As any Boy Scout (or Girl Guide for that matter) knows, you should always be prepared – in fact that is the global motto for the Boy Scouts and one that I feel should be adopted by all business professionals as we head into these somewhat exciting times, and into totally unchartered territory.
By now, you should be used to preparing all your materials and practising your pitch before a sales meeting, because that is professional sales behaviour, however, there are a lot of things to work on in the new world of online sales in order to better become a master of our craft.
Your Camera, Audio and Lighting Set Up
Now, this may seem quite straightforward, but if you think back to the online meetings you have had in the last few weeks, how many of the attendees have either appeared submerged in shadows, illuminated like an angel, or have even had the camera set up at a really odd angle that surely did not do them the justice that they deserved?
When considering your technical setup requirements for a remote sales meeting it is helpful to bear in mind that what we are aiming to achieve is a remote meeting that feels as natural as possible.
Always keep in mind the camera angle, and this a common error that I observe regularly. You would not stand up and stare down at your potential customers during a normal meeting, so please do not do that in an online meeting either. Try to always maintain eye to eye contact, keeping the engagement (even if it is subconsciously) on a peer to peer level.
Your audio – voice and vocal qualities are an often-overlooked tool kit in your online meeting environment. Do your best to keep your speaking tone upbeat and varied, you do not want your meeting attendees zoning out, and with an online meeting, this has to be one of the most critical aspects, as it is now harder than ever to be able to tell if people are ‘zoning out’ which used to be much easier to spot in a face to face setting.
Using your vocal variation is the most powerful way of engaging the customer's attention.
Now that you have the vocal variation, do not undermine that by having any dead air or silence. Pauses are good, but silence for too long is awkward – keep your clear notes next to you to help you be ready for the next point you need to cover.
Try to mute as much background noise from your side as much as possible, always wear headphones for this purpose, and mute my microphone if I am not talking at a specific time. On larger meetings with many participants, this can be a helpful practise.
Your room lighting - lighting is used to create an atmosphere in all kinds of settings, soft light creates a different ambience from bright light, and we want to ensure that the ambience that we create is in keeping with remote sales experience we want to deliver to our customers.
Lighting is the easiest mistake to make, the cheapest to fix, plus the one most likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to upgrading your meetings.
If you can place your laptop in front of a window with the natural light falling on your face, that would be the first prize, however clever use of lighting on your face using lamps that you have at home can help to illuminate and present you in the best possible – excuse the pun – light.
Create Virtual Backdrops
The really great thing about virtual backdrops is that they allow you to look like you are in a completely different setting, and you do not need a green screen to create these either.
Visual backgrounds are also great if you want to cover up that you are working in your kitchen or your garage and for client meetings, a background can look very professional. Do however try to keep them professional – so not a background of your family holiday at the coast 5 years ago – rather go for an office view or a cityscape, it will certainly look much more professional.
If you opt not to add a virtual backdrop, then please do ensure that your home office is neat and tidy, it is easy for other attendees to get distracted by pets and kids running around in the background, and seeing the laundry rack filled with socks is also not quite the impression that we want to share either.
What to wear
Should I be formal or informal? Should I just do business at the top and pyjamas at the bottom? Whatever you decide, remember that ultimately how you look on camera is going to be interpreted as a sign of how professional you are.
Dressing well is also a form of respect, and as you would in a face to face meeting – respect the client’s culture. Are they formal - a full suit and tie finance organization? If they are, it is time for you to suit up.
Choose clothing that is going to give you the best contrast between you and your background that creates visual interest and helps you to stand out, and do try to avoid strong geometric patterns and things like polka dots – they tend to do crazy things on camera and can create a disturbing visual to your viewers too.
The best practice is to use plain fabrics and stay away from patterns, polka dots or very shiny fabrics that can cause disturbing visuals on your viewer's eyes.
Although these are basic guidelines and suggestions, I hope that you have found something of value in them, or possibly something that you had not thought of before to add to your repertoire when presenting online.
These online meetings can be an unfamiliar experience for many of our customers, and we have received so many requests to assist and guide teams towards becoming more professional and equipped in the practice of Remote Selling that we are delighted to announce the launch of our very own Remote Selling Course for teams and businesses launching on the 12th of October 2020.
If you would like to find out more about how you can get access to the Remote Selling Course, which would offer extreme value to you and your teams, please indicate your early interest by reaching out to Chris on firstname.lastname@example.org who will send you the relevant information and let you know about our incredible early bird offer.