9 Apr 2020
Sharpen Your Remote Sales Skills: Videoconferencing Tips for Agents
Read time: 4 minutes, 18 seconds
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the way we live and work. While sheltering-in-place and social distancing are necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus, it’s created a new world of challenges for Pan-American Life Insurance Group agents and other sales professionals who conduct business largely through face-to-face meetings.
The question is: how do you explain products, present quotations and close sales when you can’t use your primary sales tool—your expert interpersonal skills?
The answer is: you find other ways to communicate. You sharpen your remote selling skills—like videoconferencing, which may be the next best thing to face-to-face meetings. If you haven’t already, be open to using this new technology.
Sales via telephone are still a tried and true way to continue conducting business and speaking with prospect. Many of the same skills you use over the phone can also be applied to videoconferencing, with one major change – being able to see whom you are speaking with and get one step closer to a face-to-face interaction.
That means you can read your prospect’s facial expressions and body language, adjusting your talking points in response to nonverbal cues. To some degree, you can recreate the experience of sitting around the kitchen table together.
There are many videoconferencing platforms to choose from, and most are easy to use.
Always exercise due diligence in protecting your videoconference. Utilize security features that will make your videoconference private. This should include a strong meeting password and controlling admittance of guests to your videoconference. Also, use secure measures to send the videoconference invitation to your prospect, and review the platform’s settings to limit screen-sharing capabilities to only you as the host. Lastly, ensure that the software version of the platform is up to date, as well as your anti-virus.
The primary requirement to use these platforms is a camera and microphone, which chances are, your laptop already has. If not, your smartphone will do.
Tips for Videoconference Sales Calls
For a successful videoconference you can use the tips outlined below while always remembering your own skills when face-to-face or over the phone with a prospective client.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You don’t want to fumble a single sales call because you’re not comfortable with the technology. If the platform offers tutorials, take them. Enlist a fellow agent or friend to practice scheduling and conducting meetings. (If you have a teenager in your household, there’s no shame in asking for help—they’re experts!)
Dress for Success
Dress for your videoconferences with the same level of formality that you would for a face-to-face sales call. Shave, put on makeup—whatever you usually do, do now. For one thing, it shows respect for your prospect. For another, it will help put you in your familiar sales zone.
Put Your Best Face Forward
It’s important to position your camera strategically. Make sure your face is lit from the front or side; backlighting makes it hard for your viewer to see you. To make sure that the camera is positioned at a flattering distance and angle, put the camera in selfie mode and experiment until you get it right.
Set the Stage Behind You
While the camera is in selfie mode, see what’s behind you. Avoid videoconferencing from personal areas of your home. If your office is cluttered, clear whatever appears in the camera frame. Many apps allow you to choose a virtual background, but a neat, professional home office will probably inspire the most confidence.
A quick view of your cute dog, cat or child can be a nice icebreaker, but you really want your prospects to focus on what you’re saying. Remove the background noise and distractions, and make sure the little ones are occupied elsewhere. If you’re household isn’t ever entirely quiet, consider muting yourself when you’re not speaking or using headphones.
Practice Maintaining “Eye Contact”
Eye contact plays an important role in sales calls, but is tricky to achieve using electronic devices. Your instinct will be to meet your prospect’s eyes as they appear on your monitor, but because the camera is located above your screen, your eyes will appear downcast. To get in the habit of looking at your camera, stick something eye-catching there, or move your playback image directly under it. You might also tape your notes to the side of the laptop screen, so you don’t need to look down at your prompts.
Send Reading Materials Well in Advance
If you have materials for your prospect to read in advance of your call, provide them well in advance. If you email them 30 minutes before your appointment, they won’t get read or your prospect will read them during the call instead of listening.
Plan Your Presentation in Detail
Be just as prepared as you would for an in-person call—maybe even more so. To keep your presentations focused, take advantage of Pan-American Life’s sales presentations, which you can display onscreen via the videoconferencing app. Make sure your browser is in full screen mode, so prospects aren’t distracted by any other open tabs on your PC. And of course, wrap up your call with a clear call-to-action, just as you would in person.
Rise to the Moment
While it’s not quite the same as sitting down with a prospect over a cup of coffee, videoconferencing is arguably one of the most powerful remote selling skills agents can leverage right now.
Do you have any videoconferencing stories to share? If so, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be on the lookout for more security tips in our upcoming articles!