with choosing the fixture or lighting technology that best suits the job or project at hand.
Prestige projects, for instance, often require customizable LED lighting solutions with high-end aesthetics that are of superior quality and offer a long-lasting lifeline.
Quickly getting detailed information about these types of products to specifiers is critical.
Knowing this, Bishop helped her sales team jumpstart several new digital marketing opportunities, organizing and drawing visitors for dozens of new product demos as well as Amerlux’s reoccurring Garage Series Showcase happy hour. Attendance ranged from small groups to larger-scale audiences of nearly 100 or more.
“These virtual opportunities provided our manufacturer representatives new tools to showcase on their website and review, one-on-one, with our specification influences,” Bishop said.
What’s the trick to a successful virtual product launch presentation?
“Give them a quick, 20-to-30-minute product-focused review, wherein they’re more attentive, and you’re not hedging in on their billable hours, taking them away from their projects,” Bishop said. ‘They like it that way.”
How To Give An Amazing Virtual Showroom Tour That Will Drives Sales
With their one-of-a-kind, 7,000-square-foot showroom and lighting experience center shuttered to its usual array of weekly tours, the sales and marketing team knew they had to craft a way to replicate the awe-inspiring walkthrough virtually, from the comfort of the attendees’ screen.
But how do you allow prospective buyers to interact with you and the facility and look at features of the products in detail without having to be on-site?
Her team came up with an idea: Offer guests the chance for Amerlux to mock up the space in a way that would better help them understand the lighting effect of their designs.
This tactic, Bishop said, underscores what she considers the most important thing to remember when giving one-on-one virtual tours: cater to the guest’s specific needs.
“Make it a quick tour, one that is more focused on their specific needs, not a full-product presentation,” said Bishop, adding the work is underway to host a larger-scale showroom tour. “We are thrilled to have the ability to guide more than 100 attendees through our showroom within an hour, all at once.”
How to Virtually Make the Best Lasting Impression
Bishop is quick to point out how the team’s virtual presentation sale success extends far beyond “these great tools.”
She credits how proactive and responsive her team is to every opportunity and inquiry, how they’re armed with the best-engineered LED lighting solutions, as well as an array of state-of-the-art LED controls from parent company Delta Electronics.
There’s also Amerlux’s lead-times, the best in the industry, and its assortment of top-quality LED fixtures, designed for nearly any application.
But, no doubt, she concurs: The virtual creativity has been a game-changer, for today’s times and beyond.
And she’s learned a few extra tips along the way that she’s ready to share.
“Focus more on one-to-one presentation in conjunction with how specification influences current needs for projects your clients are working on,” she said. “Don’t try to cover everything in a single presentation. Rather, spread them out to have smaller more concise presentations. That way, they will remember more.
“On large-scale events, invite and follow up with prospects and possible attendees until you have the audience you desire.” When you do, she says, “make a positive lasting impression.”
The above suggestions offer guidance on lighting a winning way to improved virtual presentations and higher sales.
Want to Learn More?
To learn about how salespeople can better position themselves as a resource for architects, read, “New Lighting Lingo: Talking Points for Sales Reps.”