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The Postwire Blog

Eyeball Your Prospect – Virtually

Posted by Cliff Pollan on 29, May, 2014 8316110_m


Turn on your camera.

Yesterday, I was on my third meeting with a prospective client.  They set it up on their Bluejeans account. Different than many virtual meetings, it was a video call by default.

Early in April, I  had a four way meeting with a prospect on their Zoom account.  All four of the participants were in different locations including two in Europe and two in the United States.  One of the participants in Europe was at his office desk on his computer, the other was on his mobile device in the hospital room of a relative, the third was sitting in his car in New Jersey and I was in my home office.  All of us were using video during the call.

A call out to sales representatives, account managers, customer success advocates, sales VP’s, CFO’s and CEO’s.  It is time to turn on the video cameras available on your virtual meeting services.  Just like you would not go into a meeting with a paper bag on your head, don’t go into a meeting with a prospect or client with your camera off.

For me, Zoom and Bluejeans, like Google Hangouts, are virtual meetings where video is a natural part of the meeting.  Many traditional services – Go To Meeting and WebEx – have added live video. My experience is that very few people use the live video feature  and even less use it with prospects.  Users of these services are accustomed to not having cameras and have settled into a very different pattern of usage.  Much of that usage is to do product demonstrations and share pitch decks.

If you are wondering how dramatically turning on your camera can be in terms of reactions you will get, take a look at this clip from Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.   Robinson Cano, a star player for the NY Yankees, left the team last year to sign one of the largest contracts in sports history.  He was returning to play his former team for the first time.  Often, returning players are booed by their fans.  The test is what would people say to Robinson Cano when they could not “see him” and when they did.  Take a look:

Notice how people can boo Robinson Cano as a make believe cutout, but when they see  him in person they immediately hug him.  Easy to boo someone  you don’t see.  Let prospects warm up to you by letting them see your face.  It will also increase your energy level.  And, having your camera on will encourage your contact to turn on their camera.

What are the benefits of  turning that camera on?

You will:

1.  Make a personal connection.

2.  Focus on the discussion at hand, minimizing distractions.

3.  Remain engaged.

4.  Get a measure of how you are doing.  If you have your camera on and after a while they say something like – “Oops, I did not realize I had my camera off”  that is a sign your are making a connection.  Also, they might turn it on in the next meeting.

5.  Stop pitching and demonstrating –  Start collaborating and creating a conversation

Having your camera on will cause you to really up your game.  You are going to have to make good use of your time.

We were falling back on pitch decks and software demonstrations, as for many it became a performance.  It is much harder to listen, ask the right questions and only share your product when it is completely necessary.  And then only for a very short period of time.

This seemingly small change will cause a dramatic shift in how we sell.  Back to the basics. Assessing needs, helping people see the opportunities for change and helping support their journey to a decision.

Many salespeople are hesitant to turn on their cameras.  Here are the reasons:

1.  I don’t like how I look on camera.

2.  I am not dressed properly.

3.  It is not necessary.

4.  My prospect or client does not want or need to see me.

5.  My surroundings are not set up for me to show.

Jill Konrath’s new book – Agile Selling –  centers on the need for reps to be agile – always ready to change.

I think the return to all meetings being face to face virtually will usher us back to the need to be at the top of our game as good consultative sales people.  It never went away, but the virtual world made it easier for the prospect to think they were invited to a performance rather then participate in a discussion.