Maintain eye contact 2/3 of the time, experts have always said. But that figure is based on in-person communication. But on video, that percentage should be closer to the 80-85% mark!
Why Do You Need More Eye Contact on Video?
When in-person – whether that be your office, a shared conference room, even a local coffee shop – you are sharing an environment with your customer. Meaning that if you break eye contact to look at your notes, a picture on the wall, or that delicious cup of joe in your hands, your customer knows exactly what you are looking at. No problem at all!
In contrast, when you look away on video, your customer is no longer able to see what you are looking at. Left to their imagination, they may graciously assume that you are looking at their image or, worse yet, imagine that you are looking at your phone or any number of other distractions – leaving them feeling neglected and you seemingly inattentive.
The Camera Catches Everything
Because your customer has only your face and eyes to focus on, any irregular eye movement is highly noticeable. You no longer have the brief moments of privacy on video as you do in person when you are certain your customer isn’t looking at you. Regardless of your intention, whether it’s wanting to check customer body language or your meeting notes, if you are not looking at the camera, you are not connecting with your customer. You and your eyes are always on stage!
Concerned About Making Too Much Eye Contact?
Don’t be! Your customer will not be staring at their screen 100% of the time. By raising your level of eye contact, you are leaving yourself available to connect when they do look at their screen. You are allowing your customer to control their own level of eye contact with you throughout the sales call – easing any uncertainty or discomfort.
REMEMBER: You are aiming to make eye contact at least 80% of the time, not 100% of the time! This still allows for you to look away occasionally to gather your thoughts, revisit your notes, and/or check your customer’s body language.
PRO TIP: Be intentional! As you move through your video sales call, identify moments that smoothly allow for you to break eye contact – i.e. keep your customer in the loop by taking the time to inform them that you need a moment to look something over or check in with your customer’s image during transition moments when their eyesight is bound to be elsewhere.
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