In this recap from a recent Dubb Support video, Steve Heroux spoke about how to quickly build trust virtually. In an era of remote work and endless numbers of Zoom meetings, Steve’s words on this subject are absolutely valuable. If you would like to view the entire conversation, go ahead and click on the play button above. Enjoy the discussion!
In the past several years, much of our day-to-day life has moved online. Whether we are getting on another Zoom or Teams meeting with our colleagues or commenting on our friend’s latest Instagram post, our digital selves are almost as important as our physical selves. At the same time, these digital interactions are much different than physical, in-person interactions. Even if we are physically seeing another person on the other side of a synchronous or asynchronous video, there are certain elements that make the trust building process that much more difficult.
So what can we do? For one thing, we can listen to Steve Heroux. In this discussion within Dubb Academy, Steve spoke about how to quickly build trust virtually. If you haven’t yet heard of Steve, he is a sales training expert and keynote speaker. As the founder and CEO of Victory Selling, Steve has extensive experience helping his clients improve their sales skills and get more clients. Simply put, Steve is obsessed with sales. In fact, when Steve was in high school, he became the number one Cutco rep in the country.
Whether you have been a sales professional for decades or are just starting your sales career, there are plenty of lessons and insights that you can take from this discussion. Let’s jump into it.
The World of Sales Has Changed
Steve started off his discussion by talking about how much the world of sales has changed. Further, we are not turning back. This virtual world that we are in is here to stay.
While it may be uncomfortable for some of us to recognize this, ignoring reality is not going to help. You may want to be face-to-face with most (if not all) of your prospects and clients. While Steve loves interacting with people face-to-face, all of us need to play with the cards that we have been dealt. We need to embrace this virtual selling medium that we have. One of the tougher situations is wanting to control a situation that we have no control over.
So what should we do? Steve recommends that we focus on controlling the things that we can control. It is using tools like Dubb, Zoom, and Teams to be more effective. As Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Steve said that this quote absolutely applies to virtual selling. When training thousands of sales professionals, Steve has seen people who have this self-limiting belief of “I’m only good when I am selling in person.” Simply put, if you believe that, it is going to be true. However, if you believe that you can give an engaging and valuable presentation over virtual means, you are going to succeed. You are going to have an amazing life, career, and business.
Steve also mentioned a really interesting fact. He said that 99% of his clients he hasn’t met in person. It goes to show how much of a digital world we now live in. Whether you run your own startup or are trying to generate sales for a much larger organization, you are going to need to rely on the digital world to reach your sales goals.
The great news? You can do it.
The Audience is There
Simply put, the digital world is crowded. On Zoom, for instance, there are 300 million daily users. For Microsoft Teams, there are 125 million per day. Even more surprising is that these numbers are just for the United States. There are hundreds of millions of more people around the world who are using video tools to communicate and collaborate.
Today, it is much easier to utilize video in your business. Having said this, Steve raised a question for the audience. That question? Are you (or your teams) utilizing video to make yourself more trustworthy? Going further, Steve asked, “Are you proficient in this medium?
These are important ideas and they go to the overarching notion of how to quickly build trust virtually. The modern-day consumer has significantly different demands and psychology compared to the consumer from just several years ago. Ultimately, people are craving personal attention and video is a great way to deliver that attention.
Whether you are trying to convince a specific prospect to make a purchase or want to nurture a brand new relationship, video can help you get the job done. Compared to something like text-based communication, it is a way for you to build stronger ties and get that much closer to a conversion.
How to Quickly Build Trust Virtually
With all of that said, let’s get into how to quickly build trust virtually. Steve offered several important steps to help you get the odds on your side.
Connect Before the Sales Meeting
For starters, try to connect with your audience member before the meeting. In this context, Steve doesn’t just mean sales meetings (also it is important there). He is also talking about a prospect meeting, one-on-one meeting, networking meeting, or strategic partner meeting. Basically, you shouldn’t be thinking of your video meetings as blind dates. You don’t want to just show up and start getting to know the other person (or people). Instead of this, make sure that you are doing your homework upfront.
The natural question is how you can actually connect with that audience member. You can do it through any number of ways, including email, text message, a phone call, or even LinkedIn. You can use Dubb with most of these tools, but sometimes, you may just want to pick up the phone and call. However you choose to do this, make sure you aren’t just showing up to a meeting.
If you are wondering why your sales efforts have been less successful recently, this may be a reason why. Now, we don’t have as much time to build rapport with others. Because of this, it is critical that you use the time before the meeting to build rapport.
Steve provided a great example of this. When he is sending an email to a CEO, he starts the email by saying something like, “Here are several things that can make our upcoming call more productive. It shouldn’t take you much time to review everything.” Below that, Steve sends some video testimonials (that he creates by using Dubb). Then, he sends the CEO a version of Steve’s sales team audit, which can help Steve understand some of the challenges that the CEO is facing with their sales organization. Essentially, he is completing some discovery before he does it in the actual sales meeting. Then, Steve sends the CEO some other clips about how he helps other companies (whether that has to do with hiring, determining the sales team’s DNA, or something else). Finally, Steve provides the CEO with a test drive of his back-end training system. The CEO can then go through the curriculum, see all of Steve’s live videos, courses, interactions, and more.
Again, Steve is doing all of this before starting the prospecting meeting. Most sales professionals chat for 30 minutes when they start a sales meeting. They speak about features, benefits, and how great their companies are. In the virtual world, you don’t have time for that anymore. If you can send out this type of lengthy email and do the work before the meeting, you get instant credibility. You can show your value and know their pain points before you start speaking at the meeting.
Ultimately, first impressions are much more valuable today than they have been before. Because we have less time to make a good first impression, we need to nail it. More importantly, since these first impressions are now virtual, there are certain elements from in-person meetings that you can’t leverage when making that initial connection. Consequently, you need to be great virtually to build that trust.
By doing this, the initial trust that you build can last throughout the conversation moving forward. Not only that, but connecting before the meeting can help your target or prospect familiarize themselves with you. For instance, if you connect on LinkedIn and share some thoughts and ideas before that initial meeting, your prospect will be much more familiar with you. This familiarity will make it much easier to build trust and make it more likely that you will generate a sale.
Finally, by connecting before the meeting, you can leverage third-party credibility. According to Steve, this is probably the most powerful tool that sales professionals don’t use. Essentially, third-party credibility is what other people say about you. While most sales professionals want to talk about themselves and how great they are, they don’t have the credibility to do that because they are self-interested. From the prospect’s perspective, it is obvious why you are saying these things. On the other hand, if you have raving fans describing how amazing you are, you are going to immediately gain credibility. This is why leveraging social proof through testimonials and referrals is such a powerful thing. Using Dubb, for instance, you can include a “reply with video” call to action, which lets you easily gather video testimonials. Once a certain prospect has watched one of your videos, they can click on the “reply with video” button, record their own testimonial video, and seamlessly send it back to you.
Ultimately, you are going to want to get as many raving testimonials and recommendations as you can. It is a way to quickly build trust with a prospect—both before and during a sales meeting. Steve even recommends that you go to LinkedIn and get as many recommendations as you can there. When you do this, make sure that you have recent testimonials. You don’t want just one testimonial from 2013. You want more recent testimonials, as they show that you are providing value today. Along with this, make sure that these testimonials are genuine. If they are organic, even better. It shows the world that you are doing a great job and that you are someone that can be trusted. The same principle applies to five-star reviews on Google, Yelp, and other platforms. You want to get as many testimonials as you can (video is ideal).
This is one of the great things about Dubb. You can have all of these video testimonials recorded and ready to be sent to your prospects. You can do so before a sales meeting and after a sales meeting. With Dubb, you can easily leverage the power of video to more quickly build that trust and get closer to the sales finish line. Pretty great, right?
Harness the Power of World-Class Communicators
Next, Steve talked about harnessing the power of world-class communicators. One of the things that world-class communicators do is that they realize they are in the spotlight. You are also in the spotlight when you are virtually engaging with others over Zoom, Teams, Dubb videos, or something else. Remember that your camera is not a two-way mirror. Your audience can see you.
Steve invented a medical condition called “resting Zoom face.” He said that many people have this. As Steve argued, if you look like you just murdered a family of five, that is not good for business. So when you are in a Zoom meeting, make sure to smile. This is true even if you aren’t talking. Think about it: the best poker players in the world don’t necessarily play the cards in front of them. They play the other people around the table, and they do so by looking for facial expressions called tells. By doing this, they have an idea of whether or not the people next to them have big hands. In sales, most people are oblivious to these signs. If you aren’t paying attention to non-verbal cues like these, you are losing. Therefore, when you are doing virtual sessions, Steve insists that your camera must be on. Ultimately, you need to see them and they need to see you.
Besides paying attention to your facial expressions, Steve recommends that you notice several other things. Those include other mannerisms and movements, body language, your background, and whether or not you look into the camera.
In terms of body language, Steve acknowledged that there are plenty of people that talk with their hands. If you are sitting down while you are delivering a presentation, your audience can’t see you speaking with your hands. You should always be standing when you are delivering a presentation, workshop, or something like that. If you are listening, you can sit. However, when you stand and deliver a presentation, you are much more energetic. There are also psychological benefits to standing. When you are standing and everyone else is sitting, you are creating an aura that you are in charge. You are the individual that your audience is looking up to. Think about it: if you are watching a play, you will notice that the actors and actresses are above you. It is because people look up at those actors or actresses. The same principle applies when you are virtually selling.
There is something called framing and eyeline. Framing, if you haven’t heard the term before, is where you are in relation to where the camera is. When Steve was speaking, he noted that there was about an inch from his head to the top of the screen. His eyeline, meanwhile, was at the top third of the view. By placing your eyeline in the top third, it creates that upward look from the audience. Even though it might be two-dimensional, there is a psychological benefit to this. So even if you want to be creative with this, Steve recommends that you stick to this tried-and-true method.
In terms of background, recognize that the way that you set up your background subtly affects your audience’s impression of you. They may ask questions like whether you are professional, whether you take pride in what is behind you, and whether they can trust you. If you have a virtual background, you lose many of those things. Also, recognize that virtual backgrounds do not work without a green screen. If you don’t have a green screen and use a virtual background, you will have this aura around you that will look tacky. No matter what you choose, spend some time to properly set up your background. As part of this, set up some space in your house or your office that looks professional. Whether you have a bookshelf, painting, or something else in the background, make it appear that a human being lives there. Ultimately, your audience doesn’t want any more fake things. And if you get interrupted by your child or dog? Don’t sweat it. Your audience wants reality, so even “disruptive” things like your child appearing on the screen won’t harm you. In reality, it will probably help humanize you, thereby helping you build trust with the viewer.
From there, Steve talked about lighting. Lighting is extremely important and it doesn’t cost much to get great lighting. As for Steve, he has studio lights on both sides of him, as well as a desk lamp light above him. The studio lights cost him around $150 and they have plenty of different features (for instance, Steve can change the color and tone as necessary). He also purchased blackout curtains ($10 from Walmart). Even little things like puck lights can create depth to your videos (you can find them for around $20 on Amazon). While it can be easy to balk at some of these expenses, Steve says that businesses that leverage virtual communications need to invest in their craft. These upfront costs can lead to immense value down the road.
Last (but not least), make sure that you are looking into the camera. Instead of looking at others or your own image on the side of the screen, you need to look straight ahead at the lens. You can hear others commenting on your presentation. You don’t necessarily need to see them when they are speaking. As the presenter and the one that is on stage, you need to look at the camera. It’s simple, yet there are some sales professionals that forget about this tip. By looking straight into the camera, you are building trust. It’s as simple as that.
And when you are listening to someone else speak on camera? Make sure that you are engaged. Don’t eat your lunch on camera or have a long chat with a colleague behind your camera. If you have to do these things, it’s better to click a button and be off-camera. The same is true of muting yourself. It’s obvious, but giving off the impression that you aren’t paying attention is not good. You can lose potential sales because of this.
A great way to reduce this risk (and improve the quality of your sales videos) is to watch your own sales videos. Clearly, professional athletes watch game film. They watch somewhere between 10 and 20 hours per week. The same principle should apply to sales professionals, yet few have even watched one of their Zoom or Teams meetings. As Steve says, you have to inspect what you expect. If you expect to be great, you need to be looking at yourself and finding out where you could have improved. Keep this in mind as you are recording your video content. Spending time reviewing your “game film” can lead to massive benefits down the road.
Prepare, Show Confidence, and Relax
As for the third tip on how to quickly build trust virtually, Steve talked about several things. First, you need to be prepared. Being prepared creates confidence, and confidence leads to competence. On the other hand, if you aren’t prepared, you can’t deliver a great message or value. It doesn’t work like that. Returning to the sports analogy, sports teams don’t show up three minutes before tip-off. They are there hours before the game begins.
So think about this: how much time does the average sales professional spend preparing for a Zoom meeting (or some other type of Zoom call)? Steve is guessing that it is probably two minutes. That may actually be a high number. Ultimately, Steve argues that sales professionals must spend more time preparing. If you aren’t prepared and show up in a meeting without doing your homework, you are going to have a tough time building trust with the prospect. While you may be able to “wing it” in some respects, the odds of making a sale are against you. However, if you prepare, you will set yourself apart from everyone else.
“Preparation” here doesn’t mean that you need to know every single thing about their business. It can be preparing by understanding what their passions and interests are outside of work. Steve told a story about how one of his clients was able to get on the cusp of a million dollar deal by seeing that the CEO was a huge fan of the San Francisco Giants. The reason that the client had this potential opportunity was because he prepared.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” Are you spending your time sharpening your axe? In this context, sharpening your axe can include working on your virtual presentation, connecting before the meeting, and using tools like Dubb to deliver a high-quality video. By doing all of this, you can relax, be more confident, deliver a better presentation, build trust with your audience, and generate more sales. It all comes from preparation, so don’t take many shortcuts here.
To wrap up the discussion, Steve mentioned some corrective actions that sales professionals should keep in mind.
First, commit to embracing virtual selling and hold yourself accountable to become proficient and effective in the area. To reiterate, the virtual world of sales isn’t going away. There are so many advantages to being a great virtual sales professional, so make sure that you build up these skills and take advantage of them.
Next, commit to reviewing your entire virtual selling sales process if you truly want to change your results. Start looking at what you deliver. Ask yourself: am I prepared when I speak with prospects? Do I have the proper equipment that gives me the best chance of winning? Am I connecting before the meeting or just showing up 10 seconds before the Zoom meeting starts?
Finally, invest in your craft. People spend $1600 on an iPhone that they barely know how to use. Or those same people will spend $5,000 to go to an event hoping for “the insight” that will help them accomplish their sales goals. Ultimately, you want to invest in the equipment that is going to help you distinguish yourself from others. So make those investments and get your reps in. While you may not see immediate results, staying consistent and keeping at it will put you in the best place to succeed.
So if you are wondering how to quickly build trust virtually, I encourage you to implement these insights above. Embrace the process and recognize that you are in it for the long game. I wish you the best of luck!
At Dubb, we love thinking about topics like how to quickly build trust virtually. If you have any questions or comments about the ideas discussed in this article, feel free to reach out. You can also click here to learn more about Dubb and click here to sign up for a free 14-day trial of our premium plans.