So many things have changed this year in response to the pandemic we may not fully appreciate how different our lives really are. Most of the changes have not been positive, but certain outcomes have proven to be beneficial now and are likely to continue into future.
For example, if pre-pandemic shutdown I would have advised you not to bother meeting with a prospect in their office, but rather simply visit them at their home — you might have thought I had lost my mind.
But, that's what many of you are doing right now because most of our clients are working from home in the new Zoom video world. We’ve all been “inside” someone’s home, at their kitchen table, den, basement office, or spare bedroom via live video connection, and if you think about it, it’s startling. We could never have accomplished this pre-pandemic!
Will Pandemic Trends Last?
Will this trend last? Let’s look at the mega-shifts in behavior brought about by the pandemic:
- Most offices are still closed or sparsely populated. Will that change? Probably so, but many companies are considering permanent work from home arrangements for their people and either eliminating offices or reducing their office footprint for the future.
- We have all learned how to use video (or, should). How many video meetings have you done in the last six months? How many did you do in the previous six months? See what we mean?
- Businesses have discovered how to have meetings (and better meetings) remotely. We bet that trend will continue.
Traveling to see a client in person has always been the best way to develop rapport and relationship, but now people are discovering rapport can be developed even more quickly when you see someone in their natural environment and can relate common experiences.
What might be lost by not being there in person ends up being a net gain given the much lower barrier of a video call that can happen more often and more informally.
How to Handle the Pandemic Shift
1. Get Comfortable Using Video
If you can’t (or won’t) you’ll be left behind. Worse yet you will have squandered perhaps the biggest business opportunity that has arisen from the pandemic.
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2. Dress Appropriately
You have to look as though you're making a sales call when you're making a sales call. Would you have worn sweat pants and a T-shirt had you visited the prospect in their office? Sure, I work many hours in my comfortable clothes, but I keep a dress shirt on a hanger right in my home office. It’s much like a wardrobe change in play.
3. Make Sure Your Own Environment is Presentable
You may be a pro, but if your background includes an unmade bed or dirty clothes basket, those you are meeting for the first time won’t be impressed.
- Avoid lighting behind you that makes it hard to see your face.
- Turn on your video camera on before the call to make sure the shot looks presentable
Prepare for the video meeting the same way you would prepare for in-person meeting. All the rules for a good sales call still apply.
The general population (and, certainly the business population) has learned how to use video to stay in contact, to have productive meetings, or to get to know each other. We have been recommending the use of live video for years, but now 2020 opened that door out of necessity. The question is whether you will commit to seizing that opportunity?