How To Have A Successful Virtual Client MeetingAllison Gibson
It has been almost a year since Covid-19 hit and it has turned our workdays heck…every day upside down. “Normal” workdays in the office and being on the go are a thing of the past. We are all doing our best to adapt and create new routines and are evolving daily as we go with the flow. By now, we have settled into a new norm and it is hard to remember how things were before. And I have never worn so many comfy pants in my life! I could get used to this.
It is important to move from the past and create new schedules and processes for meeting clients and prospective clients in this virtual world. We are all multitasking more than ever with remote school, work, meetings, workouts and more. Many days I wish I just had an extra set of arms and keyboards, so I could get more done.
Covid-19 life is all about distractions and trying to keep up. Lack of face-to-face time and looking your audience in the eye can make it harder to build relationships. Bearing this in mind and knowing more meetings and presentations are done virtually than in person, they need to be meaningful and engaging. People only have so much time in the day and it is best to make the most of it.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your virtual time with your clients, prospects, and sales calls.
Message – Keep it Simple
Asking someone virtually to retain everything you share in a 30-45 minute or even 15-minute call is not realistic. If you ask your audience to remember too much, they may get the gist of what you’re talking about, but not specific enough to remember later on.
It helps to prepare an agenda for yourself and a reminder to keep it brief and stay on task with the time allotted for each agenda item.
You can even send to your prospect or client an agenda ahead of time, to help them stay focused and on task as well, so everyone is on the same page of what will be covered and discussed. Also, make sure you have secured your appointment time and send them an appointment link to your digital meeting so it is top of mind on their calendar as well.
Focus – Visual Aids
We all can benefit at looking at fun shiny objects to help focus our attention. Digital should be presented digitally, even more with virtual meetings. Use PowerPoints to explain what you are discussing or pitching and use screen share tools to walk them thru the presentation.
Do not email them PowerPoints beforehand. They will only view what you sent and not your presentation. We just cannot help ourselves. You need to guide the meeting. Use tools like Free Conference Calling or Join.me to present your ideas and recommendations and how you are here to help.
Make sure your presentations are visually appealing. Use medium to large type, compelling visuals, statistics, and reasons they should work with you. This will also help your audience retain information later when making decisions.
When it comes to the point of your presentation where you really want their attention, use words and phrases to help to gain their focus like, “Now here comes the part I was most excited to share with you today” or “this strategy we have found works really well for your type of business” or “We have seen great success by using this with other businesses like yours”. Now you have their attention.
The next visual aid that can help assist with presentations is YOU. Look the part. Make sure that your top half is groomed, presentable and that your posture and body language is poised. Make sure all your notes are clearly in front of you and any support materials you may need are a click away. Fumbles and distractions are not good for any call. You want to have control of the room with your presence, even if you are not physically in the same room together. It is ok to be business on the top, however, studies show even when working from home, if you dress for success you are likely to be more productive and more confident.
And lastly, make sure you have your winning smile. A smile in presenting and when conversing can go a long way and it shows that you are invested in the meeting. Many experts tout that smiling can not only establish a positive meeting, but it makes you feel better and can increase audience engagement.
Your tone and how you present and conduct a meeting is critical to securing sales. Keep it light and keep it conversational. You are here to tell a story. This takes practice. Before you do your first meeting virtually, you need to practice presenting it several times and get 100% familiar and confident with what you are presenting. If you know your material and feel confident in what you are presenting, this shows. Many free virtual meeting tools can record. Try recording your presentation and critique it and make notes on any improvements you would like to make. When you are listening, make sure you put your client hat on and what you would want to hear. If you do not have record features, you can always use your phone to video or audio record, or you can present to a colleague for feedback.
Allow time during your presentation and after your presentations for questions. Before your meeting starts, make sure you tell them how long you plan for your meeting to be and make sure that this time is agreeable to them, and always make sure you stick to the timetable. To make sure your audience understands everything you are presenting do not wait until the end to ask if they have questions; take pauses in between your discussion. You can ask questions like, “Does this sound like this would be a good fit within your marketing plans?” “Do you have any questions about what I have shown so far” or “What do you think about what I have shared so far?”. This will also help to keep your audience engaged throughout the meeting. While presenting, make sure you also include pauses where you look at the screen and read their body language. Are they distracted? Do they seem engaged? This is no different than when you are doing in person meetings. If they seem distracted, this may be a good time to pause and gain their attention again.
Many salespeople and account executives are afraid of the big ask at the end. Don’t be. They are expecting it, so be prepared for it. Be cool about your approach and always going back to the research, feedback and work that was done. Thrive off the feedback you have received before your meeting and during and the research you have done. Use these key points to help identify why you are there and how you are going to help solve those needs. You are the expert, and you are here to recommend what they need.
You can start with “So we have discussed X, Y and Z. These recommendations will help x, y and z. Do you agree?” “Is Are there any changes you would make to what we presented today?” “What would you like our next steps to be?”
To recap just remember, if you control your Message, Tone and Gain their Focus and over all Questions you will get the Sale!