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Don't put your prospects to sleep!

Tom Drews is the CEO and founder of What Works! Communications. He helps sales people to design and deliver effective virtual sales presentations so that they can beat the competition and close more business. His clients include Google, Clif Bar, McKesson, Cisco, and Symantec.

Tom was former vice president of sales for two different fast-growing technology companies in San Francisco. Tom also spent some time in Hollywood as an actor where he learned valuable strategies for designing and delivering engaging presentations.

We will present Tom’s information in a series of blogs. Today, in part one, he talks about the role of virtual sales and the value of using tools like WebEx. He also offers his first tip for success. You can listen to the entire WebEx event here.

Presenting and selling in the virtual environment is the wave of the future. It’ll never replace the face-to-face meeting, which is something we’ve been doing for centuries, but it can be an incredibly effective means of communicating both our message and our value to our prospect. That said, it will mean next to nothing if we can’t effectively engage them.

What is the number one challenge when selling in a virtual environment?

Answer: figuring out how can we draw out our prospect. The challenge is: how can we get them involved? How can we gauge their reaction? It’s truly an enormous challenge. The reality is the average attention span of the typical human is somewhere between five and eight seconds, and it’s only getting shorter by the minute.

When we’re presenting online we can’t see our prospect, but most importantly, they know that we can’t see them. They are free to do anything and there is a long list of distractions. How many of you have sat in on a virtual presentation and wandered off to do something different? Most of us have, and that is exactly what we want to avoid.

Presenting and selling in the virtual environment fills a huge gap.

Ideally we want to get as close to meeting in person as possible. The interesting thing is outside sales is shrinking right now and inside sales is growing, and part of that is because of technology, because of web conferencing platforms like this we’re able to reach out and connect with our prospects and customers much more often than if we get on a plane and fly around the country.

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this kind of a platform and leverage it. Initially I delivered in-person presentation skills that has now evolved to teaching virtual presentation skills. I say evolved is because this really is the wave of the future.

Presenting online requires an entirely new set of skills.

Problem: How do you keep their attention and know if you have lost it?

The number one best practice for keeping people’s attention is to address people by their first name. I know it sounds painfully simple, but if you start by doing that early on, you will hold their attention throughout. If you do this early on people realize, “I better pay attention because he may call on me,” and I know it sounds like a little bit of a trick, but it works. We’ll talk more about some interesting ways you can do this that doesn’t feel intrusive or unnatural.

Come back later this week for part 2 of Tom’s presentation.

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