In a time when we feel disconnected, we are truly more connected than ever. Our colleagues, coworkers and business prospects are just a call away, with devices readily accessible as we remain at home. Yet many of us feel disconnected as our interactions transfer to digital mediums. With more and more businesses staying at home, our very structure has shifted. Maybe sliding into a teleconference while still wearing your PJ bottoms sounds like a good trade-off to in-person meetings. But in reality, this convenience brings new challenges.
Being readily available doesn’t mean your employees or prospects will be engaged during the meeting. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to sell your product and engage your leads. Digital meetings are both similar to and different from traditional meetings in many ways. Arguably, technology connects us to a broader range of prospects since, depending on your services, your business may expand and grow. You have the same opportunity to successfully sell your product: your usual strategy just takes a bit of tweaking. We must compensate for these changes in a way that makes the most out of our technology.
Come In With An Objective
One of the basics of any public speaking strategy is to answer the question that will inevitably hang in the air: “What is the point of all this?” Improvisation might have worked during traditional meetings, but remember that teleconferencing is different because your viewers are more distracted. They’re at home, sitting on their couch or watching their kids. They need a more aggressive structure to the meeting so that, subconsciously, they receive a cue that says, “you can disconnect from your current environment and focus wholeheartedly on what this individual is about to say.”
According to the American Marketing Association, a general rule of thumb to follow is that a successful meeting is 75% preparation and 25% execution. As you’re planning your meeting, you may also want to prepare for any potential issues that could happen. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. He or she is looking for a product that provides what they need during a complicated time. Make those needs a priority, and you’re already halfway there.
Video chat takes away our natural communication measures — body language and other senses that usually keep us engaged. Don’t make your audience wait. Of course, jumping right into a long presentation isn’t the best idea. A short summary of the meeting, and what it means for those participating, is sufficient in getting your point across from the get-go.
Start off the meeting by proving an overview of what you’ll be covering, and be sure to ask your prospect whether there are any topics he or she specifically would like to add to the agenda. This overview will help your audience relax since they won’t be suspended and waiting for the overall point. Any effective sales pitch summarizes the most critical points, so you will want to transfer those values over to your digital meeting with your prospect.
Tie Everything Back To The Main Point
Keep your goals in sight throughout the meeting — from the beginning to the closing remarks. When you invite your employees to ask any questions, answer those questions in a way that upholds your original purpose. Emphasis and repetition are essential in hitting home a point, so be sure to draw upon what you stated at the beginning.
For instance, let’s say you are meeting with a prospect to help them understand more about your services and their benefits. Be sure to tie those benefits directly to their needs to drive home your point. You want them to leave the meeting feeling confident in their decision, so focus on what they’ll gain.
Engage And Encourage Participation
Even if you have a lot to say, step away from the podium from time to time. Give your audience a chance to participate. Make the meeting less like a speech, and more like a conversation. For example, the Harvard Business Review suggests that business leaders call on participants to keep the conversation flowing. This advice can be utilized when speaking to a prospect. By keeping your questions open-ended, you can promote meaningful discussion so your prospect will actively listen.
Even though a good chunk of the meeting should be dedicated to selling your product and providing relevant information, you should never dominate the conversation. Any successful sales meeting involves negotiation. The meeting is just a single incident in a series of negotiations that help move the sales process along, so remember the big picture. By promoting a balanced transaction of give-and-take, you build trust, making the meeting less stressful on your prospect’s part.
Prepare For Slip-Ups
One of the problems with working from home is that your work and family life become blended. Prepare as best you can by taking measures against any interruptions. Just like an in-face meeting, you wouldn’t want any uninvited guests showing up during such an important time. Having your meeting in the kitchen or another busy room isn’t the best idea. Tell your family far in advance that you will be on a video meeting so they do not enter the room and walk onto the screen accidentally.
That said, no matter how well you plan, some slip-ups just can’t be prevented. Don’t panic if something unexpected happens. We’re all trying to adjust to our new arrangements the best that we can, so trust that your prospect will be understanding — even if your dog starts barking.
Besides A Few Adjustments, The Essence Remains The Same
When all is said and done, the main essence of your meetings shouldn’t change. You want to make reliable connections and sell your product without any slip-ups. Technology helps us do that, and while remote meetings are a stone’s throw from the natural feel of traditional face-to-face meetings that we’ve all taken for granted, we can learn to make the most out of it.