When salespeople were forced to switch from face-to-face selling to virtual selling, they were forced to learn a different medium of communication. What you used to be able to communicate with your face, body language, energy, etc. has to be squeezed into a small square on a computer screen. Your customer doesn’t have the context of face-to-face. It requires learning new skills. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Julie Hansen shares how acting skills can benefit a salesperson and help them succeed in this virtual reality we now live in.
Julie has a background in acting. Most actors/actresses start their careers doing live theatre. You can see your audience and what lands—or doesn’t—and adjust accordingly. Virtual selling is similar to moving to on-camera work.
When Julie moved from live audiences to camera, she did what she did for theatre. But the director pointed out she wasn’t looking in the right place, she was out of frame, and was distracting. She learned she had to get new training to communicate in the new medium. Salespeople need to acknowledge that and learn new skills so they can communicate in a virtual environment.
Organizations learned that they can be more cost-effective doing sales calls virtually. Plus, McKinsey found in their research that more than three-quarters of B2B buyers prefer remote interaction versus face-to-face. You need to adapt to the new reality.
Most organizations throw tools and technology at their salesforce but haven’t realized that communication differences need to be addressed. How does the camera read behavior? What about your eye contact and facial expressions? Are you communicating what you need to?
You have to learn to connect one-on-one on camera because sales are all about building relationships. People buy from people they like and they feel confident with. So you have to learn to establish those relationships through a camera. That’s where the growth needs to be. If you can do that, you’ll rise to the top and stand out.
Julie believes that the qualities needed to succeed are the same, whether in person or virtually. You need to be credible, keep your word, be authentic, show empathy, be an active listener, etc. But those qualities are often lost in a virtual exchange, so you have to adjust the way you communicate them.
In a face-to-face conversation, if someone stared at your shoes the whole time, you’d feel like they weren’t interested. But it happens on video all the time. You may be looking at the customer’s image, screen, tools, etc. You need to understand that the quality of active listening requires you to behave differently. You have to know when to look at the camera directly. Your fave must communicate the emotions you think it is.
What tools, techniques, and strategies does Julie recommend to improve how you portray yourself on video? Listen to learn more!
Julie shared some amazing tips to help you improve your skills:
Julie got a call from an experienced enterprise sales rep who was a top biller before things moved virtually. He felt like he wasn’t connecting with his customers and that he had lost his superpower. When Julie worked with him on camera, it was obvious his personality wasn't coming across. He felt scripted and his discomfort was obvious.
She worked with him on improving his eye contact, body language, energy, and what his face was portraying. After working together, he went back to a customer where he had been shut out of a big deal. He put together a compelling and engaging personalized video that got him back in the running.
You have to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know and get the help you need to adapt to this new environment. Don’t sit and suffer in silence. Stand up for yourself and get the training that you need to succeed.
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