Insist on a Video Meeting.
Insisting that sales calls be done via video meeting brings many benefits to the busy executive including shorter meetings, more control of the meeting, and the ability to size up the sales person’s value to your organization without having to deal with meeting logistics.
Video meetings can be extremely effective for all participants in this type of meeting:
- It is easier to view a demo on your own screen vs. that from the laptop or tablet of the salesperson.
- Finding a place to have the meeting is never a problem, whether in your office or on the road from your hotel.
- No travel time for either side to get to the meeting.
- Video meetings can accommodate multiple people more easily, and adding additional members of your team is easily accomplished no matter what location they are in.
- You will eliminate many of those unproductive first calls because sales people are simply not prepared to conduct a video call.
Not sure what I am suggesting is valid? Try this for one week and judge for yourself. I am confident you will be surprised by your results.
Before you do, you need to make sure that you are able to participate in a video call yourself. Here is a checklist to prepare:
- Webcam is available and ready to go. Most current laptops and tablets have a webcam built-in. If you do not have a webcam, I recommend purchasing a Logitech C920 HD Webcam ($68 on Amazon).
- Microphone is available and ready to go. Same as above, if you have a built-in webcam you will have a microphone built-in as well. If not, I recommend a USB microphone for most people using a desktop or laptop. If not available, I recommend the Blue Snowflake USB microphone (Amazon $41) for most applications. There are more expensive options to consider if you will be using a microphone for other purposes like podcasts and internet calling applications in addition to video.
- Use headphones or earbuds. This will provide clear sound and prevent the interference from the speaker sounds being picked up by your microphone.
- Check the bandwidth of your internet connection. It is important to check not only download speed for the information coming in to you, but also the upload speed for the info you are sending back. I recommend a connection speed of at least 1.5 MB download and upload if possible and more if available. Use this link to check your connection speed.
- Check with your IT team to learn if any specific video calling/conference services are being blocked by your company. That will eliminate any surprises at the time of the meeting.
There are numerous video calling/meeting services that are available. Some are free and some require payment from the person initiating the call. In order to test out your video meeting capabilities once you have reviewed the checklist try one or more of these services:
- Google Hangout
Try one or more of these out by calling a colleague, or having them call you. This will allow you to become comfortable with the environment, the camera angle and how the microphone sounds.
TIP: Here is a little tip I discovered that helps me have a more enjoyable experience as well as that of my guest. Draw a circle on a blank piece of paper (about 3-4 inches across).Draw some eyelashes, eyes, nose in the circle. Then cut out an area larger than your webcam lens so that the lens will be unobstructed. Cut out the circle and tape to your monitor or webcam with the lens showing through. Here is what mine looks like.
This helps me to talk to the “head” if you will. Otherwise I found that I was looking all over the screen, rather than at the person that I was meeting with. Another tip that I have found useful is to shrink the window size during the conversation fairly small and then move the screen to the top and directly under the webcam if possible. This also helped keep my focused on the face. I have been known to actually turn off my screen if I am having trouble staying focused on the person I am meeting with online.
Give video meetings a try, even for just a week and then come back and share your experience. If you are already using video meetings I hope you will share your recommendations and experiences in the comments area as well.
If you want to try this out, send me an invitation for a video call on Google Hangouts.