To suddenly see yourself on a video call is both extremely compelling and distracting. Up until recently, we’ve all remained blissfully unaware of that funny thing we do with our mouth, the frequency with which we blink, or the unflattering shadows under our eyes. It is not a small thing to come face to face with how others see you.
Which is precisely why the one person you should never make eye contact on a video call is YOU.
Like most myths, the Greek god Narcissus falling in love with his own image was based on human impulses. Focusing on yourself is a pool you don’t want to fall into, even for a second.
I see so many salespeople clearly checking their image, then glancing back to their customer, then back to their image again to see if anything has changed! Not only does this take you completely out of the moment, but it looks as if you are oddly distracted to your customer.
Like any performer, you need to do your preparation and practice “off-camera.” Learn the technique. Record yourself practicing it. Then when you’re on a video call with a customer, hide your image. Don’t turn off your video, just hide your image so you don’t fall prey to the siren call of your image. That way you will remain 100% focused on your customer – which is much more important than if you have a hair out of place!
Pro tip: To hide your image on Zoom, simply right click on your video and select Hide my image.
I hear a lot of advice a long the lines of “just be confident!” from sales coaches. But I think most salespeople know that confidence is important in sales. The question is – how do you gain confidence? And if you’re not confident, does that mean you don’t belong in sales?
I think it’s a myth that great salespeople are always confident. I think they may know how to get themselves into a state of confidence, or they have the courage to persevere even when they don’t feel confident and trust that the confidence will come.
Sometimes, let’s face it, you’re having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, you lost a deal. Sometimes, you simply can’t think your way into greater confidence. For those times, I want to share with you a really practical technique I learned as an actor.
It’s called Acting as if. And it works like this. Next time you’re feeling really confident, notice what that looks like and sounds like for you. Maybe you stand taller, gesture more, speak louder, or hold eye contact longer.
Then when you have to get on that call or give a presentation when you’re not feeling 100% confident, apply these confident behaviors as you’re practicing. Push through even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable and maintain those confident behaviors in your meeting. In other words, act as if you have great confidence. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find that pretty quickly you are actually feeling confident and good. It’s much like forcing yourself to smile can make you feel happier.
So go out there and show confidence, and if you can’t, act as if until the real deal kicks in.
If your prospect had a remote, would he be tempted to change the channel on your presentation or demo? That’s a tough question to ask yourself, but given the number of choices today’s buyers have and the demands on their attention, you need to take a hard look at just how compelling your presentation or demo is to your audience.
The bar has been raised. And if you haven’t raised your presentation game with it, you’re going to get left behind. We live in a time where most people have been exposed to hundreds, maybe thousands of presentations. Showing up and walking through a slide deck and parading our your features and benefits like salespeople have been doing for decades, is not going to help you win deals.
Today’s presentations have to be better than average, they have to be compelling in order to break through the clutter, stand out from the competition, and move buyers to the next step in the sales cycle. And by compelling I’m not talking about slides, or templates or platforms, but rather great substance, structure and delivery. The elements that make your prospect say, “Wow, they really understand us.” And that, my sales friends, is compelling.
If you’re uncertain whether your presentation is compelling or not, shoot me an email and let’s talk. Don’t wait to find out until your prospect changes the channel from you…to your competition.
If you’re having trouble closing…it could be your presentation opening! If you don’t gain your audience’s attention initially and establish credibility, they’re not going to hear your great benefits, your value proposition or your super close!
In this video I role-play how a typical presentation opens. Take a moment to watch.
What did you think? I think I wasted a good 20 seconds of my audience’s time and lost some credibility… People have increasingly short attention spans and little patience for a lot of introductory fluff. You have a precious few seconds to grab your listener’s attention and draw them in. Don’t waste it
What’s the solution?
Cut to the chase. Invest some time crafting a short, compelling opening that quickly delivers value and practice it until it shines. Having a rehearsed opening in your back pocket will give you a powerful boost of confidence and set the tone for the rest of your presentation.
Eliminate the long intro’s, the thank you’s, the corporate overview /logo slide.
How did I start this video? I jumped right in. Were you thinking, wow, I wish she’d tell us more about herself or her company?! I doubt it. Don’t open your presentation like everybody else if you want to make an impact and be remembered!
And, a good opening will make your closing much more effective!