Let’s say you want to ask your customers and/or fan base to do something – buy a product, donate to a cause, click a link, whatever. Which of the below do you think would be more effective in getting them to act:
- A well-written email sent to your carefully curated opt-in list with a strong call-to-action, or
- Asking in person or via a video chat?
Check out the answer, from the Harvard Business Review:
Despite the reach of email, asking in person is the significantly more effective approach; you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast.
That, as we say, ain’t chopped liver.
But asking in person is challenging right now, so what about asking “in-person” via Zoom, Skype, or Facetime?
Maybe you are thinking that, under these circumstances, email is still probably better, right?
Wrong. Not even close. Video is clearly the way.
According to the Harvard Business Review, citing research, “we found that people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication.”
That said, communicating and selling via Zoom is a different animal than doing so live in-person.
You Can Sell on Zoom
Here then are the things that the experts tell us you must keep in mind as you look to sell (or persuade) via video:
Create rapport: Sales 101 is that it is best to begin by making a connection with the person to whom you are speaking. This is as true online as it is off. And the way you do it is the same – look them in the eye, make a joke, find something you have in common, engage in chit-chat.
(Remember: do not look at the screen to make eye contact. Look at the camera, and if you can, make sure your camera is at eye level.)
Don’t forget the role of non-verbal cues: “We found the nonverbal cues conveyed during a face-to-face interaction made all the difference in how people viewed the legitimacy of their requests,” according to the Harvard Business Review.
Non-verbal cues in a video chat or sales call include: Looking at a cellphone, looking away, lack of engagement or questions. Non-verbal cues are just that – cues!
Consider your Zoom background: According to the Zoom Blog, “What you have surrounding you in the frame is as important as making sure you are front and center. Remove the clutter and either have a blank background (like in a conf room) or a professional background if in an office. A bonus will be making a custom virtual background with the logo of the company you are selling to.”
And don’t forget the possibility of using a virtual background. Here’s how.
Be a pro/Have the right equipment: What you don’t want is to look or sound glitchy; that comes from having mediocre equipment. If you need to invest in a professional microphone or web camera, do so. And what about hard wiring your computer into your router during the call and saving the wireless for your regular web work?
Also, consider your lighting carefully. You want your lights in front of you, lighting up your face, not behind you.
In the end, while selling via video is still not as preferable as selling live, in-person, it remains the best bet right now, and better than selling via email. Given that, it is important to do it right.
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask
Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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