Show, don’t tell: it’s the number one rule of effective storytelling. And now, with the help of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), it’s a tool for sales teams everywhere to help sell their customers on solutions to their every need.
First off, what is solution selling? It’s the act of pitching solutions, rather than products—finding a customer’s pain point and showing them how a certain product or service can fix it. What better way to help customers understand the solution—and how much easier it will make their lives—than by “experiencing it” first hand? Thanks to AR and VR, that is now possible. In fact, it’s expected to become so popular that AR sales alone are predicted to hit nearly $140 billion by 2021. In fact, my colleague Shelly Kramer believes AR will continue to outpace VR due to ease of use and accessibility in the coming years. The following are just a few ways sales teams can use these new technologies to increase sales, cross-sells, upsells, and everything in between.
They’re the words every sales team hates to hear: “We found a cheaper provider.” In fact, when push comes to shove, most companies will be pressured to go with the lower price, regardless of value. AR and VR can give sales teams the tools to show what differentiates them from the pack. It helps the buyer experience the difference first-hand—how the product makes life easier or better—without hearing about it via a PowerPoint deck. Imagine being able to allow customers to experience your company’s surround sound speakers… your accommodation’s lake view… your catering service’s food spread. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a VR experience is worth millions.
More Effective Training
For those selling training programs, especially ones requiring complex or dangerous skill training, AR and VR are not just valuable, they are lifesavers. Using VR, members of the military can learn to maneuver through enemy territory without ever being in harm’s way. Astronauts can practice space missions without ever leaving earth. Doctors can practice complex surgeries without jeopardizing patients’ lives. That training in turn provides the confidence they need to do the job effectively in real life. In fact, one study showed that when assembling virtual airplane wings, students with AR training had a “sharp reduction” in errors over those who did not. For visual and physical learners, this is especially beneficial.
Sometimes it’s hard for customers and clients to envision your concept, no matter how clear it seems on paper. This is especially true for those in real estate, architecture, and engineering. Using AR, real estate firms can help buyers understand how the property would look with any number of modifications or allow architects to show what their building would look like in full size. The same holds true for almost every area of retail: using AR, customers can “try on” furniture, clothing, cars, and almost any other large purchase without ever having to see the product first-hand. See my colleague Olivier Blanchard’s piece about AR and VR in the future of retail here.
Forget paper brochures and fliers. By effectively using AR and VR, companies can help ensure that by the time they reach the sales agent, customers are already sold on their product. Incorporating AR and VR into their websites and apps, companies can provide the entire experience to the customer up-front—leaving them just one step to close the deal: click to purchase.
In fact, over time, it’s my guess AR and VR will become the ultimate sales tool. As with anything in the digital transformation, the technology driving AR and VR will become easier to use. Rather than clunky goggles, it’s likely some version of AR and VR sales tools will be available via mobile device, much as Pokémon Go when it launched last summer. Google is already ahead of the game with its Tango app, which can create 3-D designs of rooms and spaces using in-device sensors. The tool could be valuable for interior designers, for instance, in instantly measure, decorating, and presenting options for clients’ rooms.
When it comes to AR and VR, the world truly can be your oyster—no matter how slippery or unsettling that may feel at first. The goal is to visualize how AR and VR can be used as tools for meeting your company’s needs. How can they solve your own sales pain points? How can they help you succeed?
Additional Resources on This Topic:
Virtual Showroom: VR, AR, and the Future of Retail
Why Augmented Reality is Going to Far Outpace Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality: Changing the Practice of Medicine
This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.
Image credit: https://stocksnap.io/
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.