Building Virtual Relationships with Eye Contact
There are very few behaviors that have as dramatic an impact on building virtual relationships with customers as making eye contact with them does. Direct eye contact conveys confidence, credibility, attention and interest. It even triggers the hormone Oxytocin in your audience’s brains that make them feel more connected, open, and relaxed with you. And of course, the lack of eye contact is associated with many negative things we don’t want popping into our customer’s head during a virtual meeting, like dishonesty, uncertainty, nervousness. Building virtual relationships with eye contact is vital to your success.
If you’ve tried to make eye contact with the camera on your own, you’ve probably realized it isn’t easy. Perhaps you’ve even given up and decided it’s not worth it.
Can you still build a trusted virtual relationship without making eye contact?
Sure, but it takes longer – and in sales, where you rarely have the luxury of time – you have to rely on your words to do all the heavy lifting.
Despite all the benefits of making direct eye contact, most prospects see their salesperson’s forehead, and downcast eyes in virtual meetings.
That’s because these “Screen Starers” are focusing on their customer’s image on their screen. And it’s easy to see why. We have been reinforcing that behavior of looking at someone’s face when we speak for a lifetime!
Yet, it feels to your customer as if you are either uninterested, distracted, and perhaps checking email or a text.
You may be thinking, “Why do I have to look at the camera?
My prospect knows that I’m looking at their image!” There are two problems with this line of thought. 1. It’s highly unlikely that anyone outside of your inner circle is going to bother to make excuses for you – and certainly not a new prospect! 2. That’s assigning a logical response to a behavior deeply rooted in our emotions since birth, that when people look at us, they are paying attention to us. Fighting against this is a losing battle.
And for most salespeople, trying to make eye contact on their own is a losing battle. If you’re ready to learn how professionals make eye contact and read body language while improving engagement and impact in virtual meetings, check out my new course, Virtual Presence for Sales Pros!