"I'M NOT A CAT!" WHEN VIDEO CONFERENCES GO WRONG AND HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR VIRTUAL SALES CALL

Are you uncomfortable selling over Zoom? If you are like many in the current pandemic world, selling over a computer might be outside of your comfort zone. Walking into a board meeting, presentation in one hand, the other extended for handshakes isn’t happening these days.

Imagine preparing a major sales presentation for days or even weeks only to have technology fail you at your big moment; or even worse, user error.


That is exactly what happened in a virtual courtroom hearing in Texas this week when an attorney unintentionally changed his filter settings to a cat.


“I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” attorney, Rod Ponton declared to a judge during a hearing. For 30-plus hilarious seconds, Ponton was indeed a cat. Just watch.



As you watch Ponton’s facial expressions, you can see his mouth and eyes moving, all through the cat filter. Can you imagine the chaos behind the screen? Ponton, profusely sweating, sitting in his chair backed away from his desk while his assistant leans over double-clicking the mouse at a feverish pace.


What is missed while watching Rod Ponton’s cat filter is Jerry Phillips in the top right. He is doing his best to contain his laughter or maybe disgust. It’s a little hard to distinguish.


Like millions of other Americans, this lawyer was just trying to make the best of unconventional work settings caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s the problem…


Our sales reps are in the same circumstances. Virtual selling is now the norm and sales reps have been forced to adjust. Lead generation, qualifying, and the final sales presentation have all gone virtual.


Businesses must create a seamless buyer experience in a world where many sales reps are uncomfortable. Exceptional products or services might be offered; however, sales reps will ultimately fail unless authentically connect and engage.


To help our fellow sales reps, here are a few key points to stand out at your next virtual sales presentation.


Prepare Your Presence

Like most, you are probably using a standard webcam built into your laptop. The computer is most likely below eye level and you are looking downward at the screen. The result is an unflattering view of your nasal hair. Try placing the laptop on a raised surface, such as books, so it appears as if you are looking eye-to-eye.


Check your audio. People will watch awful video, but poor audio will be a sales death sentence. How you tell your story will be a deciding factor, so make sure the audio is crystal clear.


It’s A Meeting, Not A PowerPoint Call

The purpose is to connect, engage, and convince. PowerPoint fails to accomplish any of this. Sales collateral must be supplemental to the conversation, not the heart of it. If you need to show your findings, data, or sales presentation, make sure you revert to video as soon as you are done presenting.


Your goal should be to create a lasting relationship within a finite amount of time. Focus on the human interaction. Your potential buyers will have time to digest the collateral later.


Show Your Passion

Zoom fatigue is real. Your audience is expecting another boring, reading off a script meeting. Articulate your value through a great story and convey empathy. Listen, lean in, and always maintain eye contact. Show you care and highlight your expertise in problem-solving.


Finally, Make Sure All Zoom Filters Are Set To Off

No explanation needed. Just ask Rod Ponton.


Our virtual sales calls should not cause us panic or frustration. We just need to understand how to better engage through technology.


The coronavirus has been responsible for numerous video-call blunders. You may only get one chance to convince your buyer.


The last thing you want is to have to tell your audience, “I’m not a cat!”