How to Be Persuasive during Virtual Sales Calls (Part 1)

Guest post contributed by Todd McCormick

It’s highly likely that your prospects don’t have time for long, face-to-face sales pitches. That leaves sales teams with email and the telephone.

Of course, the people your team is trying to reach receive 200+ emails a day. Of those emails, perhaps a handful are relevant and wanted. According to InsideView, more than 90% of C-level execs never respond to email blasts or cold calls.

When you limit communication to email and telephone, your sales team is missing out on one of the most important aspects of closing the sale: nonverbal communication. Mirroring and matching body language, for example, is a time-honored technique to enter your prospect’s world without saying a word. When you’re able to send nonverbal messages that show you’re in tune with the prospect’s state of mind, you’re in a better position to establish rapport quickly.

Unfortunately, body language doesn’t translate over the phone or via email. But some sales leaders are correcting this problem by finding new ways to leverage nonverbal communication during online meetings and video chats.

Jeff Cristee, Area Vice President of Cisco says video is “a very compelling medium.” In an interview with Gerhard Gschwandtner, he revealed that videos attached in an email get a 20% response rate.

At least 55% of communication is nonverbal—93% if you include tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. Imagine the competitive edge your sales team could gain if they knew how to use nonverbal cues on virtual sales calls to reinforce your company’s message.

The truth is video helps sales teams make the most of sales opportunities. At PGi, we’ve improved our lead conversion rates by 40% since we turned on a webcam. Before your next virtual sales call, review these important tips:

Look into the camera. Turn on your webcam for a minute or two, and practice looking directly into the camera. That will give the prospect the sense that you’re looking directly at him and not in some other, disconcerting direction. Know exactly where the camera’s view ends, so you know what movement will be within the viewer’s field of vision.

Study reactions. Great salespeople listen more than they speak. Use video as an opportunity to watch how your prospects physically react to questions and ideas.

Look your best. This rule applies just as it would to any face-to-face meetings. Do a last-minute visual inspection to put your best face forward online. Your prospect will have a clear view of your face, so be meticulous with details.

Control your volume. Speak loudly enough so that the listener can hear clearly, but not so loud as to be distracting. Your control of volume in an online meeting is somewhat limited by the technology the listener is using; do what you can on your end to make sure you’re speaking distinctly and clearly.

Vary your pace. A silent pause is one of the most effective tools in your vocal toolbox. It allows the listener’s brain to process what’s been said, increasing its impact. Learn to omit “uh” and “um” from your speech.

Vary your pitch. Record your presentation and play it back. A monotone pitch has less of an impact than a pitch with varied, up-and-down intonations.

Train your sales team to be cognizant of these elements with each online interaction with a prospect, and you’ll automatically increase their effectiveness during presentations.

Next week: Leveraging body language.

Todd McCormick is Vice President of Sales for PGi Worldwide. He brings more than 13 years of executive sales management and team development experience in client-focused service organization and has significant experience in forging strategic partnerships to exceed corporate sales objectives and successfully penetrate emerging markets and product lines. He is a frequent speaker at Sales 2.0 events

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