Guest post contributed by Todd McCormick.
This is Part II of a two-part blog post about effective nonverbal communication during online sales meetings and video chats. Read Part I here.
Leveraging Body Language
Did you know you exchange approximately 800 nonverbal messages during the average 30-minute sales call?
Every salesperson should have at least a rudimentary grasp of how to use body language to support your sale. (If not, check out these body language sales basics, such as eye contact, use of hands, posture, etc.).
The trick with online meetings is that you don’t have the entire body to use as a communications tool. Your webcam focuses on your head and perhaps your torso. That means making eye contact with your camera, relaxing your shoulders, and bringing your hands into view to emphasize certain points. Use these tips to maintain a persuasive presence during virtual sales calls.
Don’t fidget. Famous comic actor John Cleese is a recognized authority on body language. If you’re going to use your hands to express a feeling or convey meaning, he recommends doing so with intention. If you’re not sure what your intention is, it’s best to keep your hands still, and don’t fiddle.
Start with a smile. There’s nothing revolutionary about this concept, but we often forget to do what we know. By starting online meetings with a smile, you amp up your tone of voice, upgrade your appearance, and communicate confidence. A smile can also do a lot to soothe a customer who sounds worried or anxious.
Be open. Open and expressive movements invite collaborative communication. Sit up straight, and avoid leaning too far back in your chair. Hold your arms away from your body to avoid looking defensive. However, if you notice your prospect responds by pulling back, try to be more subtle with your gestures.
Maintain good eye contact. As you and your prospect communicate, focus your gaze directly on the camera. Eye contact is a key element for building trust. Even a brief look away could send the message that you’re not listening, and derail your sale.
Lean forward slightly. By simply leaning forward you show clients you want to meet their needs. Leaning forward also communicates excitement over a possible deal and confidence in your own abilities. Once you’ve made your pitch, lean back in your chair slightly. This relaxed gesture shows you’re receptive to feedback, yet still confident in your product.
Above all, remember to translate all of those body language techniques into the area from your shoulders up. I suggest practicing each one in front of the mirror. And make sure you tailor your responses to the visual cues you receive from others. Like any in-person business meeting, online meetings are an opportunity to establish trust, rapport, and a mutually beneficial relationship.
Todd McCormick is currently 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.