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These days, more and more salespeople than ever are relying on videoconferencing to move deals forward. But how many of them are using this powerful communication technology effectively to interact with prospective buyers? Take a look at this list of common mistakes salespeople make while conducting meetings with prospects in platforms where a video is an option.

Mistake #1: Not making sure you have the bandwidth. If you’re working from home (and let’s face it, a lot of people are these days), prepare yourself for a shock: it’s entirely possible that the “business” Wi-Fi connection you set up for yourself months ago is simply not going to do the trick now. If five other people are in the house, three of them are each watching their own movie, and one of them is on an extended Fortnite expedition, you may just need to find another connection. Helpful hint: your cell phone may, if you have the right service plan, allow you to generate a private hotspot with a signal that’s strong enough to carry the voice and image data you will be using.

Mistake #2: Not using your calendar invite, BEFORE, the videoconference begins, as a strategic selling tool. If the text of your calendar invite is boring or uninformative (example: “Demo”) you are putting yourself and your organization at a competitive disadvantage. Use this valuable digital real estate to highlight a business PAIN you can address with your solution. For instance: “Reducing turnover among key employees with XYZ Application (demo).” Take every opportunity to show value! A side note: It’s also a good idea to use your calendar invite to establish the meeting’s duration, topics, and structure.

Mistake #3: Not eliminating distractions. Of course, you will want to shut the door and make sure kids and pets are not going to interrupt you during the call and mute yourself when you are not talking while working in large groups. Another great way to eliminate distractions is by hitting F11 whenever you’re sharing your screen. On Windows machines, hitting F11 makes tabs and bookmarks disappear; there’s apparently a way of doing this on Apple machines that involves several steps, but I will leave it to the Apple experts to work that out. The point is, open tabs distract people. Meeting participants shouldn’t be tempted to check out what other tabs you have been busying yourself with – so keep them focused by removing that temptation. While you’re thinking of it, why not turn off all automatic calendar and email alerts that might come up on your computer during the meeting. Those are potential distractions, too...as is the ever-present problem of background noise. And no, I’m not just talking about audio disruptions (although those should be minimized). I’m also talking about visual backgrounds that are unprofessional, distracting, or just plain inappropriate. If you find yourself doing a videoconference in the kitchen because that’s the only quiet room – and yes, that kind of thing happens sometimes when you’re working at home – choose the plain white-wall background over the close-up of last night’s dinner dishes. You get the idea: Keep the look and feel of your video feed focused, accessible, and just as professional as you are.

Mistake #4. Not checking your look. Make sure the camera is at eye level, and that both the light source and the microphone are in front of you. Frame your shoulders and head in the video area so that you fill about 75% of the screen. And remember: The closer your head is to the top of the video, the taller you look.

Mistake #5: Not defaulting to video. Say you’re using Skype, and you have the opportunity to share your face and voice with the prospect via video. Should you or shouldn’t you? Most salespeople we work with tell us they do whatever the other person is doing: if the prospect isn’t sharing video, they don’t either. The smarter course of action is to default to video, even if the other person isn’t sharing the video. Why? Because sharing a professional, focused video feed of yourself humanizes you and makes person-to-person communication far more effective. Most of the time, once you take the lead by sharing your own video feed, the prospective buyer will reciprocate by sharing theirs; all of a sudden it’s a much deeper, more engaged connection! That’s what you want!

Mistake #6: Not following a system. Last but certainly not least, you want to remember to use proper sales techniques. This is not a hangout! Manage the schedule strategically. Allot some time for socialization at the beginning; review the agenda and the time constraints before you start into the main portion of the meeting; leave enough time to discuss the next steps at the end. When facilitating discussions with groups, it’s important to leave sufficient time to ask plenty of questions. A great way to do that is to call on each person, or at least check in with each person. That way, the more introverted or patient participants get a chance to chime in. Every meeting should have both a purpose and an outcome, and videoconferences are no exception. In all likelihood, the other person will need to make a decision near the end of the call, and some follow up steps will need to be discussed, so make sure you leave time for those steps.

Avoid these six common mistakes when you’re using video conferencing to interact with prospects and customers...and you’ll close more sales.

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