Many of us are working from home and quickly learning the marvels of digital platforms for communication. At first this is exciting for first time users but very quickly it can become one of those regular activities. When something becomes regular we can quickly become less consciously competent. So I want to share with you some simple points to remain conscious of to do to ensure that you make the most of your time on video call;
Prepare for it. Just like any meeting, make sure you have a clear objective and put it across in conversation. Just because you haven't had to travel to this meeting, doesn't make it less valuable or less of an opportunity. Instead, it becomes a more valuable one and a very effective way to get the information you need. Lots of people are having first calls over video rather than on the phone currently, and that's great. Though to make it valuable and effective, you should still follow the same advice I gave for making calls: That is to qualify the opportunity and understand where and when it will fit into your pipeline. Also, prepare your tools. Make sure you are familiar with the platform you are using, just in case you need to share anything or simply get it working on time. You will have greater control over your pitch this way. By showing a prospect your digital references, you can ensure that you will get immediate feedback on their thoughts and learn more about their situation. Remember their opinions on your slides are imperative. Your verbal information on your slides is not so.
Schedule Transition time. Transition time will be significant to anyone who travels typically between meetings because you will know that when you move from one meeting or session to another, you can download and then recharge. During this time, you might generally download notes and confirm actions, take unexpected calls, and then give yourself enough time to get mentally prepared to attend the next session or meeting. In the same way, when you are working from home, you need to allow yourself that in- between time. You almost need to pretend that you have to travel to the next meeting and schedule in that travel time. Then use that travel time to get up stretch out, walk around, or meditate while you absorb what just happened and then move your thoughts to the next meeting. It is essential for the wellbeing of both mind and body, and it will undoubtedly make you more productive throughout the day. If you don't do this, you will burn out quicker while working from home.
Learn the pattern of behaviour. Learn the pattern of behaviour that your prospect displays. The prospect might speak in shorter sentences. Much shorter than you are used to so you ought to adapt quickly to acknowledging that behaviour as soon as you can and then respond accordingly. Mirror their practice to ensure you maintain a fair balance of airtime. Remember we want the customer talking more than you. Use questions which open them up more but look for behavioural patterns such as a person looking straight at you when they have finished the sentence. I always nod enthusiastically and smile when I've finished, so the other person knows that I have finished what I wanted to say. Its almost like having visual radio signs to say 'over to you'. You may also get a few more seconds of silence on a video call when you finish talking as there could be a slight delay in connection; All depending on variables such as internet connection, platform and location. If you don't acknowledge the delay though, you might find you start to talk over the other person. Be patient. Allow them breathing space and don't be afraid of the gaps. Gaps encourage people to talk to fill them. Make sure it's not you who fills the gap. The more they talk, the more you are getting from them.
Make relevant notes. Just because you are on a video call, it doesn't mean that your trusted sales note pad should be lost. Make notes like you would if you were in an office with the other person. I am a massive fan of note-taking during sales meetings because regardless of how good you think your memory is, there will always be something that you can miss. However, if your challenge is not so much about making notes but more about making the right ht notes then this might be useful: I refer to the 'right' notes as 'relevant' notes. By 'relevant' I mean any bits of information that the prospect gives to you which you didn't already have recorded. You can't always assess the depth of importance of the information you note down until you start to use the information to plan your next encounter. In which case you won't know what you might have had unless you note it down. Your format or language or shorthand does not matter. What is essential, though, is that you don't miss any valuable information that might be used later, as a variable during a negotiation.
Don't delay the close. If you are on a video conference and there is no need to meet face to face, then don't delay the close. It's so easy to end a video call with 'so let's meet up to finalise this!' Ask yourself 'do you need to?' First of all, it's worth remembering that right now you can't meet up for quite some time. Secondly, all good salespeople know that you must strike while the irons hot. Thirdly it's an old fashioned habit to think that a deal can only be confirmed with a physical handshake. Closing it on the call gives you more time to consolidate and follow up. I have closed one of the highest value deals I have had over an email; I was emailed a question which simply led to a close. Make sure you know what the next steps are to confirm your agreement. Be ready with all the necessary paperwork digitally prepared to send off and the best time to do it is while you are still on the call. If you have terms and conditions, talk them through causally. Know them so you can do that. Know what's valuable to them and be prepared to negotiate if you need to. Don't leave it to another day if you don't have to!