(By Charlie Sislen) Since the pandemic hit in March, selling methods have changed drastically. One of the biggest changes is the switch from in-person meetings to web-based presentations. Web-based meetings offer tremendous efficiency since travel time is cut to zero. However, some sales reps have let their guards down, and have not taken advantage of this opportunity.
Dress for the Call
Would you make a face-to-face call in a hoodie or tee shirt? If not, why would you conduct a web-based meeting in that attire? Dress like you would if you were making the in-person call. Proper attire tells the client that this is a business meeting, and not a zoom call with friends. With appropriate attire, you are telling them that you are a professional and this meeting is professional.
Be Conscious of Your Environment
I recently saw a meeting in which the sales rep was conducting the meeting from their couch. Yes, the client may know that you are working at home, but it is important to show them a professional work environment. Ideally, you do the meeting from your home office or designated work space. If your designated work space is your kitchen table, set up a screen so they do not see the rest of the house. Before the meeting starts, look at your background through the camera that you are using for the meeting. Does your background say this is a professional meeting, or does it say this is a casual get-together?
One great advantage of meetings from your home office is that you have instant access to all the data that is on your computer or company network. Instead of waiting for a question to be asked and having to search for the document that answers the question, try to anticipate what the client might ask. Have those files open and in the background. That way when a question is asked, you can answer it quickly and effectively. This shows that you are prepared and in tune with the client’s concerns.
Stay Away from Chat Boxes
Web-based meetings have allowed the flexibility of numerous people from both sides of the table to attend. Chat boxes allow you the flexibility to talk to colleagues about what is going on during a meeting. Unfortunately, people have often thought they were sending a private message to one person but actually sent it to everyone on the call, including the client. Stay safe and close your chat box. If you need to communicate with an individual on the call, do it outside of the web-based meeting. Use your cell phone and text them directly. Better safe than sorry.
Opening & Closing
This might be a personal thing, but I like to start a meeting with my camera on so the client can see me. If you are presenting data, be ready for the transition to the screen share. If it is a PowerPoint file, always ask if they see the proper file and if the screen changed when you go from slide 1 to slide 2. I cannot tell you how many times I have had a presenter walking me through the presentation, and all I see is the opening slide. It is also great after the formal presentation is done to go back to the camera for questions and answers.
As I stated earlier, the evolution to web-based meetings is a massive time saver, and you can work from the comfort of your own home. Do not let this convenience allow you to diminish your professionalism. Take advantage of this opportunity to do more and better meetings than you could in face-to-face scenarios.
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.