Your business is awesome. You solve real problems for your customers better than the competition ever could. You're professional and organized. But are some deals slipping through your fingers that you absolutely should have won?
Enter my world in early 2014 – the offshore remote team-building business I co-founded, Bolton Remote, was going through some serious growing pains. We were only a year old and growing fast, but some of the amazing deals we were pursuing just weren't happening. Something wasn't connecting.
I didn't know it then but the solution to our sales problems could be summed up in one word: video. Here's what we found and the 3 fixes you need now.
1. Distill your Service into Video
At the time, my product manager, Brian, discovered we had a leak in our sales funnel. Our marketing team was handing our sales team qualified, engaged prospects, but just a fraction agreed to move onto the next phase.
For us, the most important phase in the sales cycle is when our clients - typically management teams at start-ups - interview and select their remote team members. What was my sales team doing? Emailing resumes.
Sounds innocent, right? But our hand-selected candidates and our entire service offering was being reduced to a dry PDF sitting at the bottom of an email. It was boring, and wasn't really representing our full value as a talent partner to our clients. And this was such a critical point to drive home, because a key value proposition of our offering is increased transparency - something that in the often opaque outsourcing industry is rare. We needed to present our service in a new, engaging way, that matched our mission.
Over a weekend, Brian - convinced that if clients could just see and hear people they would dive right into interviews - whipped together an interview station in a conference room and gave every new candidate a personalized interview. We embedded the videos in WordPress “Video Profiles” along with their availability and FAQs about our service. Setup cost was just $300, and it has since proven to be a game changer.
What you need to do:
Think about where you're losing engagement in your sales funnel. That's where you probably need video.
Say your prospects are hesitant to pull the trigger and you decide you want to record testimonials shot in your clients' offices. Your minimum viable setup is just two smartphones your team already has (one for video, one for audio), $100 for lights, a free video editing application, and free video hosting.
The quality you'll get from such a simple setup will amaze you.
2. Pitch with Video
Once you distill your service down to engaging videos on your webpage, your cold outbound sales campaigns will also become much more effective.
At Bolton Remote, we went from trying to explain our service and the key benefits (always a tricky proposition) to simply putting great videos in front of prospects, and let that do the talking.
And if you're a service business, why not reply to an RFP with video? Web designer Daniel DiPiazza replied to RFPs with 90-second videos and had amazing success.
The key takeaway is that your service or product is purchased or passed over based on how well you can generate positive emotions in your leads. Besides a face-to-face interaction, video is the single most powerful medium for generating emotions and you lose when you don't incorporate it into your pitches.
What you need to do:
Already have video? Great - now incorporate it into your campaigns and watch your CTR improve.
If you don't have video yet, experiment with pitching your next deal via a video. Use the same setup described above and explain to your client why you have the right offering. Don't worry about the occasional “uh” and “um” - just do some jumping jacks to get your energy up, smile, and be authentic.
3. Communicate with Video
Remote interviews are a make-or-break it step in my business. For this critical interaction we previously relied on a built-in laptop microphone and camera and the conference room's ambient light. And the results were stale.
After our Video Profiles started killing it, we upgraded our Skype interview setup by using the same lighting setup, the best webcam on the market, and a high quality headset among other tweaks. This made a huge difference in presenting people at their best.
What you need to do:
In most cases as a service provider, you are the product. Any time you talk to a prospect via audio only, you are missing an opportunity to impress:
Use a great webcam and position it at your eye level
Use a high-quality headset
Buy two usb lights, position on either side of your webcam, and always flip them on before a call
Sit up straight
Remove clutter from your background
Lastly, turn on your video! Even if the person you're talking to doesn't turn on their video, always turn yours on.
Putting it All Together
I follow the data but I've also asked myself 'Why is it that video is such an effective sales tool, especially for service providers like us?'
Ultimately, it's because the services we provide are ephemeral. Deep down we want to be able to reach out and grab a thing - and turn it over in our hands a few times - before saying, “yes, I’ll take that.”
If you want to sell lightning, it sure helps to bottle it up first.