• Gert Scholts

5 tips to look and sound like a sales professional should on Zoom

1. Focus on your camera, not on your prospects or customers


Every presentation coach will tell you that direct eye contact is vital to reinforce your point and build trust. In a video call, this means looking into the video camera, not at the smiling faces of prospects or customers. Speaking into a cold black circle will probably not feel natural or comfortable. We are trained to look at the people we are talking to. Entertainers, influencers and politicians have been talking to the camera for decades. It can be challenging to focus on your camera for an entire meeting — especially while others are talking — but know that you increase the impact of your points when you look deep into the dot. Practice looking into your camera during video calls when you speak, even for brief moments. The more you use it, the more comfortable you will become with it.

2. Maintain a strong voice


Strong voices convey authority, credibility, and confidence. This concept is just as true in virtual sales meetings as it is in actual ones. So even though you are using an external or internal microphone and thus may be tempted to speak at a conversational volume, maintain a strong, clear voice as if you are in a large conference room. Using a loud voice will also keep you from mumbling and from speaking too quickly due to the amount of breath required.



3. Frame yourself wisely


Proximity plays a big part in how audiences perceive you as a communicator. The further away or more obscured you appear, the less engaging you will be. In a video sales call, your head and the top of your shoulders should dominate the screen in the centre. If your head is cut off at the top or bottom, you are too close. If your entire torso is in view, you are too far away. If only half of your head is in sight, please adjust the camera. Have your eyes and the camera at the same level rather than looking down at the camera. It puts you in a much better light too. Also be mindful of your background. The bedroom or kitchen background may have been ok a few weeks ago. But now we set new standards. Cluttered rooms make communicators seem disorganised. Distracting elements will pull attention away from you. Find an environment where the background is simple, reflecting your professionalism. Consider a large piece of board or position yourself close to a wall behind you. I recommend getting a green screen and a film light. These will enable using a virtual background allowing you to demonstrate products, concepts or show slides. Your company logo in a corner will add that professional touch. And a daylight bulb with diffuser will complete a simple but professional looking set up. After all, you are representing your company. Amazon and eBay will sell you what you need for less than £50. Another simple solution to helping to have a personal space is running a cat5 cable internet cable (cheap and can be up to 100 metres long with quality loss) to your shed or garage. That space can easily be made your personal video cubicle.



4. Do not become your own distraction



In a live meeting, you never have to worry about talking while muted, annoying ambient noise, or the interference of pets and children. But these are all common pitfalls of virtual meetings, and they can quickly sabotage your point. Your job is to make sure you are remembered for what you did right and your products, not what went wrong. Be mindful of the power you have over both your virtual and physical environments.

Start by training yourself to stay quiet whenever you are not speaking and listen to understand. Encourage your prospects to do the talking until they want to know about you, your company, your clients and of course, your proposition

Finally, if boisterous children (or pets) want to participate in your call, your colleagues will probably laugh or relate, so do not be worried about or embarrassed by spontaneous distractions. However, if you are tasked with giving a major presentation to prospective customers, try to have someone supervise them in another room, far from the temptation of your presence, or at least create an engrossing activity for them. Parenting and presenting cannot happen simultaneously, and truly important messages require not only your colleagues’ full attention, but yours as well.

5. Use the chat window as your partner


The chat window is a unique opportunity in virtual meetings to elevate your presence, add dimensions to your ideas, and demonstrate what you are all about. Links to product pages, agenda, next steps or even action points all show professionalism

Whether you’ve been participating in virtual meetings for years or just started in 2020, it’s important to realise that a video selling isn’t just a calling in over video — it’s an entirely new interactive experience, which requires adapting your perspective, habits, and tactics to make it work effectively for you as a sales professional.


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