Some may remember the first video/song ever played on MTV, was The Buggles
Video Killed the Radio Star. The message was clear, we are visual creature, and prefer a visual presentation over other means. This is why some singers who were great at singing and expressing themselves via vinyl or CD struggled to make the transition to video, while others, who were so so when it came to singing, but had a great presence and could “please” the screen. Where once lyrics and delivery determined the success of the performer, now it was down to visuals, at the cost of all else.
Close Yet Far
It seems that telephone prospecting and selling are experiencing a similar thing but in reverse, and with added risk.
As more and more of the sale goes virtual, the less we have the opportunity to leverage one of our greatest strength as people and communicators, namely the visual. While opinions may vary slightly, most experts agree that somewhere between 75% – 90% of communication is non-verbal; and the vast majority of that is body language, intonation and vocal quality and characteristics. All good things when it comes to face to face selling, not so good for those who now need to sell without ever seeing their counterparts.
I know that many who use systems like Zoom or join.me, will say that they have and encourage the use of videos to enhance the experience, most still seem to just see these technologies as extensions of PowerPoint, and even when the video is turned on, it is less than the face to face experience.
This is why focusing on the message and the medium, as many do, still leaves gaps in their approach. It Is important to also ensure that we compensate for the lack of immediacy and direct visual contact; and I don’t mean just talking louder.
Starting with the basics of slowing down the pace and deepening your voice, and then going beyond. You need to also focus on your intonation, what you put an emphasis on, where you place your gaps, silence between thoughts, words, and concepts, pronunciations and more. Words count too, but not in the way many are looking for, the perfect or secret set of words that unlock the kingdom. More in using words that fit with the buyers’ expectations, words that they would use to describe the scenario, not words your company came up with to “differentiate”. Remember if they don’t understand you, they won’t understand what you sell, or why they should buy.
There are also words that work better in direct conversation that lack impact on the phone, and the other way around. Given the ease with which calls and web meetings can be captured these days, it is worth exploring how different ways of presenting things change the sales based on the words used, when and in combination with e=what other things.
Often what counts is what you don’t say. One way to ensure engagement in a remote scenario is to create opportunities for the prospect to ask questions. As a subject matter expert, you should be in a position to know which elements to lead with, and which to leave to the end, and which to leave to the prospect to ask. This is one way to encourage the flow missing in remote selling situations, that is quite natural when two people are sitting face to face.
By using your 360 Degree Deal View, you will be able to understand what some of the key moments in a good sales call, understand what is enhanced by the virtual setting, and what is diminished, and create a flow for each type of sales meeting. Once you have that, then comes the hardest part for many sellers, practice.
Taking it back to radio, those actors who were successful in radio drama, think Orson Wells, knew they had to make up for the lack of visuals in order to deliver a drama that worked on radio without a single visual aid. While video may have killed the radio star, don’t let the web meeting kill your sale.