In the past 18 months, virtual selling has exploded as in-person sales became difficult because of the pandemic. Tools like Zoom and Teams are great, however most salespeople aren’t using them correctly, limiting the effectiveness of their sales messages. Specifically, salespeople must talk directly to the camera rather than staring at the person on the screen they are talking to virtually.
Surprisingly, virtual selling via webcam can be quite intimate because of mirror neurons, the way our brains react to seeing video of people. If a salesperson looks directly at a camera that is positioned at eye-level and the resulting video looks to the other person as if the salesperson is a comfortable distance away, our brains process the interaction as if we are sitting across from the other person. It can be super powerful.
Even though intellectually we know we are not next to one another, our brain processes well cropped quality video as if we are in the same room as the speaker on camera. However, that is just the first step. Just as important is the ability to play to a camera, to connect via eye contact with the audience.
However, if the camera isn’t positioned properly or worse, the salesperson is looking down to see the video of the other person or looking down to drive a slide deck, a huge disconnect occurs because people process that interaction as if the salesperson doesn’t care.
Simple gear for effective virtual selling
Salespeople who sell virtually will need a good microphone, lighting, webcam, and a way to position the camera.
Microphone: I recommend an external mic that is designed for podcasting rather than using the mic that is built into a computer or wearing an ugly headset. I like the Blue Yeti USB Mic for this purpose.
Lighting: A simple 10” ring light can help a lot to make you look good.
Webcam: There are many cameras on the market. I’ve had good results with Logitech equipment such as the HD Pro Webcam C920.
Webcam mount: There are new tools out that make it easy to mount a webcam so that it is positioned in front of a screen so that you can look directly into the camera and see the person you’re talking to or the slides you are presenting at the same time. Whatever you use for this purpose, it is important that the camera is at your eye level so that you are not looking up or down to the camera. The team at PlexiCam sent me a simple but super useful Webcam screen mount to try. I was skeptical, but I love that I can talk directly to the camera and see others on a video call simultaneously.
In the photo above, my camera is positioned right above the eyes of the person I'm speaking with so that I can look into the camera and speak to him simultaneously.
The total investment for the gear I mention here is about $250. However, you can spend much more than that.
In fact, I just upgraded my home video studio with $20,000 worth of gear so I can present on virtual events from a professional grade system with 4 cameras, a fabulous mic and great lighting. I will blog about my new setup in a few weeks.
With a small investment, some practice, and a bit of creativity, anybody can be an effective virtual salesperson.