In sales, you have only one shot to deliver the right message. In the blockbuster hit Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick’s character and her all-female acapella group must stay perfectly on pitch in order to win the regional acapella competition. (Spoiler alert – they do!)
In order to win the virtual sale, you too must also stay perfectly on pitch – using the right delivery to convey the right message to the right prospect. Customers are distracted, short on attention, and much less likely to engage virtually. To complicate matters, it’s difficult to read body language and gauge interest. I’ve compiled 25 of my favorite tips for overcoming challenges and improving your success rate on virtual sales calls.
Stay on pitch! 25 tips for a perfect virtual sales call
- Find your confidence: Confidence is vital to virtual sales! Why? Because the camera picks up everything – including a lack of confidence. Unlock your confidence on camera with these 6 proven tips.
- Make eye contact 80% of the time: Good eye contact is non-negotiable in virtual selling. Why? It’s one of the quickest and most effective ways to build a relationship, so get comfortable looking at the camera. Actors can do it – so can you! Get some tips here.
- Know your stuff: With so much to coordinate and manage on a virtual call, don’t add the stress of not being familiar with your content or your platform. Scrambling for content or searching for the sharing button reduces your credibility and impacts your own confidence.
- Select a suitable background: Your background makes a strong statement about you, so choose wisely! Confused about whether to use a real or virtual background? Find out the bottom line here.
- Use a medium close-up. Position yourself so the bottom of the frame hits your chest or just below shoulders and there’s about a fistful of space between your head and the top of the frame. This medium close-up frame allows your customer to see enough of your face, gives you space to gesture, and maintains appropriate personal space between you and your customer.
- Record yourself: No one likes to watch themselves on video, but it’s necessary to see what other’s see. Be objective. Focus on messaging and delivery And don’t be too hard on yourself! Pick 1-2 things to work on at a time.
- Keep your energy up: The camera drains energy – and so do unresponsive audiences! You’ll have to bring your own energy and enthusiasm to each call so do a quick warm-up before your calls. An energetic tone of voice and positive expression gives a deeper impact and meaning to your words.
- Use purposeful gestures: Gestures are a great way to physicalize important points in your pitch – i.e. indicating distance, growth, or size with simple hand gestures. In need of some ideas? Learn the do’s and don’ts here.
- Smile! It’s your selling on video People who smile are perceived as friendly, approachable, caring. And yet, smiling is an uncommon expression in business.
- Hide your image: The time to check your image is before you’re on video – not during. No one likes what they see and it takes your attention away from your prospect. So hide your image (don’t turn off your video) so you don’t fall prey to its siren call.
- Direct your customer’s eyes: Sharing slides or showing a product? Use both verbal (“in the upper right corner” and physical cues (mousing, annotations, etc.) to let your customer know where they should look.
- Prepare an outline: You don’t have to write out every line of what you’re going to say, but it’s helpful to have a pitch flow prepared and to memorize the key points that you want to ensure land on your prospect.
- Keep talking points handy: Set up your notes as close to your camera as possible so you can quickly reference them if need be. Get what you need and then return your focus right back to the camera. No dilly-dallying or talking to your notes!
- Narrow your focus: Don’t try to cover too much. Focus on making a strong impression with 2-3 key ideas rather than a blur of topics. For more tips on how to make a strong virtual first impression, click here.
- Speak with punctuation: Punctuation isn’t just for writing! Too many virtual sales calls are a firehose of information with nary a pause. Instead of endlessly stringing things together, visualize a period at the end of a thought or sentence and STOP. Yes, silence feels deadly, but if you don’t leave some spaces in your pitch, your prospect will tune out – which is even deadlier. Read HOW to speak with punctuation here.
- Cut to the chase: Don’t spend too much time on small talk. Prospects often schedule back-to-back virtual meetings, so get to what your prospect is really interested in within the first few minutes. (Pro tip: having a compelling opener will help with this)
- Answer “so what?” With so many distractions available to your prospect, you need to constantly relate everything back to how it benefits them.
- Prepare questions: With so much to manage on a virtual call, don’t expect yourself to also come up with brilliant questions on the fly! Come prepared with specific questions to pepper throughout your pitch to keep your prospect engaged and learn more about them.
- Don’t answer your own questions: It’s tempting but resist the urge! You are training your prospects how you expect them to engage. Answer your own questions and you have set a dangerous pre
- Use open-ended questions: A successful virtual pitch is one where the prospect is talking at least half the time. Make it easy for them to engage by asking simple, open-ended questions.
- Keep your cool. Technology doesn’t always cooperate (regardless of preparation). When an obvious hiccup occurs, maintain your composure, take a deep breath and walk through it, keeping your prospect informed. They’ve likely been in your shoes!
- Have a back-up plan: What if the WIFI is down? Have your hot spot ready to go and your call-in number and phone on deck. What if your prospect has to cut the call short? Organize your pitch with the most important things first so you can get through priorities. You won’t panic – or waste the call – if you have a plan in place.
- Start with full camera: Make it easy for buyers to connect with you by starting out full camera instead of with a PowerPoint. It’s much more important that they see your eyes, your face, and your expression than your title slide!
- Summarize often: Summarizing is even more important on virtual calls as the listener’s attention tends to fluctuate more than in a face-to-face meeting. Good places to summarize: at the end of a topic, after answering questions, during your wrap up.
- The final piece of advice: HAVE FUN! If you’re not having fun, neither is your prospect. You don’t have to tell jokes, but this shouldn’t feel like a trip to the doctor either.
Want more help Selling on Video?
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If you are ready to tap into the power of building personal virtual relationships through the screen, I’ve laid the path out for you 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. In it you’ll find all the steps and tactics you need to engage your audience.
Get your copy today on Amazon!