Janel Dyan is an executive brand strategist whose work has been seen by millions through public experiences at Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forums; you can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
As coronavirus spreads, more businesses are likely to move to virtual meetings — and sales and marketing leaders still need to generate revenue.
To excel in virtual meetings, try and have them over video as much as you can; be sure to dress professionally and not have a distracting background.
You don’t need a giant pair of headphones, but you should still establish community using icebreakers.
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As companies rush to protect their employees from the spreading coronavirus, there are a wide range of impacts to the business. With the cancelation of conferences, restriction of non-essential travel, reduction of company events, and the establishment of remote work arrangements, there’s a real possibility that in-person customer meetings will be canceled or, more ideally, moved to virtual meetings. This is the new “normal” for the coming days, weeks, or even months.
The majority of the companies’ sales and marketing leaders are still tasked with generating revenue and keeping their pipeline and topline strong. The reality is that our current environment is driving risk in every deal. Good leaders are paranoid and are overly concerned about their pipeline and effectiveness of their sales organizations in this new situation. Customers and prospects are going to be more cautious in their buying decision and sales reps aren’t going to be able to be face-to-face to help leverage the relationship to close the deal.
So, it is now more important than ever that we perfect our video conferences skills to make sure our stories come through and that our selling style isn’t lost. Effective communication during this time can even be a differentiator. Every video conference is an opportunity to accentuate your brand and limit the impact of not meeting in person.
How you run your virtual meetings will be more critical than ever. Video etiquette isn’t typically a part of sales training or enablement. Here are 7 tips on how sales can improve the chance of closing business remotely:
1. Get into the meeting early and set the stage
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Don’t be shy — ask explicitly for a video call upfront. Maybe even add the term “video conference” to the calendar invite subject. Phone is better than email, but video helps bridge some gaps. Using video conferencing (such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Join.me, and LifeSize) helps to create a more personalized conversation and increase the level of participation. Join the meeting early to set up your image how you like it. Being the first one in also tells those joining that it’s OK, if not expected, that they turn on their camera too. Always offer a properly formatted click-to-dial phone option should one be needed.
2. What you wear sets the tone
Just because the office is closed does not mean what you wear and how you appear changes. Therefore, how we appear — including what we wear — needs to be the first step in connecting with your customer. Human nature shows that without the establishment of trust, believing the truth will be an uphill battle. What you wear and how you appear on the video is even more crucial when your audience can’t see how you walk, physically engage with others, and get a sense of your energy. It makes a huge difference to come across put together (at least above the waist), ready to take the helm and 100% dedicated to their needs. When the world is chaotic on the outside, they need to see “normal.” When you get dressed that morning, think, “What is my story today? What conversation do I want to have? What do I want that first impression to be with my client? What style will compliment my brand and my company’s brand?”
3. What they see behind you matters
What they see in the background shouldn’t be ignored. This backdrop is an opportunity to give insights into your personal world with vulnerability and authenticity. All too often we get on a video call and we are instantly hit with negative reactions and distractions. Some may have backlighting that makes you want to look away or lighting so dim your eyes strain to find their face. Some only have half their face showing and others have so much clutter behind them that all you do is peruse their bookshelves. It’s ok to have some personal effects behind you, but also make it clear that this is your work space and you’re thinking about how to do business.
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