Happy Tuesday everybody! Tim Guim here and I today I want to talk to you all about “virtual selling”.
A couple of weekends ago I read a great book called Virtual Selling by Jeb Blout. This book is about this pandemic and how that has affected the way we market and conduct sales meetings. One of the biggest take-aways this book gave me is that it is imperative to use the right medium in the right situation. Sometimes an email can be too impersonal, or other times a video call can be overkill. Know your audience and know the context.
I enjoyed this book so much that I gave a copy to every member of my sales and marketing team because for all of us this is unchartered territory. Without the opportunity to be face to face and read all the nuances of someone’s body language, it can be difficult to move the sales process along.
I am not going to lie to you, I am not the best at video calls, so I wanted to improve my skills because Zoom doesn’t seem to be going by the wayside anytime soon. A large portion of Virtual Selling talks about video conferences and how you can set yourself up for a successful call. Blout keeps it real and honest with personal anecdotes and a dash of off-color humor, not usually found in a business book.
When talking about video conferencing, there are technical aspects that play into it, but also human aspects as well that are important to make your best impression.
The technical aspects of video calls are extremely important. It is crucial to have a pre-video plan to make sure that you are ready to go. Is your computer plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi? Are your camera, microphone, and lighting working and charged if need be? If you are connecting from your home office and live with other people, make sure they aren’t audible in the background. This may seem like common sense, but we’ve never had to rely so heavily on video calls before, so starting from the ground up is the way to go.
Your background and framing are also paramount for a successful call. You don’t want a cluttered backdrop, such as a desk with paperwork or a pile of your kid’s toys behind you. This distracts from what you are saying and adds to the “cognitive load” of the person on the other line, aka they have too much to process at once. You want the video to seem as close to an in-person meeting as you can get.
The human aspects of a video call are just as important as the technical. It is the little things that you often overlook that can make a big impact. For example, eye contact. Of course, in an in-person sales meeting, you would make eye contact, but it is much harder to do over a video call. You must make a conscious effort to look into the camera and not at the screen, no matter how attractive you are. Pants. Another “obvious” rule of video calls, but you would be surprised how many people don’t wear pants since it isn’t a full–body shot. Your mind knows if you aren’t wearing pants and that may hinder you from being fully in business mode. Some other tips are to wave at the beginning and end of a meeting, to mimic a handshake. Lastly, SMILE. A video call is not a death sentence (although it may feel like it sometimes)!
These are just a few of the techniques and tips for video calls that resonated with me. Blout goes on to discuss many other forms of virtual selling such as social media, phone calls, and emails and how to improve yourself as well as the company. This book is a great read and insightful to what companies in 2020 can use to upgrade their sales techniques. Most of the advice he offers is so attainable that you could start implementing it tomorrow. It’s all about little changes that you can do every day to make your business the best it can be!
I’ll leave you with one of the closing lines from the book, “when you blend virtual selling into your sales process, you will become more agile and productive.”