Sales  

Own your virtual sales call before you even get to the pitch

by Ron D'Andrea| September 07, 2020

Meetings software has found its own in 2020. If we thought business ground to a halt in the last few months … imagine what it would have been like without video conferencing apps and software—yes, we’re looking at you Skype, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, Starleaf, Kitsi Meet, Zoom, Bluejeans, Cisco Webex, Teams and Slack. Thank you!

They kept the world going, so it feels only fair we do them a favor and learn to use them properly. Especially on important virtual sales calls.

  1. Know your tech

In the last few months, we’ve seen too many salespeople prove they don’t know the tech they’re working with for a virtual sales call. It’s absolutely crucial you know the intricacies of the platform you use most often, of course.

But there are so many other platforms, too, so take time to get familiar with them. A few minutes on YouTube will teach you the basics—and that’s really all you need to know to ace it.

Download the app some time before your meeting and run a trial call to make sure you’re happy everything works, and you can come across professionally.

 

  1. Make sure your mic works

If the person you’re talking to—the person you want to sell to—can’t hear you properly, you’ll lose the sale. Distortion and low-quality sound are distracting and challenging, and they do nothing when you’re trying to tell your story, share your pitch and make your prospect see the value in your proposition.

Test your mic! All platforms have a mic test function to ensure everything is working well. If the sound isn’t great, invest in a good mic or quality call headset. You’ll be glad you did.

 

  1. Get your camera ON

So much of sales is about creating a relationship, which is why we still used to travel so often to see our potential and existing clients. Virtual sales calls may not be the best medium for developing a relationship, but they work better if you can see each other.

We don’t need research to tell us we communicate with more than our words. But you might be surprised to know that 55 percent of communication is through body language, 38 percent is tone of voice and only seven percent is the words we choose.

Even in the virtual world, you can enthusiastically engage with the person you’re talking with and with the product or service you’re selling.

Nonverbal Advantage author Carol Kinsey Goman says that, even in a virtual meeting, you should sit up straight, put your feet on the floor, hold your posture to help you exude confidence to the people you’re engaging with. And to smile and use your facial expressions.

Similarly, Babson College analyzed the verbal and nonverbal behavior in around 200 sales pitches and found the strongest indicator for a successful engagement was not credentials or what they were selling, it was confidence and enthusiasm … and if you don’t switch on your camera, you lose so much of that.

Get your client to switch their camera on, too.

 

  1. Sharing PowerPoints

If you need to share your screen, know how to do it. We are beyond the shared-incompetence thing. Show up and be in control.

Know the flow of your presentation—have it up on a separate screen so you can see what’s coming next if that helps. Share the correct version—the participant’s rather than the presenter’s view—to ensure you come across as competent.

If you’re sharing a video, test the sound ahead of time so other people on the call can also hear it clearly.

If you lose time to technology and logistics in the call, you lose the attention and interest of your potential buyer.

 

  1. Backgrounds

Nobody wants to see a messy home office, your kitchen table with bowls piled up behind you. If you are restricted to taking calls in places that might not be ideal, use a branded background or an inspirational image that gets small talk moving.

 

  1. Cut down on noise

Where possible, take your sales call in a quiet place. Shut your windows so ambient noise—cars, sirens, shouting in the street—doesn’t interrupt your discussion. If you use a branded background, there’s no reason you couldn’t even take the call in a bathroom, with the door locked.

If you have family around, let them know you’re on a call and ask them to keep it quiet.

But if a family member does wander in, it’s OK. Everyone understands. We’re all human and we’re all going through this together. Make it OK—introduce them or use it as an opportunity to further build your relationship, to talk about family a little. Be natural.

And that’s the same for your entire virtual sales call: be natural. Feel like you’re in a real-life sales meeting and push yourself to a place where tension rules and success is the only solution.

 

What’s the best call you’ve had and what made it so good?

About the author

Ron D'Andrea

30+ years of experience helping salespeople transform their sales dialogues and engage with even the most challenging professional buyers.