Covid re-wrote selling rule #1
While I'm not suggesting sellers get a pass on product, industry and client knowledge, I am suggesting that dexterity managing a "zoom-versation" and connecting with clients is much more important."
And thus, I present to you these bona fide “zoom engagement best practices” to help you succeed:
1. Get your "mug" as close to your camera as you can stand it. Yes, we all want to hide fill-in-the-blank features about our face we may not be proud of, but you need to sit close enough to the “dot” (i.e. camera) on your laptop so that the buyer can see you. Which brings up #2…;
2. Set-up front lighting. Engaging with your client means they need to see your eyes. Eyes tell the truth and that’s what buyers want. Put a small lamp behind your laptop so your face is illuminated;
3. Stare at the “dot”. For me and my MacAir, the “dot” is the small hole atop my laptop that captures my “mug”. Again, the buyer needs to see your eyes. I give you permission to take your eye off that dot only to take notes…but get back to the dot as fast as you can. The buyer is the dot!
4. Truly understand your meeting agenda. Buyers typically only care about one or two things your company does well…not seven of them. And typically, they have an objection or two (aka “perception issues”) about your value. Why spend time on anything other than what the buyer cares about? To help guide you, use an agenda slide that aligns you and the buyer and focuses your time. Buyers love this (who doesn’t?)…it’ll guarantee you will be efficient and not waste their time. (If every seller did this, maybe buyers would stop saying, “I only have ten minutes”.)
5. Go into battle with three or four slides… max! This is no time for decks. Heck, even before “covid-selling”…it was no time for decks. (Decks don’t sell. Never have.) The only time you should use a “story deck” (a produced slide-based narrative that cleanly covers the company’s USP), is when you’re introducing your company to a new prospect, OR you’re updating someone who’s been out of the loop for a long time. Since we’ve determined under #4 that you’re going to be more focused and efficient regarding things that matter, there’s no need to waste time building and tweaking slides. While it's important to have good-looking slides, buyers care mostly about how you understand their issues and can solve them.
6. Improve your questions. Prepare questions ahead of time that not only align with your meeting agenda and goals, but focus on buyer opinions and perceptions. Better questions equal better mutual conversation. By finding out what the buyer truly cares about, you shift the focus on them and thus can engage in better conversations;
7. Stop selling. This is normally met with a "HUH?", but do you ever notice the tone in your voice when you shift from conversation mode to pitch mode? I do. I like my voice better in conversation mode (it sounds too disingenuous and selfish in “pitch” mode). Look at it this way, when you’re a buyer, isn’t it nice hearing something like… “the reason you’ll benefit from this is ______” and “…you’re gonna gain value from this because ________”. It’s called “sales-speak”...learn the language! (It’s a dominant platform of what I teach in my workshops.)
8. Don’t interrogate the client. Yes, I want you to ask better questions, but that's not giving permission to ask tons of questions. There is such a thing as “question fatigue” when a buyer starts to retract after getting pelted with rapid-fire questioning. Learn to spread your questions out and integrate them throughout your visit;
9. Slow down. The pace you set says a lot about your comfort and confidence. You’re in the trust game. Acting measured and in control will only help you manage the meeting in a way that earns the trust you want.
Is it easy to be engaging and to engage through online video platforms? Is it simple to get clients to open up and trust you when our interaction is limited to a small box on your screen? Absolutely not. But I posit some of these tweaks are easy to execute and can’t be ignored. And of course, I understand the above best practices don’t operate through an on/off switch.
This is why I advise practice through “zoom-plays”, the only way to perfect behaviors that are guaranteed to bring success in this wacky covid life of ours. Luckily for you, I am versed in "zoom-play” teaching and am available to consult with you at any time.
Hang in there. Ciao.
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