When leveraged successfully, virtual selling – especially for strategic sellers, will afford you significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. Start with your camera!
If you’re like me, you are probably tired of hearing about the pandemic and the “new normal,” and your head will likely explode if you have to sit in front of a screen all day to sell for much longer.
The fact is, this is the most significant change to impact the sales profession since the Internet, and even then, ecommerce didn’t happen in less than 90 days!
In an instant, we have gone from thriving in what was one of the greatest economies of all time, to having to worry about the financial health of our business and our clients. At the same time, we are worrying about our own physical health and financial well-being, along with that of our family, friends, and co-workers.
Many sales professionals are having to learn to rely on selling virtually, oftentimes for the first time in their careers. I still remember that nauseating feeling I got when I was promoted from inside to outside sales and had to sit in front of a live customer for the very first time. I’m seeing some of that today as we are forced to sell virtually.
Which brings me to the camera! People respond to us and decide how they feel about us based 55% on our body language, 38% on our tone, and only 7% based on our words.*
Think what you lose when you do not use your camera to sell today! Without it, you are just another voice on the phone or web.
Remember, your clients have two decisions to make. Do I buy IT (what you sell), and do I buy IT from YOU?
By the way, for those of you still believing this is temporary, and life will soon return to the “old normal,” just look at how many companies have announced delays in office returns, with some even saying they will never fully return to the office.
Selling virtually can give you access to the right decision-makers and influencers faster. You can get more of the right people, both on the client side and on your side, into your sales meetings. Which means you can achieve a higher level of sales activity and shorten your sales cycles.
You can also build stronger relationships virtually. I have found that most people working remotely are more relaxed, more open, and more forgiving than they might be in an office environment.
Cats on the keyboard, barking dogs, and crying children can create an opportunity to connect and form personal bonds, versus something we should fear.
And if you are worried about how your home office environment looks, almost every web conferencing app enables you to show a virtual background of your choosing or a green screen effect.
Of course, there is more to virtual selling than just your camera: Your presence is important. How you create the right tone and dynamics for the meeting. How you leverage the right messages to engage your clients both intellectually and emotionally. Setting and navigating to the right outcomes – both yours and your client’s. And how you create the right relationships and build trust and credibility, even though you are not in front of your client.**
The first step though… is the camera. Even if your client does not use theirs, you should use yours. Are you using a web conferencing app but not the video function? Are you only offering your clients an audio number? If so, there are too many benefits you are missing out on. Let them see you, and hopefully they will let you see them!
I also recommend using your camera for your internal calls. That way you can practice with a “safer” audience, as well as help create a cultural shift and competitive advantage for your entire organization.
It may be a bit intimidating for some, and certainly requires adoption of a new set of skills and behaviors. As I stated earlier though, I am absolutely convinced that those who can learn to master the art and science of virtual selling will create significant and sustainable advantage that will enable you to outperform your competition.
Lights, Action, Camera!
* Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication.
** These topics are covered in depth in our new half-day Strategic Selling Done VirtuallyTM Workshop.
Commit to using your camera for all your selling activities, both internal and external with clients. Practice first with meetings that are “safe” until you are comfortable with your presence.