All posts by Julie Hansen

Tips to Connect with Customers on Camera with Sports Broadcaster Jen Mueller

Salespeople are discovering first-hand how difficult it is to connect with customers on camera. Talking to a camera is not a natural skill. Yet actors, sports broadcasters, reporters and, news announcers are proof it is possible to connect and engage with audiences virtually.

In this episode of “Sales Lessons from a Career on-Camera,” I speak with Jen Mueller, the Seattle Seahawks sideline radio reporter and member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT SPORTS. Jen discusses connecting with your customer through conversation, the value of preparation, and truly owning your space.

About Jen Mueller:

Jen chose to pursue a career in sports broadcasting after continuously receiving comments from teachers, friends, and family that she “talks too much.” Now, with more than 15 years of sports broadcasting experience, she expertly provides straightforward business communication strategies as a keynote speaker and sales coach. In 2009, Jen founded Talk Sporty to Me after noticing a communication void in the workplace that could be filled with sports conversations. She is also the author of two books, Talk Sporty to Me: Thinking Outside the Box Scores and Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day for Business.

Key Takeaways:

The truth about connecting with your audience:

“I recognize that people are hung up on scripting and camera presence because they think it’s inauthentic. It’s about reaching your audience where they are, and your audience needs this from you.”

Conversation is key:

“I know that conventional wisdom is, ‘Hey, just ask people about themselves because people love to talk about themselves.’ And that is a terrible way to get a lot of people that are making buying decisions to talk because why in the world would I let my guard down when you’re trying to get me to part with money or time or resources? So, we need to first understand the types of questions that you ask can set up those responses. It’s OK to get a one-word response, but you better be prepared for another question right after it.”

“When we are in a virtual space, we really don’t want to keep the audience guessing as to what happens next. We really want to be clear on what our expectations are and that could be the expectations for what we plan to get out of the conversation.

Be prepared:

“Make sure that every time you’re on camera you are prepared and expect that to be the only chance that you get.”

“When it’s actually time to be on camera, I’m not going in cold. I’ve already kind of warmed myself up. I’ve given myself the opening act. I’ve already got the energy level right. I’ve got the words right and I am in control of what’s happening and that’s where you want to be when you’re on video.”

Own the (virtual) room:

This is your space and you need to own and control that because this is all the audience knows about you.”

Making “eye” contact:

“I think most people misunderstand what a conversational interview is … They think the best way to get to that outcome is just to wing it and to react off of what the other person says because they think they’re going to be able to stay in the moment.”

Connect with Jen Mueller:

Twitter: @JenTalksSports

Instagram: @talksportytome

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenmuellertalksporty/

Podcast: https://www.talksportytome.com/

Want more help Selling on Video? 

*For improving your confidence, credibility, and connection with customers on video, check out the self-paced Selling On Video Master Class.

*For workshops, keynotes, and events, get in touch with us here.

*For free tips, tricks, and tools, sign up for our newsletter here.

5 Actor’s Secrets to Master Your Fear of Virtual Presentations


Waiting to be admitted to the Zoom meeting, you feel the nerves begin to set in. With each passing minute, confidence slowly turns to anxiety and tension as you second guess yourself – Do you have the right meeting ID? How well do you really know your material? Did you practice enough? – Now feeling awkward and uncertain, you either race or slog through the video call detached from your audience and your message – completely missing the mark (and the sale).  Virtual presentation nerves claim another victim. Actors are No Strangers to Performance Nerves An actor is no stranger to pre-show nerves! Though unlike the nervous salesperson silently sitting in front of their computer awaiting their doom, the well-trained actor knows that sitting still before a performance spells disaster – natural nervous energy quickly turns to tension when the body has no way to release it. Tension increases anxiety Read More

(Mis)Reading Body Language on Video Calls

Reading body language on video calls is like learning another language! Many movements and expressions can have completely different meanings on video than in-person – most of which have nothing to do with you or your message.

Misinterpreting those signals as a salesperson can cause you to lose your mojo – and the deal if you’re not in the know! Here is a common example of customer body language that is widely (mis)read on video:

Resting Business Face

“Resting Business Face” (noun) – informal

(Typically with reference to a salesperson or business professional) a bored, disinterested, or unhappy expression attributed to or unconsciously adopted by a person attempting to be professional during business meetings, video calls, etc.

As a salesperson trained to check-in or switch gears if your customer seems to be showing a lack of interest, it’s easy to take this blank stare personally and assume the worst:  My customer is bored, impatient, or disinterested – what do I do?! The knee jerk reaction for many salespeople is to rush through their presentation or call, growing ever more uncomfortable until their projection becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In reality, this assumption based on expression alone is typically incorrect.

What’s the problem?

The problem is that virtual audiences tend to be more passive – engaging less and observing more. Put the average person in front of a screen and they instantly slip into observer mode, they might as well be snacking on some popcorn and sipping a Coke (and this is especially true of customers who are anticipating a pitch or presentation). This passivity is communicated via limited body language and their expression (or lack thereof), AKA resting business face, is easily misinterpreted.

PRO TIP: Don’t let your customers be passive! By continuously checking-in/asking questions, you are ensuring that your customer is an active participant in the video call and not simply a passive observer.

For more information on how to improve customer interaction on virtual sales calls, click here.

How to Respond to (Mis)leading Body Language

The general rule of thumb on reading body language is simple – don’t overreact or jump to conclusions! Typically, a bored expression or someone sitting back in their chair does not guarantee boredom. When uncertain, look for information/facts that support your theory – Is their tone distant and flat? Does it seem like they are caught off guard when you ask a direct question? Do their answers reflect growing impatience? These concrete questions can indicate whether or not your customer is truly engaged, interested, or has something else entirely pressing on their mind.

Curious to learn more about reading and using body language, making eye contact, and keeping your audience engaged during your video calls? Check out the Selling On-Video Master Class.

Want more help Selling on Video? 

*For improving your confidence, credibility, and connection with customers on video, check out the self-paced Selling On Video Master Class.

*For workshops, keynotes, and events, get in touch with us here.

*For free tips, tricks, and tools, sign up for our newsletter here.

3 Movie Secrets for an Engaging Virtual Presentation


Looking for the secret to an engaging virtual presentation?! The movies have mastered the art of engaging audiences on-screen from years of practice and experimentation. While your virtual presentation doesn’t have to be worthy of an Oscar’s nod, it does pay to use these movie secrets for an engaging virtual presentation that stands out from the competition. 3 movie secrets for an engaging virtual presentation Cut to the chase Filmmakers know that people have increasingly short attention spans and little patience for a lot of exposition. A blockbuster film doesn’t start with the director’s commentary – featuring a clip outlining their filmography or detailing their artistic approach to the film’s creation. So, neither should you! Cut right to the chase… When the competition for a customer’s attention is stiff, there is no room for introductory fluff (and yes, I am talking about your corporate overview!) once you dive into your presentation. Read More

Pitch Perfect: 25 Tips for Virtual Sales Calls


In sales, you have only one shot to deliver the right message. In the blockbuster hit Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick’s character and her all-female acapella group must stay perfectly on pitch in order to win the regional acapella competition. (Spoiler alert – they do!) Clap Pitch Perfect2 GIF from Clap GIFs nbsp; In order to win the virtual sale, you too must also stay perfectly on pitch – using the right delivery to convey the right message to the right prospect. Customers are distracted, short on attention, and much less likely to engage virtually. To complicate matters, it’s difficult to read body language and gauge interest.  I’ve compiled 25 of my favorite tips for overcoming challenges and improving your success rate on virtual sales calls. Stay on pitch! 25 tips for a perfect virtual sales call Find your confidence: Confidence is vital to virtual sales! Why? Because the camera picks up Read More

The Top 10 Video Mistakes Salespeople Made in 2020 (and how to avoid them in 2021!)


2020 may go down as the year where you said “Zoom” or “You’re on mute” more times than you ever dreamed possible! While the physical adjustments required to go from selling face-to-face to video seemed simple enough (standing vs. sitting, a wave vs. a handshake, a screen instead of a live face) based on the results, the transition went anything but smoothly for most people! The truth is, speaking to a camera is not simple or natural.  That’s why I created the Selling On-Video Master Class – and have a new book coming out in 2021 with everything you need to know about connecting with customers on video and closing more business! Stay tuned, and make sure you’re not bringing bad habits into 2021 with this list of the Top 10 video mistakes – and how to avoid them. Top 10 Video Mistakes Salespeople Made in 2020 : Not looking Read More

How to Find the Best Lighting for Your Zoom Call


Lighting can make or break your Zoom call! Too dark and you look like you’re in a hostage video.  Too bright, and you look other-worldly.  Proper lighting allows your customer to properly see you, your facial expressions, and most importantly, your eyes – which is where they connect with you.

The best lighting for video is sitting directly facing your chosen light source, allowing the light to illuminate your face.  Avoid shadows and backlighting, which happens when you have your back to a window or other light source.

Here’s a quick and easy way to find the best lighting for your Zoom call.

Find your best light:

  1. Take your phone or tablet with you as you walk through your home or office to test the lighting in different areas.
  2. Flip the camera’s image so that you can see yourself on the screen.
  3. As you walk through your home or office, notice how different camera angles or windows affect the lighting.
  4. Find the best spot and stop! This is it.  Your best lighting spot for your video call. 

A warning about natural light:

The quality of natural light is subject to change throughout the day based on the position of the sun, so be sure to double-check your lighting before every video call. Lighting that was sufficient one day, may not be the next. Weather is another often-overlooked factor that can influence the quality of lighting on your video. If overcast, the sun may no longer be the most reliable light source available and you’ll need to supplement with artificial lighting. 

Tips on using artificial light:

If the weather is not on your side or you simply are not in close proximity to a window, you’ll need to find an artificial light that works for you. A properly placed lamp or a ring light can provide you with sufficient lighting for your video call. Experiment with the lights you have.  Often times replacing the harsh white bulbs with softer LED bulbs with a high CRI provide a more flattering look for video.

Note that artificial lighting can cause glare or reflection in your glasses. This can be fixed by adjusting the angle of the light, moving it farther away from you, or raising the earpiece of your glasses so that they tilt down slightly to avoid catching that glare.

Want more help Selling on Video? 

*For improving your confidence, credibility, and connection with customers on video, check out the self-paced Selling On Video Master Class.

*For workshops, keynotes, and events, get in touch with us here.

*For free tips, tricks, and tools, sign up for our newsletter here.

Virtual First Impression: 5 Secrets from the Stars


Your virtual first impression can make or break your sale. In the first few seconds of a video call, prospective customers quickly make decisions about you and your company and how (or whether) they’re going to listen to you. To ensure you’re making a strong first impression, look no further than your television screen. Most of the stars you see had to audition on film or video to make it past the eyes of critical casting directors and onto your screen. By applying the 5 secrets from the stars, you can gain an important competitive edge in your video calls: 5 Secrets from the Stars for a Memorable First Impression Be prepared: “We started every practice with that warm-up … We knew that sh*t like it was second nature. And that’s when magical stuff happens with acting: No mind, no body.” – Mark Ruffalo | Spotlight No star would ever Read More

Be More Confident On-Camera with These 6 Proven Acting Tips


Confidence is crucial in virtual sales! Why? Because the camera picks up everything – including a lack of confidence. Salespeople must learn to be confident on-camera in order for potential customers to place their trust and business with a credible partner. “Just act confident!” … So much easier said than done! When preparing for a video call or message, you would likely find this common piece of advice entirely unhelpful! Not only does it lack obvious steps or tactics, it’s important you not only appear confident but that you feel confident in front of the camera as well. Ultimately, my training as an actor has taught me more about being confident on-camera than video than any sales training I ever have. These six powerful (and easy!) acting tips are tactical and proven to work in an art form that really knows what it takes to appear and, more importantly, feel Read More

Smile: Your Selling On-Video Superpower!

Smile! It’s your selling on-video superpower. People who smile are perceived as friendly, approachable, caring.  And yet, smiling is such an uncommon expression in business – especially on video!

Yes, there are many times you may be discussing serious matters, but a video message or presentation delivered by the grim reaper can be pretty wearing.  Surely you can find the occasional reason to smile in a conversation.  Surely you can find the occasional reason to smile in a sales conversation!

I’m not advocating you paste on a phony smile – your customer can read that – especially on-camera.  But think about what good news you may be sharing and let your face know!  For example, are you:

Solving a problem?
Saving your customer time or money?
Creating a vision of what’s possible?
Sharing a success story?

Or just smile and let them know you’re enjoying your conversation!

Look for moments to smile on video.

p.s.  If you’re out of practice or find you “think” you’re smiling and you’re not, you likely need to warm-up your facial muscles and re-connect to how you feel about what you’re sharing and why it matters.   Check out the Master Class below for information on how we can help you connect to that smile and start seeing results!

Want more help Selling on Video? 

*For improving your confidence, credibility, and connection with customers on video, check out the self-paced Selling On Video Master Class.

*For workshops, keynotes, and events, get in touch with us here.

*For free tips, tricks, and tools, sign up for our newsletter here.

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Performance Sales and Training: Persuasive Presentation Skills to meet the challenges of today’s B2B Sales Environment