Working Remotely: Tips for Preparing and Hosting Successful Virtual Meetings
The Era of Virtual Client Meetings
Virtual Meetings are becoming increasingly more popular with so many people now working remotely from a home office. The ways we communicate with our clients and teams are ever-evolving, and adjusting to new ways of doing things can be awkward and uncomfortable. The best thing you can do is embrace new methods with the mindset to perfect a new skill. Here are some tips to help with the transition.
Before the Meeting
In preparation for your virtual meeting, you'll want to consider the environment you'll be presenting:
- Test your technology ahead of time. Avoid issues with technology by testing your WiFi and virtual connecting platform with a peer before hand to make sure it isn't spotty
- Minimize the risk of interruption by setting up in a quiet, secluded area
- Create a virtual office space. If you don't have room to create a home office, make the space you're working with as much of an office as possible. You want the space to be warm, inviting, and professional. Have a way to take notes throughout the meeting as you would in a face-to-face
- Wear clothing that is neutral and professional. Avoid clothing that would be distracting. It's hard to go wrong with a nice shirt and blazer, and it takes minimal effort
- Make sure that your area is neat and tidy, with nothing distracting in the background. Again, you want this space to be your virtual office environment
- Avoid setting up in front of a window as light should hit you from the front, not the back
- Frame yourself on screen to look like you are sitting across the table from them
Ensuring an Engaging Connection
It's common to hear that virtual meetings are boring, whether these virtual meetings are internal or client-facing. To move a sales process forward, you must be able to gain a common ground, qualify the opportunity, and commit the client to the next step. Here are some tips to ensure your virtual meeting is engaging enough for you to move the process forward:
- Be early, and encourage attendees to be early in the event that there is a technical issue
- Use video, even if you have a PowerPoint to present as well. Have an audio option available just in case
- Look straight into the camera, not at the screen. This is as important as in-person eye-contact
- Make the meeting as conversational as possible. Start with general rapport as you would at an in-person meeting, checking in with them before you get started. Show that you researched their organization by asking questions specific to their field of interest and company objectives. Touch base on current events, especially if you are meeting during the time of Coronavirus and your clients are sheltering in place
- Have a plan for your meeting and set an agenda with clear objectives, whether it is an introductory qualifying call or a demonstration or presentation. Keep it interactive and conversational to ensure engagement. Transitions should be smooth and and questions should be pointed
- Use energetic voice in-fluctuations and be passionate about what you do-- it can feel awkward at first but it's extremely important in order to keep your prospective client engaged virtually
- Remember, just because the meeting is virtual, you are still just connecting with another human, learning more about their goals, recognizing opportunities, and seeing if there are ways that you can help them. That part hasn't changed
Quick Virtual Meeting Checklist
- Am I dressed for success in neutral, professional, clothing that is non-distracting?
- Is my virtual office space neat and tidy? Is the background of my office space tidy?
- Have I checked my WiFi to make sure I have a good connection?
- Am I in a quiet, secluded area that is unlikely to be disrupted?
- Is my screen/camera set up so that I am framed to look as if I am sitting across the table?
- Is the light in front of me?
Virtual Meetings Will Become the New Norm
Experts are predicting that following the Coronavirus, virtual meetings could become the new norm. Adapting to new processes can create challenges, but also new opportunities. The important thing to remember is that the way that we sell has always evolved, and the best of the best evolve their processes with the times. As some things change, others stay the same: human connection, genuine interest in providing a service to others, and a passion for selling. If you've got all of that, the medium won't stop you. Happy selling!