It’s not your imagination. Virtual audiences are notoriously passive. Not only is this uncomfortable for a presenter, but it’s also ineffective, especially in sales.
The most successful sales calls include a high level of interaction between the seller and the buyer. In fact, in their analysis of 67,149 demos, Gong.io didn’t find a single demo that led to a closed deal when the seller spoke for more than 76 seconds uninterrupted. Based on that, you may have some room to go in improving the amount of interaction in your sales calls.
Drop the Wishful Thinking
“I want this to be interactive…”
“Please ask questions as we go…”
While these are certainly reasonable requests and a noble attempt to up interaction, be prepared for them to fall on deaf ears. This is white noise to customers by now. You must take more directive action that makes interaction feel like an expectation, not a choice. And this very often has little to do with technology, and more to do with you.
Here are 6 fast and easy technology-free ways guaranteed to make your virtual meetings more interactive:
1. Interact Early. During those crucial first few minutes of any meeting, you are teaching your audience how you expect them to participate. Most virtual audiences arrive the meeting fully prepared to settle into their role as a passive observer. Shake this expectation up early by planning engagement in the first minute.
2. Start with A Slam Dunk. Start with an easy “yes or no,” “A or B” question early on. Your goal is not necessarily to learn from the answer, but to get your audience used to interacting, so make it easy. Getting your audience in the habit of interacting early will increase their responsiveness as you move on to questions requiring greater introspection.
3. Ask Simple Questions. I don’t mean that all your questions have to be softballs. I mean that your questions should be easy for your customer to remember and formulate a response to without you having to repeat the question. Multi-part or lengthy questions that require too much work on you receiver’s part are likely to go unanswered.
4. Expect an Answer. When you are not fully committed to receiving an answer to your question, your voice often lacks the right tenor and necessary uptick to indicate you expect an answer. This introduces just enough doubt to allow your customer to feel comfortable not answering. Approach each question with complete determination to receive an answer from your customer and you will see your response rate soar!
5. Look at The Camera. Would you ask your customer a question in-person while staring at your shoes? No? Well, asking a question while looking at your customer’s image on your screen is the equivalent. To ensure that your customer knows that you expect a response to your question, always deliver it while focused on the camera. This is especially critical when you have a larger audience. Looking at the camera makes each person feel like you are speaking just to them, thus increasing your likelihood of a response.
6. Embrace the Pause. Letting a question hang in silence for more than a few seconds is even more nerve-racking on video than it is in person because you can’t see your customer processing your question or considering their response. But you must remain strong! If you jump in to answer your own question, your customer will happily let you handle the remainder of your questions as well, and you are short-circuiting a very important internal process that takes place for each member of your audience.
There are hundreds of virtual tools out there, all promising to make your virtual meetings as engaging and as interactive as sitting down with a buyer in person. Yes, new and updated technology and other tools can enhance the virtual selling experience but be wary of getting side tracked by every new gadget on the market. To really achieve more interactive virtual meetings, sellers must first set aside technology and focus relearning how to engage a customer. These 6 technology-free solutions are guaranteed to help you successfully connect, engage, and interact on video.
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