Before you read this post, if you haven’t seen the video “A Conference Call in Real Life” that went viral in late January, go watch it right now. I’ll wait here.
Back? Done sharing it with every single one of your friends, co-workers, and Twitter followers? Okay good. I know, it was hilarious. And the core of why it is so good is that every one of us who uses online conferencing software can relate to it.
It also uncovers an important truth: virtual meetings will never truly replace the face-to-face meeting.
And that’s exactly why, when it comes to your online sales presentations, you must learn to effectively communicate your message and value to a prospect online. The biggest challenge sales reps face when they give sales presentations on the web is engaging their prospect – and if you can’t hold your prospect’s attention, they will either zone out or distract themselves with their phone, their dog, or Happy Hour notifications.
I can’t stress enough the importance of going that extra mile to master the best practices of online sales presentations. Here are the 8 most important things you can do:
1) Present value based on prospect’s needs
Presenting value is not enough if that value isn’t relevant to your prospect. What’s the only way to know what these needs are? By asking questions. Figure out what’s most important to your prospects, then custom design a presentation that centers around their pain points.
2) Don’t begin with an agenda & don’t close with questions
Aren’t you trying to stand out here? Your prospect will remember the first and last few minutes of your sales conversation. Make it count. Most sales reps make the mistake of beginning the presentation by outlining an agenda, but that’s boring! And if your prospects get bored, they will start paying attention to something else.
To get them interested from the very beginning, start your sales presentation with an exciting hook. This can be anything from a relevant statistic, a testimonial or a provocative statement to a story about how your company has solved your prospect’s most critical pain point for someone else. At the end of the conversation, ask some more questions, sum up the main points of your conversation, and close with a hook.
3) Log in to every presentation as a participant on a 2nd monitor
This requires 2 monitors: one where you’re logged in as the presenter, and a second where you log in as a participant so you can see exactly what your prospect is looking at. This is a great way to test how the screen looks to your prospect – and it also serves as a backup if one of your computers dies.
4) Take advantage of visuals – especially annotation tools
It is much easier to interact with a person when you’re in a room with them – it is much harder to interact during online presentations. That’s where visual tools come in. They help you tell an engaging story, which is your primary goal. Take advantage of live video, recorded video, PowerPoint, photos, and multimedia.
If your presentation software has annotation tools like a highlighter, laser pointer, or arrow, use them! It might take some practice, but annotation tools can be a really powerful way to interact with online audiences.
5) Learn & use live video
Seriously, do it. Sales reps aren’t using live video as much as you’d think in this day and age, and the only reason for that is that they haven’t taken the time to get comfortable with it. Want to make an online sales presentation more like a face-to-face meeting? The best way to do this is by using live video – you will have a better chance of building rapport with your prospect. Plus, since most sales reps aren’t using live video, it will make you stand out. So why wouldn’t you go that extra mile?
To conduct a successful live video presentation, you will need:
A clean, professional background
Good eye contact
Make sure your web camera is at eye level. If you need to sit on books or mount your computer on books to make this happen, so be it.
Before making your first live video call, be sure to test everything out. Record a practice presentation and review it yourself, and get feedback from your colleagues or your manager.
6) Take steps to make your voice sound really good
In face-to-face meetings, we have facial expressions, eye contact, and body language to help us out. In online presentations, we rely on our voice to bring life to our message. There are a lot of things to work on here, but the 3 you should focus on are:
Volume – Perfect the volume balance so you are loud enough to be heard
Articulation – Speak clearly so your prospect understands you, and avoid filler words like “um” and “uh”
Enthusiasm – It’s contagious! Communicate that you genuinely believe in your company’s message, and your prospect will too
Just like in live video, improve your oral presentation by recording yourself, playing it back, and getting feedback from your peers. And make sure you use a headset connected to a landline – no cell phones.
7) Only put a couple words on each slide
If you use PowerPoint slides, do not – I repeat, do not! – put information on your slides that takes more than 5 seconds to read. Otherwise, your prospect will read the information instead of listening to you. That, or they’ll get overwhelmed and zone out.
Use this simple rule of thumb: there should be one point or idea per slide. Don’t worry if this methodology significantly increases the number of slides in your presentation – it will take the same amount of time to go through a lot of simple slides than a few complex slides; the only difference is that your prospect will more easily understand and digest those simple slides.
8) Know your presentation software like the back of your hand
Whether you use WebEx, GoToMeeting, AdobeConnect, or KnowledgeVision Live, learn your platform extremely well. Play around with it, watch instructional videos, and watch your own presentations from the lens of a participant by logging in on a second monitor. Test out all of the tools available to you, get comfortable with them, and practice – a lot.
Not every online sales presentation needs to be as awkward as the one in that Conference Call in Real Life video. Take the time to master these best practices like not many sales reps do, and you will stand out and close more deals.
Best of luck!
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