October 14

5 Virtual Selling Myths…True or False?

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5 Virtual Selling Myths…True or False?

There’s a lot of advice floating around about virtual selling and how to best connect with prospective buyers on camera. Some of it is helpful. Most of it is well meaning. But there’s a whole category of advice that clearly comes from people who have never had to make a living in front of a camera. Taking bad advice is costly as some of these “best practices” can damage your credibility and send buyers to their phones, or worse, to your competition. That’s why it’s vital that you separate the virtual selling myths from the reality.

As a professional actor, sales presentation coach, and fan of the television show MythBusters (who conclusively proved that your microwave will NOT blow up if you put a metal bowl in the microwave), I am setting out to “Bust” five of most commonly tossed about virtual selling myths.  Here they are, in no particular order.

5 Virtual Selling Myths: True or False?

Prospects know you’re looking at them when you’re looking at your screen.  FALSE

Because eye contact conveys credibility, confidence, interest and attention, you can’t afford to get this one wrong if you’re in sales. The camera is the eyes of your customer.  If you’re not looking at it, you are not making eyes contact with them. And no amount of wishful thinking will change that fact. 

No one outside of your inner circle is going to make excuses for you – and certainly not a new prospect!  My buyer isn’t going to see the top of your head on their screen and think to themselves, “I bet Julie’s looking at my image on her screen, even though it doesn’t feel like she’s looking at me.” That’s assigning a logical response to a deeply embedded emotional behavior.  Besides, very few people are going to put any thought whatsoever into why you’re doing what you’re doing. All they know is how it feels. And if you’re not looking them in the eye via the camera, they don’t feel seen or heard. 

If a customer has their camera is off, you should turns yours off.  FALSE

Certainly the urge to “face mute” is strong when no one else is on camera.  But having your camera on in sales is more than virtual etiquette.  It benefits both you AND your customer. Having your camera on makes it easier for your customer to connect with you and see you as an individual, not just another salesperson. Seeing your face and body language gives your words greater impact and adds context, meaning and emotion to your conversation. 

Yes, it can be initially uncomfortable and awkward to be the only one in the spotlight. But having your camera on for a sales meeting is ultimately not about your comfort level and experience. It’s about your customer’s experience and increasing their comfort level and trust with you. Putting your customer first requires putting your comfort second.

Too much eye contact is rude in virtual meetings. FALSE

Experts say you need to maintain eye contact with someone about 70% of the time if you want to build a relationship. Most people fall well short of that on video where I believe it’s even more important as we don’t share an environment with our prospect. Unlike in person, if you look away from the camera in virtual meetings, your customer has no idea what you’re looking at, but they know it’s not them! 

The reality is that you needn’t worry about making too much eye contact on video.  Your customer controls their own level of eye contact with you. Nobody will be staring into your eyes on their screen 100% of the time.  But, by keeping your eyes on the camera as much as possible, you are available to connect with them when they do look at you. 

Don’t use your hands on video. FALSE

I’m not sure where this advice come from, but it’s sadly responsible for an army of flat, lifeless virtual sellers and presenters.  “Don’t use your hands” is bad, unfounded advice for three reasons. 1) Many people need their hands to communicate. Trying to not use your hands takes away most of their energy and focus. 2) Used correctly, gestures can add context, emotion and meaning to your words. E) Research shows that just seeing someone’s hands can help build trust with your audience. 

The caveat to this is that you must learn to use your hands in a video-friendly way that supports what you’re saying, without distracting from it.  Learn more about video-friendly gestures here.

It’s OK to read from your slides or notes in a virtual meeting. FALSE

Yes, I know they’re right under your nose, but reading from your slides is a very poor experience for your customer, whether in-person or virtual. But is actually a more dangerous practice in virtual meetings where audience’s have so many ways to tune out. 

While presenters have learned to rely less heavily on their slides when presenting face-to-face, we have gone back to the starting line when it comes to virtual presentations. On video, staring at your slides is the norm, rather than the exception.  Even seasoned presenters are more likely to give into the temptation and set their focus on their screen…and keep it there.  

Don’t let these and other virtual selling myths keep you from successfully connecting with busy buyers. And stay up-to-date on all modern virtual selling best practices by subscribing to our blog.

This is just one of the tips that I include in my new book that won the 2021 Gold Medal Top Sales Book, Look Me In The Eye Using Video to Build Relationships with Customers, Partners and Teams. Feel free to check it out if you’re looking for more tips on how to engage customers and drive more sales on video.Get your copy today on Amazon


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