The near Herculean effort by most organizations to arm their sales teams to conduct business 100% virtually should be applauded. When in recent history have so many sales organizations been restructured so quickly?!
Sales teams are rapidly being trained to adopt new tools, new platforms and fresh messaging to succeed in a virtual world. Yet there is one fundamental area necessary for success in which sellers have been left woefully on their own to figure out, and that is this: how do they communicate and connect successfully on-camera?
Experienced sales leaders will say things like “it just takes practice.” Yet we all know that familiarity doesn’t automatically lead to expertise. Practice the wrong things over and over and you’ve simply reinforced bad habits.
Talking and listening on-camera are not natural skills. The thousands of awkward, uncomfortable and ultimately unsuccessful virtual sales calls taking place right now are case in point.
New medium = new skills.
Almost every actor who has transitioned successfully from live performance to film or television has received on-camera training. Why do we expect our sales teams – people primarily from business or technical backgrounds – to be able to master on their own what professional performers require training on?
By all means provide your team with the support they need on virtual platforms, tools and messaging. But do not imagine for a moment that it can replace what learning how to communicate effectively on-camera will accomplish, including:
- How to establish a strong relationship and make customers feel heard through a natural “gaze” and mirroring
- How to convey confidence, credibility and empathy through expression, intonation and body language
- How to increase engagement through energy and eye contact
- How to read body language without breaking eye contact
- How to avoid awkward “talking over” moments and transitions
*Photo credit: Getty Images/Fizkes