Exposed by the Pandemic, B2B Virtual Selling Skills Fall Short

In large part, B2B sellers have not evolved their virtual selling skills.  A recent survey showed that the B2B virtual selling process is broken – but it is not because of the technology!

Rather, when virtual presentations remove the sizzle, buyers don’t see much substance.

In the world of B2B sales, personality, charm, and instincts could rule the day and win customer’s hearts and minds. However, when forced to move to virtual meetings and presentations, many salespeople have simply fallen flat.  Despite the challenges, the inability to transition to a virtual selling format has set back many salespeople, but it isn’t because of the technology!

A recent eMarketer survey showed that there are some issues with using technology and managing a virtual meeting.  What was more concerning were the frustrations expressed by B2B buyers about their experience.  Some of the top problems experienced by displayed by virtual sellers were well beyond technical, and are based on simple sales skills, organizational skills, and writing skills.

That’s right.

Of the top Virtual Selling Mistakes in this list, responsiveness, preparation, presentation skills, and writing skills are noted as being consistent mistakes displayed by sellers.  While the pandemic isn’t to blame for a lack of these skills, it does expose the B2B sales experience.  These issues didn’t just appear, but they have become more noticeable and harder to hide.

Show Notes

Links and Content Cited in this Podcast:

eMarketer: What Virtual Selling Mistakes are Buyers Seeing?


Matt Bailey: [00:00:00] I keep drilling this into people’s heads. It has everything to do with your credibility. If you’re not well lit, if you’re not centered in the frame. And I give the example of go watch the news, go look at the anchors, go look at the reporters. They are centered in frame. They take up the middle third or one third if they have a graphic next to them. They are well lit. The lighting is in front of them, shining on their face, lighting them up because the better you appear on camera, the more credible you are.

Bumper Intro-Outro: [00:00:39] Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:03] Well, hello listener, and welcome to the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. Glad you could make the time to join us today, and hey, look who is back in studio with me. If you’ve listened to earlier episodes of the show, the quality of content I think was high, but the quality of recording was very low. So I’ve learned from there, but Sue Grabowski is back with me, so if you’ve listened to some earlier episodes, you’re familiar with Sue.

Sue Grabowski: [00:01:30] Hi, Matt.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:31] How are you doing?

Sue Grabowski: [00:01:31] It’s nice to be back.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:33] It is great to have you back.

Sue Grabowski: [00:01:34] Coffee in the cup.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:35] So today it’s not…

Sue Grabowski: [00:01:36] It’s sort of coffee.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:37] It’s sort of coffee. We, I, I have exposed to Sue, to cascara , uh, which is the fruit around the coffee bean that they dry it out and you can make tea with it, and so enjoy it. If you, if you’ve ever had it before, you’ll you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t had coffee, tea, cascara, I highly recommend it.

Sue Grabowski: [00:01:59] If you don’t like coffee, you know, there’s folks that will never drink coffee, they would be surprised that this is coffee based.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:06] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:02:07] But it’s, it’s delicious. It’s got a little bit of zing at the end and it’s got flavor.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:13] Coffee for people who don’t like coffee.

Sue Grabowski: [00:02:14] But I do like coffee, but I like this too.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:16] Great. I did find out, well, actually my daughter find out, you don’t need to add sugar.

Sue Grabowski: [00:02:21] No.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:21] It’s got a sweetness already.

Sue Grabowski: [00:02:23] Yeah. I’m not a big add sugar to even my coffee or my tea, but I do like flavor and that’s, that’s got great flavor. So thank you.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:31] Oh, you’re very welcome.

Sue Grabowski: [00:02:31] Thanks for having me back.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:32] Oh, thank you. Uh, as soon as you said something to me about B2B sales in the middle of a pandemic and how people have to change, but yet what you’re seeing is we’re six, eight months, almost nine months.

Sue Grabowski: [00:02:48] I mean, you’re heading into a year here.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:49] We’re nine months into a pandemic, you know, more people still haven’t figured out how to change and adapt to virtual selling or virtual B2B sales. And I’m seeing the same thing, and you’re much closer on the ground. You, you’ve got local businesses you’re working with and even some remote and yeah, this is, I’m surprised.

Sue Grabowski: [00:03:11] Yeah, it’s been a challenge. I mean, for our clients that sell nationally and international,  well internationally not so much because they were used to some of those interactions, but the clients that sold nationally, let’s say manufacturers that were used to meeting up with the clients at the trade show to be able to have dinner with them or to, you know, to, to grab a beer with them, or just going to their locations to talk to them and setting those meetings and those aren’t happening, the obstacles are huge and they’re having really hard time. And then on a local level where you’ve got, say professional services firms like law firms, accounting firms, personal finance firms, where the ambiance of coming in and sitting in the office and talking to us and sharing with us, it was, was part of the whole sales deal.

And now out the window, how do you communicate your professionalism, your care, your, your, warmth and concern, all those things that are kind of, you don’t really feel it when you’re walking in, but they’re set up as the ambient atmosphere.

Matt Bailey: [00:04:18] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:04:19] Gone.

Matt Bailey: [00:04:19] Well, and I think for like, even in financial services, I’ve noticed where if you go to someone who’s in the financial services industry, the building itself is solid.

Sue Grabowski: [00:04:30] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:04:30] I mean, I, now that you say that I’m thinking about sort of the externals, the there’s, there’s rich colors, it’s dark wood, it’s all of this to present an image of safety, security, solidity, and now that’s gone.

Sue Grabowski: [00:04:48] Right. Law firms are generally set up to be welcoming, and yet foreboding, a bit, a bit of, I need to be a little bit afraid. I need to step in and know that. And so there’s a lot of barriers set up, right? You get moved from room to room and there’s a, there’s a method behind that thing.

Matt Bailey: [00:05:06] Wow.

Sue Grabowski: [00:05:06] Guess what? Gone. And you, I, I’m watching these very professional folks communicate very unprofessionally and yeah, and asking us, “What can we do to improve that experience?”

And some of it is, is really simple, but some of it is now changing the way, thinking differently about how you’re going to interact with folks interpersonally through this new digital means and through these virtual scenarios. How do you make virtual scenarios real and authentic? That’s the challenge I think everybody’s facing.

Matt Bailey: [00:05:43] Well, and that’s one of the things. So I offer a training and one of my training modules is how to present online to increase your credibility, and even when I’m presenting it to someone who’s scheduling training, at first they’re very kind of dismissive of it that, “Oh, we know how to do that. We’re on zoom every day.”

Like, no, no, you don’t dismiss this because I guarantee I’ll get on with your group and more than half of the group will have poor lighting, poor angles, I’ll be looking up their nose. And most of the time they’ll say, “Well, we’ve had training on how to present online.” No, no you haven’t.

Sue Grabowski: [00:06:19] I think it’s something that, I love the phrase OIK. Oh, I know.

Matt Bailey: [00:06:24] Exactly.

Sue Grabowski: [00:06:24] Oh, I know that. Oh, I know that, right. I think because we were talking about some kind of elementary concepts, that they think that they know that. X number of things, of course I know how to sell. It, it’s like they don’t want to admit that this new environment would actually have any effect on their abilities and it does.

And so the one-on-ones, I mean, we, we just did a lunch and learn with a legal team and it was, thank God it was the managing partner who said, “We need this.” But it was really telling because I did the training…

Matt Bailey: [00:07:03] That’s great.

Sue Grabowski: [00:07:03] …over the medium and literally called out examples among the people listening to me of bad lighting, I can tell you’re reading something while you’re trying to be listening to me or whatever, you’re looking off camera, your dog just came in. And I know some of this is, is like we’re dropping the curtain a little bit, and I know that there’s some new comfort level with your kids and dogs interrupting. It’s, it’s sort of okay, but not always okay.

Matt Bailey: [00:07:33] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:07:33] And I was thinking about the legal thing. I’m also a client of this firm. If I had a serious case going on or a serious discussion I needed to have, we can be jokey jokey, but there are not, there are some times where that is not appropriate and their credibility would be lost because of like who, who were you focused on?

And I’m paying you $400 an hour, whatever it is, to be attentive to me in this new space. So it really does make a difference.

Matt Bailey: [00:08:01] And who could be listening that shouldn’t be listening? Who, yeah, there’s a lot of questions there.

Sue Grabowski: [00:08:07] Confidentiality.

Matt Bailey: [00:08:07] Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [00:08:08] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:08:08] I so much, I keep drilling this into people’s heads, it has everything to do with your credibility. If you’re not well lit, if you’re not centered in the frame, and I give the example of go watch the news, go look at the anchors, go look at the reporters. They are centered in frame. They take up the middle third or one third if they have a graphic next to them. They are well lit.

The lighting is in front of them, shining on their face, lighting them up, because the better you appear on camera, the more credible you are, and the darker you appear, and I keep, this is one thing I just keep having to remind people, don’t have windows in the background.

Sue Grabowski: [00:08:51] Oh, it’s, it is really bad. Uh, the client, I was with another client this morning, financial services, and he’s got a great office, but his backlighting is terrible. He has wonderful windows throughout his office. And I said, you look like you’re in heaven. You know, you’ve got this angelic glow around you and I have encouraged him, I’m not a real big fan of the zoom backgrounds or the backgrounds.

Matt Bailey: [00:09:17] Oh, no. Yes.

Sue Grabowski: [00:09:18] But I think you should have one handy just in case, and it should be very simple, very neutral so that if you move out of it, there’s no problem with your logo in the corner, very small, just to have handy in case there’s some kind of, you can’t move around…

Matt Bailey: [00:09:33] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:09:34] …for some reason, but these are people that have paid meticulous attention to their offices. And then when I’m on a zoom with them are not thinking about anything around them in the background.

Matt Bailey: [00:10:00] Yeah, the window in the background, it’s a great way to darken your face and darken your features, and it blurs your features together so I can’t see, it makes it harder to see your non-verbals. It makes it harder to see your reaction, harder to see those little, you know, facial expressions that are so critical to a conversation and, great. Yeah. You’ve got a beautiful background, but you’re the focus.

Sue Grabowski: [00:10:09] That’s right.

Matt Bailey: [00:10:10] And the light needs to be on you. You’re the one that’s going to convince me, I give this story because this was, we were training, you know, during COVID, everything zoom, and the instructor basically sat his chair in front of his fireplace and put his laptop on the coffee table in front of the chair. So already the angles are off. The laptop is on the, so we’re looking up at him…

Sue Grabowski: [00:10:35] Lower screen, looking up at his chin and his nose.

Matt Bailey: [00:10:37] Yeah, barely because he’s also leaning back, and so his face is only, I would see the bottom fourth of the screen that we see. Three fourths is his fireplace. To make it more unfortunate, they had some decoration that made it look like antlers.

Sue Grabowski: [00:10:56] It’s growing out of the back of his head.

Matt Bailey: [00:11:00] Growing out of his head, and I’m in the chat, telling him, “Hey, adjust your laptop, sit up, move the camera.” You know, “It looks like you have antlers,” and wasn’t paying attention at all to the chat, didn’t see anything as I was trying to, “Hey, we can only see a fourth of your head,” you know, that type of thing, and completely oblivious to it as far as how he looked and was presented.

And honestly, I did have, uh, access to the back chat of this class and it was just constant joking about how he looked and the antlers and, you know, and we’re looking up his nose, as you know, with the poor angle, and the back chat was so focused on the image and not the content.

Sue Grabowski: [00:11:40] Yeah. That’s really sad. Here’s the question for you? Is it because people don’t care? To me, this is, this is 101, I mean, I would think this way, if I’m going to an in-person meeting, I know what I’m wearing, I’m preparing certain things for that particular in-person meeting. But I am seeing a disregard, it’s almost like, “Well, everybody else is doing it,” but what, what happened to us? Where, I would never want to be presenting as you’re describing there and have them be more focused on my, on my image than on my content, any more than I would in an in-person meeting. So what do you thinks happened?

Matt Bailey: [00:12:20] I’m not sure. I think some people have felt like, you know, it’s I just need a camera and I’m ready to go. Others who, you know, are regularly on Zoom and regularly presenting, maybe there’s an over familiarization that I’ve done this before. I know what I’m doing. I’m cool. But yet there’s always a preview.

Sue Grabowski: [00:12:43] Exactly.

Matt Bailey: [00:12:43] I’m constantly looking at my preview to see what, you know, is the lighting okay? And then eventually you have to turn it off otherwise, you know, I tend to look at my preview more, when I want to look at people, so it’s, it’s get a good gauge of the light, of the position, okay. We’re good. Let’s go. But I think some people might be so familiar with the technology, they feel like they have it handled and that’s what they’re running with. Whereas, I’ve got a checklist before every zoom meeting. Where’s my light? I found I even had to change my setup from the spring to the fall because the lighting is completely different now.

Sue Grabowski: [00:13:22] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:13:22] And different times during the day, if the sun is coming in, I had to change my whole setup based on that, cause it changed the whole lighting. So you have to start with an awareness. First and foremost, how do I look on camera? And if you don’t start with that, then everything else is just, it’s going to go downhill.

Sue Grabowski: [00:13:43] I had to, I was just kind of pulling my virtual meeting, um, lunch and learn. But we talked a lot about, we were trying to describe in addition to providing imagery, right? Describe lighting on your face because some folks can’t picture that. And fortunately, in that particular meeting, I had some folks that had lighting on their face and I was able to say, “Hey, Margaret had, has great, look at her. Margaret describe your office setting. Where, where’s your windows? How are you,” you know, because they were all working in different places.

Matt Bailey: [00:14:15] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:14:16] Um, but I was just, I was just trying to find the, the reference to it, but trying to describe how to frame themselves, why it’s important to shoot even or down, downward toward your forehead. Actually, your camera in your computer should be pointing at your forehead, but that is photography 101, this isn’t new to Zoom. This is what we would do in photo shoots.

Matt Bailey: [00:14:40] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:14:41] And so we’re applying what we do in real life to these kind of virtual settings, but you either have to choose to put in the effort and it takes more effort, I think part of it’s that. It takes more preparation. It takes familiarity with technology that you may or may not quote unquote “like.” I don’t like, I don’t like that software. I don’t really care. That’s what we have. Right? Getting familiar with that and investing in preparation. Like you just said, I have a checklist before I start this.

And I think it’s a “give a rip” factor.

Matt Bailey: [00:15:14] Yeah. You’ve got to care.

Sue Grabowski: [00:15:15] You’ve got to care.

Matt Bailey: [00:15:17] I mean, my, I, I think back to very early in the pandemic and I was stacking books in the windowsill and putting my laptop on top of that, just to get, you know, cause I didn’t have any lighting. I didn’t have my standing desk, you know, ready to go. I, you know, so it was trying to take advantage of the natural light where, how can I do that? Um, but then over the months it’s been investing in ring lights, going through three or four ring lights that don’t work, that I don’t like that, you know, those type of, finding things at work to eventually, you know, recommending to people.

We may be doing this for another year, year and a half, who knows, uh, you know, even with a vaccine, it’s still what they’re saying, and you know, it could be the fall. So another year, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to create for yourself, your own studio, a little corner, that’s yours, that you can control the lighting and manage how you look, you know, and one person shared with me like they’re in a bathroom. Great sound, great lighting, you know, and, and it’s all set up, but you would never know it the way that they’ve controlled the space, you only have to control a small area and that’s part of it.

It’s controlling the environment and by doing so, you create a much better impression.

Sue Grabowski: [00:16:40] I think it just dawned on me as you’re talking. Maybe the reason it’s not even really the “give a rip” factor. I think maybe folks think it’s vanity.

Matt Bailey: [00:16:49] I can see that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:16:50] And yes, I guess it is to some extent, I would say it’s more effective positioning and it would be effective persuasion, right? Your favorite word. It’s about creating an atmosphere conducive to achieving the objective, which if you’re doing virtual sales, that if the objective is to close the sale, then your credibility plays into that. So I see it as setting it up that way, but maybe that’s why some folks are not open to it or as open to it, because if I think about my, my attorney clients, there were some that were just like, I could read it when I was going through the luncheon, and they’re like, “This is ridiculous. I know what I’m doing with law. I don’t really need to do all these things.”

But what they don’t see is that I’m questioning what they know in law based on what they look like.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:41] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:17:42] And that’s, that’s terrible.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:44] But that’s human nature.

Sue Grabowski: [00:17:47] But that’s human, that’s what we judge things on.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:50] Human nature. Yeah. I mean, in any other situation, if I were deciding who I was going to work with and I could not read their facial expressions, I couldn’t see the nonverbal ticks and the lighting was really poor and the sound was a little garbled, I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I wouldn’t trust them.

Sue Grabowski: [00:18:09] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:18:10] In any situation, even just a poorly lit office and a lack of feedback, nonverbal feedback, a lack of eye contact. I wouldn’t trust that person in a real-life face to face. We live, we thrive on eye contact on a clear view of the non-verbals, uh, you know, even listener as we’re doing this podcast, I mean, it’s, it’s how we’re communicating as we talk and who’s going to talk and who has an idea. It, it’s all non-verbal, it’s eye contact, and to dismiss it for an online medium is at your risk.

Sue Grabowski: [00:18:48] I agree completely. I think, I think you’re really doing yourself a disservice by not thinking these things through, by not preparing, which we can talk about in a minute, um, and by not understanding the value of these things. And it would be the same thing, I mean, when I talk to college students, right? I talked to them about general one-on-ones on getting ready for an interview, whatever. I address things like their dress, their eye contact, preparing questions in advance, where they carry their objects, you know, is their right hand free to shake hands.

Again, we don’t even know how long it’s going to be again until we can, if ever, shake hands. That meant something.

Matt Bailey: [00:19:27] Right. Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:19:27] That’s also removed.

Matt Bailey: [00:19:29] Body language.

Sue Grabowski: [00:19:30] Completely.

Matt Bailey: [00:19:31] And that, boy, on a virtual environment. You’re slouching in your chair. Your eyes are flickering around the screen, which means you’re reading email. That’s body language.

Sue Grabowski: [00:19:41] Absolutely.

Matt Bailey: [00:19:41] When, especially people, if you’re wearing glasses and you’re going through windows on your screen, I know it.

Sue Grabowski: [00:19:49] I see it.

Matt Bailey: [00:19:50] I can see the change in the screen and the colors on the glasses, the reflection.

Sue Grabowski: [00:20:00]  It’s so funny. I haven’t said that out loud. That is completely it. I have, I have watched that because I’ve watched, I’ve watched people’s eyes dart back with, and I’ve watched people do that with glasses and I’ve thought about calling it out. But I have, one thing I have had to do because I’m in the same business here. I, I’m doing all my meetings virtually and I have two new clients that I have not met in person. As a result of COVID everything’s occurring virtually. Right. So they don’t know me well, I don’t know them well, I have no context.

Right? But I have said to them out loud, “I can’t read what you’re giving me in terms of your face right now, I can’t interpret your response.” And I’ve actually said it out loud on a virtual meeting. And one time it was to jar them back into my meeting, and another time it was truly because I couldn’t read their facial expressions and I, I fancy myself, a decent reader of people.

In this medium it’s really, it’s tougher in by giving someone undivided attention, by making sure that you’re speaking at them as if they were sitting across from you, and thinking in those terms, I think you have a better shot at creating relationship.

Matt Bailey: [00:21:08] Oh.

Sue Grabowski: [00:21:09] Can’t say you’re in close the sale cause I don’t know how you sell.

Matt Bailey: [00:21:11] But relationships, yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:21:12] But if this is about relationship building in a strange environment, and you have to decide that relationship is worth it.

Matt Bailey: [00:21:20] So I work with two technology-based organizations, one it’s their policy cameras on all the time. The other has accepted that people don’t turn on their cameras, and so when I’m in the meeting, I’m the only one with my camera on and I’ve got three, four or five other people with no cameras on. There have been times where I have asked, could you put on your cameras?

I really need to get your feedback on this, and voice only is not cutting it. You know, why don’t we just do a phone call if that’s what we’re going to do. And it’s funny because when we, when we have a phone call, people talk more. I think they’re more comfortable talking through it on a phone, on a conference call, but when we’re Zooming there’s a lot less, I, you know, it’s, it’s just odd.

So a lot of it too, is that corporate side of it, that corporately what’s been acceptable. If you allow people to Zoom or, or conference or, you know, teams without video on, what’s the purpose? What do you, what’s, what is this adding when we’re not turning our cameras on?

Sue Grabowski: [00:22:23] We used to have conference calls all the time without a problem.

Matt Bailey: [00:22:25] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:22:26] Now you’d have the same issues. You’ve seen that parody online with the conference call, right? Now it’s even worse with the video part, but I recently was in a meeting where I was the only one on camera, there were several other parties not on camera and they sprung something on me, and they can see my face and I can’t see theirs. And again, I had to quickly move into, “I was only acting,” I was, I had to go into, “Everything’s great. That’s awesome news.” Smiling, staring. But that’s my question too. There are times for a phone call.

Matt Bailey: [00:23:03] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:23:04] If you’re going to have a video conference it’s because you want to see people’s faces.

Matt Bailey: [00:23:07] Right. Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [00:23:08] So even knowing the difference of when to call versus when to schedule a Zoom. And look Zoom is like becoming like Kleenex, right? Zoom, WebEx, Google Meets, whatever brand you want, whatever you want. You need to have some discretion there. Think about the purpose of the meeting, and I think you could also win points if you realize this can be handled by phone, so I’m just going to call you. I would be, I guess that would add credibility to me if you’re like, if the objective is this.

Matt Bailey: [00:23:37] Yes.

Sue Grabowski: [00:23:38] And we can do it by phone, let’s do it by phone.

Matt Bailey: [00:23:41] You know, and I think one of the reasons we got away from using the phone and this happened early during the lockdown is the phone systems were completely overloaded.

Everyone was trying to call, everyone’s trying to, or maybe video conference. And so, your video conferencing software that had the most bandwidth dedicated to it, whereas your phone, you know, I know out of New York, I was trying to do a lot of meetings and people were getting kicked off the line, it wasn’t connecting, so there’s a lot of issues.

But now I think a lot of those have resolved where I would love if we just do a conference call and I can put my phone in front of me, and then I can look at my screen and click around and do things, and don’t feel bad about people saying anything.

Sue Grabowski: [00:24:23] I don’t feel badly. Right?

Matt Bailey: [00:24:26] One of the things that I think you started talking with me about this, and I said, I’ve got a study you need to see.

Sue Grabowski: [00:24:31] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:24:32] And so the rain group, uh, an e-marketer put this out and this was virtual selling mistakes according to buyers worldwide, and this was done in June. So four months into the pandemic. And my first reaction when I saw this was we’ve had more than four months, and people still haven’t figured this out? And now we, we look at this and we’re nine months to ten months in, and we still haven’t figured this out.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:03] Correct. I mean, I would say everything on this finding, on this report, is still in play.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:08] But here’s what is crazy about this list.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:11] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:11] So this is B2B selling mistakes, but we’re putting the word virtual in front of it.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:18] Right. It’s virtual selling mistakes.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:20] But half of the list has nothing to do with virtual.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:25] It’s amazing.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:26] I mean, we’re going to link to this in the show notes, read the article, download, but you know, when number four or number three, let’s start with number three.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:34] Okay.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:35] Not responsive to my questions or concerns.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:38] 84%. That’s enormous.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:41] That’s not a virtual problem.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:43] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:44] That is a sales problem. That’s a relationship. I mean, yeah. We’re looking at each other just horrified,

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:50] Well, yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:51] We’re fine.

Sue Grabowski: [00:25:52] Yeah. The not responsive to questions or concerns, that is fundamental. That’s, this is 101 stuff.

Matt Bailey: [00:26:00] Sales 101, yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:26:01] And I wonder prior to this, like I wonder if they could cover up some of that stuff more easily, either by phone or in person where you’re like, “I gotta go check on something,” or I’m at a trade show and I meet you and you’ve got a question and maybe I don’t get back to you, but when you’re it’s you and me and a camera…

Matt Bailey: [00:26:22] Wow. That’s I, you know, I did not see that, but yeah, there’s less place to hide.

Sue Grabowski: [00:26:27] Not responsive, you can’t, hem and haw and say, “I’ll get back to you,” as easily as you can maybe other media. I don’t know.

Matt Bailey: [00:26:34] No, I think that is a great observation that now I can’t hide. And I think it also might have to do with, we’re all on virtual conference and let me unleash my fourty slide PowerPoint deck. And now I’m going to walk you through all of the sales content, and I could see a buyer….

Sue Grabowski: [00:26:57] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:26:57] “I just have a quick question.”

Sue Grabowski: [00:26:59] Their trying to raise their virtual hand like yo, and in a meeting you could stop somebody, but it’s much more difficult, especially if you’re in a group and you’re less likely to do that because you don’t want to be the interrupter.

Matt Bailey: [00:27:12] Right. Well, even more on that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:27:15] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:27:15] I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna riff on this a little bit. Everyone likes to brag that they’re multitaskers, but Zoom has exposed, and any, Zoom Teams, right. We’re using Zooms inclusively.

Sue Grabowski: [00:27:28] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:27:28] It has exposed the lack of multitasking ability because if you’re running the PowerPoint, you also need to be looking at the participants because if they raise their hand…

Sue Grabowski: [00:27:40] Or post a chat question.

Matt Bailey: [00:27:41] …and yeah, you have to have the chat box open. So the participants window, the chat box, also you need to be managing that mute button in case something’s going on in the background. So there’s a lot going on. And a lot of people self-professed multitaskers are failing miserably at being able to manage the chat, the participants window, their PowerPoint, and being aware of what’s happening, and still not reading the room.

Sue Grabowski: [00:28:10] Yeah. And when I did even my lunch and learn training, right. I would go about three slides, I had all that open, but you’re completely right. And I would, I would fancy myself a multi-tasker, but I literally said at the beginning, it’s tough for me to present and answer your questions. So every couple of slides that I go through, I’m going to stop. I’m going to read the chat. I’m going to look at your hands. So if you raise your virtual hand, and I’ll be reading the chat and I’m going to pause. But I had to force myself to do that because my first few meetings, of course, I thought I could run it all.

And in a normal, let’s say normal, let’s say a person-to-person sales interaction, you generally would stop along the way cause you could read the body language. Are they following with me? Are they not? And you could, they, you could ask them, or they could just interrupt you much more easily.

Matt Bailey: [00:28:57] Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [00:28:58] And now they’re not. And I mean, I’m going to share this with my clients because that number three is make or break.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:07] It is, it is.

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:09] You don’t feel heard, and you don’t respond, you’ve lost it. It doesn’t matter what you, how many slides you showed them.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:15] And that, that is a core concept of, if you’re not responsive to my question or concern, you know, why should I work with you?

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:21] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:22] Because that sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. So number one of virtual selling mistakes, and this is percentage of respondents, I think it was just kind of like, what have you seen or witnessed?

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:32] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:32] 89% of respondents said technology problems, which there’s two sides to that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:38] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:38] I’m surprised it’s not a hundred percent. I’ve had Zoom crashed on me.

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:42] Sure.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:43] Multiple times.

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:44] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:44] In a session.

Sue Grabowski: [00:29:46] The platforms themselves can get really wonky. And I gave you that. But I would say the other side of that, which I think you were alluding to is experiencing technology problems doesn’t always mean that it’s the technology that’s the problem.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:59] Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [00:30:00] The user of the technology may be the problem. And it doesn’t say on here whether it was the one presenting or the one logging in, but I mean, I’m still on zoom meetings where people don’t know they can virtually raise their hand.

Matt Bailey: [00:30:15] Yes.

Sue Grabowski: [00:30:16] Who don’t know how to mute themselves, who don’t know, I mean, and they’ve been on a ton of meetings. And the excuse is, “Oh, I just, I can’t figure this stuff out.”

Matt Bailey: [00:30:25] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:30:25] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:30:26] Sooner or later, you’re going to have to do it because we may be doing this a lot longer. And that’s the thing, as the administrator, as the one who’s initiating the meeting, there are tools there where you mute the entire room. As soon as they log in they’re muted, they have to unmute. I mean, these are things and just managing that, but yeah, also as a buyer, you also need to be respectful and logging in, logging in on time, being ready to listen, but technology problems, like I said, I’ll let that side, we’re all dealing with that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:31:00] I think that that’s a gimme.

Matt Bailey: [00:31:01] Uh, number two, 86% of buyers responded that there was a using poor visuals or no visuals during the online meeting. Ouch.

Sue Grabowski: [00:31:14] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:31:15] Ouch. That means you’re using a bullet point driven PowerPoint deck.

Sue Grabowski: [00:31:21] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:31:22] And that will put anyone to sleep live or virtual. You’ve got less, less patience on a virtual if you’re reading PowerPoint bullet points.

Sue Grabowski: [00:31:32] Right. And again, I think during the sales interactions, most salespeople that I know are more fluid in their presentations. When they’re talking to you, they may have some supporting materials, they might show you a presentation, but they stop and they talk and they, or, but they’ve got, they’ve got some stuff with them, but they use it wisely as the conversation goes

In this form, I think that we’ve all stiffened up and it’s like, okay, well, I’m just going to show you a deck. I have a deck. Cause I don’t know anything else I can do. You don’t realize you can, you could show video while you’re doing that, or maybe you actually hold something up to a camera. I mean, you got you, you’ve got to be as creative and as fluid in those meetings as you would, if you were meeting with somebody in person.

But I think we’ve become very stiff and regimented because we are A. Worried about the technology problems. So we limit it and we just go, I’m not, I think if the PowerPoint’s gonna mess me up, I think I’ll just talk to you for an hour.

Matt Bailey: [00:32:36] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:32:36] So there’s no visuals. It’s just my mug poorly located in the screen with some bad lighting and…

Matt Bailey: [00:32:45] And then stiffening up, a lot of times what people fall back on is talking through the PowerPoint.

Sue Grabowski: [00:32:52] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:32:53] It’s what I know. I’m going to fall back on that because that’s what’s safe, not realizing that that’s also what makes it crazy boring.

Sue Grabowski: [00:33:01] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:33:01] And to sit there and listen, and there’s a great article. I’m going to post it in the show notes as well, but it talks about zoom fatigue. And now what fatigues people is the audio.

Sue Grabowski: [00:33:14] Ah.

Matt Bailey: [00:33:14] Because, and this was fascinating.

Sue Grabowski: [00:33:16] That’s fascinating.

Matt Bailey: [00:33:16] I loved reading it. If we’re in a room of people, I can be looking one direction and I can hear someone on the other side of the room talking and my brain immediately locates where they are and who it is. I can figure it out. I have spatial awareness based on the audio of a in-person meeting.

In a virtual meeting, it’s all coming out of my computer speaker, regardless of who’s talking where they are, there’s no spatial awareness. And so the, the audio is just all compressed into this one channel and we don’t have a full idea of where people are. And so a lot of technology is now working on creating a virtual meeting room where people have locations in the room and trying to create a three-dimensional sound because they’ve shown it’s less stress on your brain.

Sue Grabowski: [00:34:13] I, I, I.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:14] Isn’t that amazing?

Sue Grabowski: [00:34:15] That is fascinating. And you know, I’m, I’m thinking I have a client that has one of the new gadgets that when you’re speaking in the room, the camera turns toward you. And I will say now that you said that it’s a completely different virtual experience when I’m meeting with that client in their conference room, because the sound, I mean it’s coming through here, but the sound that it’s picking up is not all direct. And I did not think about the annoyance of the sound.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:44] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:34:45] It’s constant, it’s all at the same levels.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:47] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:34:48] All coming through the same port. That’s fascinating.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:52] And it’s usually a low quality because it’s trying to get through.

Sue Grabowski: [00:34:55] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:55] So, and then again, you’re dealing with people’s microphones. There’s one person I meet with regularly. I think he invested in a high-end camera and it’s, you know, the background is faded out just enough and it’s crystal clear, but his microphone is terrible and it’s so hard listening, but I’m like, what kind of camera?

You know, in my mind, I’m looking at cameras, that that looks really good, but then, but there’s nothing in the microphone. And it’s also something I learned about podcasting is if the sound quality is garbled or low, you have 20 seconds or less.

Sue Grabowski: [00:35:30] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:35:30] That as soon as I tune in, I’m not going to listen to 20 minutes of that or an hour.

Sue Grabowski: [00:35:35] I didn’t really think about how much annoying sound, how much that is a driving force in, in being a dissuader from hanging around. That’s interesting. And you have people that are overcompensating in addition to the sound thing, I’m just thinking through this, they’re overcompensating for their poor audio quality by talking loud, more loudly and, or by putting in headphones that may not have a great mic because they’re trying to, they’ve got other people, I mean, this is a real condition, other people in the house also on virtual meetings. So they’re trying to keep it quiet, but in doing that, I mean the sound, you’re right. It, it would give us a headache and I’m going to pay more attention to that. Thank you for sharing that.

Matt Bailey: [00:36:16] Yeah. I did not realize it until I read the article and then it makes so much sense and yeah, different people participate on the call and there are some, when they’re ready to talk, I’ve heard them talk before and I’m like, oh no, you know, it’s going to be cringy loud, it’s, it’s screechy, something’s wrong with that mic.

And there are certain people I find myself wanting to hear from them because they have a good quality mic, whereas others, I know I’m going to have a hard time hearing it, and it’s not going to come over well. And so if you’re in sales and you’re doing virtual, it, you better, better be investing in a great microphone, because that could mean the difference of getting the sale or not, is being clearly heard.

Sue Grabowski: [00:37:02] That is, uh, that’s smart. Thanks for sharing that.

Matt Bailey: [00:37:06] Hey, that’s, it, it’s funny cause I just talked about poor visuals and then we talked about sound.

Sue Grabowski: [00:37:11] And then we moved to audio, but it’s package.

Matt Bailey: [00:37:13] It is, it is. Hey listener, we’ve got to take a few minutes here and uh, pay some hosting bills.

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Matt Bailey: [00:39:11] Okay, welcome back. Hope you enjoyed those commercials and thank you for dealing with that. Those of you that hit the fast forward 30 seconds. I hear you. I know what you’re doing, and, uh, I do the same thing. Alright. Hey, we’re back to the Leading Virtual Selling Mistakes According to Buyers, Sue, I’m going to let you handle number four. Okay, I’m glad you’re doing this.

Sue Grabowski: [00:39:32] Yeah, so one was experiencing technology problems, which we said everybody does.

Matt Bailey: [00:39:35] I’ll give you that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:39:36] Using poor or no visuals during online meetings was 86%.

[00:40:00] 84% said not responsive to my questions or concerns, which made both of us have fire alarms go off. And the fourth one, two words, “Not prepared.” 83% said, “Not prepared.” And again, I think that the benefit of the whole zoom interaction scenario is salespeople, like me, we go with the flow.

Matt Bailey: [00:40:07] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:40:08] Right? And we were able to fudge it through a lot of things, and now…

Matt Bailey: [00:40:12] Jazz hands.

Sue Grabowski: [00:40:12] Jazz hands always.

Matt Bailey: [00:40:14] Jazz hands, just on the sheer force of personality…

Sue Grabowski: [00:40:16] That’s right.

Matt Bailey: [00:40:16] …you could get something to go through.

Sue Grabowski: [00:40:18] Now you cannot.

Matt Bailey: [00:40:19] No.

Sue Grabowski: [00:40:20] And it’s my opinion, and I coached my clients, you actually have to spend more time preparing because of the multitasking issue that you described. So you need to have all the documents that you may reference or websites or anything you’re going to reference, have them all opened in advance of the meeting so that you can quickly go there. You have to think through an agenda because people do not want to spend hours on these things. Talk about fatigue. So you’ve got to really, you have to have your own agenda.

And again, you’ve got to have a “give a rip” factor involved here in that agenda building and knowing it, but “Not prepared” has nothing to do…

Matt Bailey: [00:41:00] With being virtual.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:01] …with being virtual.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:02] Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:02] It has everything to do with being well, a professional.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:05] A professional salesperson.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:06] Yeah. And…

Matt Bailey: [00:41:08] Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:08] …uh, that was shocking.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:11] I think not being prepared has a lot to do with the previous concern, which was, they’re not responsive. That if I ask a question and you’re not responsive to it, I’m also seeing it as, “Well, you weren’t ready for this.”

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:23] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:23] Especially if it’s a very basic question or, “What do you mean, you don’t know?” You, you know, uh, where you could fudge it before and where your personality could replace competency. And then I’m not saying salespeople are…

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:37] I’m the queen of it.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:38] But I know, yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:38] I’m completely the queen of it.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:40] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:40] And it’s, it’s I completely vibe to jazz hands. I jazz hands my way through too much. Right?

Matt Bailey: [00:41:51] You get to rely on that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:41:53] You do, because it is, it’s persona and it’s that personality flair and, and it’s confidence.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:59] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:42:00] It’s confidence. And that, the overconfidence factor is playing into this, which is…

Matt Bailey: [00:42:04] Oh, that is a good point.

Sue Grabowski: [00:42:06] …the “Oh, I know,” and, “I’ve already done this. I’ve done this for X number of years. I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years. I don’t, I don’t really, I mean, of course I’m prepared.” No, you’re not. And you are deer in the headlights and that if you have to go look for an answer and you, I mean, we’ve all been on these calls where you’re clicking around trying to find it and you become again, it’s distraction and they look at it and they’ll go, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:30] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:42:30] And you’re out. But I think that this has exposed that vulnerability.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:36] And this gets to, so I’m going to, I’m going to go back to like Marshall McLuhan.

Sue Grabowski: [00:42:41] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:41] Again, the medium is the message.

Sue Grabowski: [00:42:42] The medium is the message.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:43] Because what people are experiencing and what they’re, what this all points to is virtual conferencing is an entirely new medium.

It’s not a conference call. It’s not a video chat. It’s not FaceTime. It’s not TV news. It’s, this is a whole new medium. And for you to keep someone’s attention, to persuasively present content, to be credible in that presentation and to be entertaining.

Sue Grabowski: [00:43:16] Yes, which you have to be, there’s an entertainment factor in all of this.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:19] It means now you have to do things differently and you have to learn to work with the new medium.

Sue Grabowski: [00:43:26] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:26] So like you said, you know, go back to no visuals. Ooh, no. Is there a video I can use? Is there other media that would be better than this 40 slide deck?

Sue Grabowski: [00:43:36] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:37] And so we have to get better at how we present content and content isn’t words.

Sue Grabowski: [00:43:44] Correct.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:45] Content is many different things and that comes down to preparation. How do I better present this? How do I make it better?

Sue Grabowski: [00:43:52] And you’re going to have to work at it. To your point, what you thought you knew you don’t know anymore.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:58] Right. Right.

Sue Grabowski: [00:43:59] And can you shed that? Are you actually nimble enough and humble enough to say, “I don’t exactly know how to sell in this space, and I need to relearn some things. I need to learn some new things and I need to shed some of my old techniques and replace them with new ones.” And, uh, unfortunately in my experience, that’s not happening fast enough…

Matt Bailey: [00:44:21] No.

Sue Grabowski: [00:44:22] …in this space.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:23] No, and that’s, I, you know, I tell people go watch some of the late-night hosts. You want to see how to handle a camera, watch them.

They’re, they’re making eye contact. It’s like, you know, why is the late-night host, why is it set up like a living room? You know, with a desk, you know, it’s all the same. It hasn’t changed in 40 years.

Sue Grabowski: [00:44:41] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:42] It’s because it works. You, you feel like I’m there, I’m watching, I’m a part of this.

Sue Grabowski: [00:44:47] It’s tight. It’s a tight camera angle.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:48] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:44:49] But you’ll notice, I mean, think about those late-night hosts. They’re showing stuff to the camera, actual other visuals, right?

Matt Bailey: [00:44:55] Yes.

Sue Grabowski: [00:44:55] And sometimes they’ll be like here, come closer. If you can kind of, you know, riff a little bit, if you can say, “I know you might not be able to see this, I’m going to hold this up for the camera. Tell me, tell me if you can, like raise your hand if you can see what I’m showing you,” whatever it involves the audience, it, nobody wants to be spoken to for an hour.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:13] Yeah. Oh yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:45:14] That’s a monologue. That’s why monologues are short.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:17] Well, and so I’ve shown my kids, some old David Letterman stuff…

Sue Grabowski: [00:45:21] Oh yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:22] …from the eighties and early nineties.

Sue Grabowski: [00:45:24] Brilliant, yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:24] And, boy, teachers were like that, you know, it was, it was joking, and it was this sense of not being serious, like we’re semi-professional here. That admission that we’re not totally professional, it draws people in.

Sue Grabowski: [00:45:39] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:39] But yeah, you can, you can be professional and still joke about not being professional.

Sue Grabowski: [00:45:44] Absolutely.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:45] And, “Hey, does anyone see this?” And, and part of it too, there are times where, yeah, I’ll talk through it, I’ll show you something, but, “Hey, you know what? I got a bigger slide I can show you.” And honestly, it takes work to put together a monologue.

It takes work to put together those, those skits that they would do, those things, but that’s what makes it engaging. And I love what you said. It’s, they’re talking to me.

Sue Grabowski: [00:46:06] I recently had to run a board meeting for thirty strangers, people I don’t know, I was new to this board meeting, but one of the things that worked, and I got feedback on it after which I was really pleased about, was I set the objectives early and I set the rules.

And I said, “I want to hear from all of you.” Right? “But I can’t. So I’m going to talk for a little bit, but I’m, here’s how you raise your hand. I’m going to stop and pose questions. I’m going to ask you some poll questions. I’m going to go back and refer to the chat.” But I set the game rules up at the beginning and everybody who wanted to speak, got to speak, but it was managed by me and I talked a little bit at the front end and then I figured out, how can I involve them in the rest of it?

If you’re not involved in it again, it’s, it’s not a, it’s not a conference call. It’s a TV show. It’s a one-way, it’s seeing something on one end, on one side, and I’m going to want to turn it off if it gets boring.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:03] Oh yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:47:04] You can’t, it can’t be boring. But the preparation for not making it boring, you’re going to have to put some work into it.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:11] It’s a lot.  Less is more, especially when it comes to talking. The less you talk, and this is a sales principle.

Sue Grabowski: [00:47:19] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:19] I mean, this was basic sales drilled into my head. It, whoever talks the most loses.

Sue Grabowski: [00:47:24] Absolutely.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:25] But yet, and again, now we’re in zoom, it’s a different medium, I don’t know how to handle it, so how do I, how do I respond? By talking more. Wrong thing to do.

Sue Grabowski: [00:47:33] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:34] Wrong thing. I, I’m doing well, in my, in my, I’m teaching classes during this. I’m talking less and less. I’m making them do assignments. You present, you teach, you, you know, you teach us. And so they’re doing a lot more activities and then they’re presenting. I’m just guiding, I’m coaching.

Sue Grabowski: [00:47:52] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:53] And not only is it a better educational experience, but the students actually feel like they’re learning more than if I were just giving a lecture and they’re producing things. They’re producing things that now they can add to, you know, their CV. They can, they can show, this is evidence that I’ve learned this.

Sue Grabowski: [00:48:11] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:12] A lecture can’t do that.

Sue Grabowski: [00:48:14] No, I think on the flip side you have to be prepared to come into a meeting, too.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:18] Oh, absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [00:48:19] And again, we’re telling stories from the road, but I recently was at a meeting where I met seven people I’d never met before. Right? And one of them came in and literally just slumped in the chair. “Hey.” That sigh, was, I mean this deliberate, heaving sigh. Right? And, “Hey,” I mean, I already know they’re not invested in this meeting.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:44] Nope. Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:48:45] So it’s really a two-way investment, but if you’re the one running the meeting, you have to be extra prepared and you need to find ways to, to make it entertaining.

And I mean, as salespeople, we should, we should know how to jazz hands away a little bit.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:58] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:48:58] It’s just a new form of jazz hands.

Matt Bailey: [00:49:01] Well, and this gets to the next one, which I’ve alluded to already. We know how to present in person. Presenting in person’s easy. And I think people have learned how hard it is to translate those live presentation skills into a virtual environment.

Sue Grabowski: [00:49:19] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:49:19] And that was, that was the next one here, 80% said that the seller lacked presentation skills. I think that’s the media, that’s the tech, it’s also the presentation and how you came across, your credibility. I mean, that’s why I say go watch some of those late-night hosts, watch how they interact with the camera, watch their eyes.

That teaches you number one, don’t look at the screen when you’re presenting, look at the camera, because if you’re looking at the camera, you’re making eye contact.

Sue Grabowski: [00:49:51] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:49:51] If you’re looking at the screen, you’re not making eye contact.

Sue Grabowski: [00:49:55] Correct.

Matt Bailey: [00:49:55] And I love to joke with people that the only way to make eye contact is to not make eye contact.

Sue Grabowski: [00:50:00] Right?

Matt Bailey: [00:50:00] And if you are watching and you want to make eye contact, then don’t look at the presentation, look at the camera.

Sue Grabowski: [00:50:08] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:50:08] It’s weird. It’s so weird.

Sue Grabowski: [00:50:11] It’s uncomfortable.

Matt Bailey: [00:50:11] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:50:12] It’s, I think it’s uncomfortable. It’s even uncomfortable for the most extroverted folks because I have no in-person lubricant. There’s, it’s very dry. Right? And so you’ve got to create your own, and it is uncomfortable to, to look into the camera.

Matt Bailey: [00:50:28] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:50:28] Even for the most, those of us that are not camera shy, it’s uncomfortable, but you got to push beyond the comfort zone, or you get people saying, “They don’t have good presentation skills.” Is that what you’d want to be known for?

When I’m looking down this list going, I don’t want my sales to be known for not being, you know, not being prepared, not being responsive, not having great presentation skills. These are all things that should be inherent in a salesperson, and I’m guessing the people who rated this and were experiencing this, right, the sellers actually were prepared. They just came across as unprepared.

Matt Bailey: [00:51:05] I think these issues maybe, have always been there, but now they’re amplified.

Sue Grabowski: [00:51:09] I think it’s exacerbated anything that was already there.

Matt Bailey: [00:51:13] Yeah. Any flaw is now amplified. It, and I can see people stiffening up. Part of what I had to do early was I took big stickers and made arrows out of them and pointed them to the camera, so that when I’m, I got to remind myself to look at the camera, get your eyes off the screen. I should know my stuff. Part of that too, is knowing your stuff.

Sue Grabowski: [00:51:31] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:51:32] The less I look at the screen, the more I’m interacting with you, um, the less I’m reading the bullet points, the less, you know, it’s that type of thing.

So it comes to knowing your stuff, but the presentation skill, I think there’s so much of that has to do with eye contact. And so you just can’t open up your laptop on your desk or on your conference table and expect there to be human interaction, because you’ve already turned off the human interaction if your laptop is down low and people are looking up at you.

Sue Grabowski: [00:52:03] Yeah. I agree with you. It’s like, I’ve noticed too, lots of people have their phones right next to their laptops. It’s where their eyes go, and so if my eyes are going there, you know that my eyes aren’t focused on you.

Matt Bailey: [00:52:17] Yep.

Sue Grabowski: [00:52:18] So, uh, also whenever there’s, um, the gridded view of your group and you include yourself, don’t include yourself.

Matt Bailey: [00:52:27] You’ll be looking at you.

Sue Grabowski: [00:52:27] You’ll talk to you and that’s not what you want. So, so that was that the presentation skills. I wonder how many of them are just poor presenters or perceived poor presenters because they did not adapt. Maybe they could present in front of a group live, but they haven’t learned how to adapt that skill to this new medium.

Matt Bailey: [00:52:47] One of the things I do is if I’m presenting, so I’ve got a document or a PowerPoint up, if I’m presenting, I minimize the attendee view to one or two panels and I put that right underneath my camera. I’ve got a camera built into my monitor, and so it’s at the top. And so I’ll minimize it to one or two people so that as I’m presenting, even if I don’t look at the camera and I look at them, it’s only about an inch of difference.

Sue Grabowski: [00:53:15] Just, yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:53:16] And it’s usually two people that have their camera on because that’s one feature I love.

Sue Grabowski: [00:53:20] Right. I’m talking to people. Reminder, I’m talking to people.

Matt Bailey: [00:53:24] But then, when it’s time for feedback, then I stop screen-sharing.

Sue Grabowski: [00:53:29] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:53:30] Take the slide off, and then I open up and look at everyone there. And what I’ve started to do more often now is, I’ll only go through two or three slides and then I’ll stop sharing, and now let’s look at each other, you know, a little more full screen and let’s talk.

Sue Grabowski: [00:53:46] That’s exactly what I do.

Matt Bailey: [00:53:46] Now let’s do a couple more slides now let’s go back. Uh, it does help to break things up because it can just get monotonous if you’re just talking. We used to say, if you were speaking live, a minute a slide was about the base.

Sue Grabowski: [00:54:00] Right. Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:00] Virtually it needs to be less than thirty seconds a slide.

Sue Grabowski: [00:54:03] I, I agree. And, um, I began to pace that differently too. So if you think about that, if you’ve got a 36 slide presentation, you need to get through them faster. I, I’m doing the same thing you’re doing in that I, I present for couple, pull out, talk, whatever, but remember, I mean, there’s some things that you are presenting to people. You’re not presenting to a screen.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:26] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [00:54:26] And I think because we’re on screens, we’re forgetting there are humans at the other end of this, so you having those two people at the top of your screen is an excellent reminder of, that you are presenting to people in addition to keeping your eye contact. “Hi,” I’ve begun to incorporate in those breaks from slides, “How’s everybody feeling? What have you learned so far?” or, “What’s your takeaway?” I will ask the questions earlier than if I were in person, I might get through more and then say, “What are some takeaways?” I’m doing it more frequently and in bursts, and if they aren’t, when you stopped sharing too, it brings people back into the room if they were distracted…

Matt Bailey: [00:55:06] Yep.

Sue Grabowski: [00:55:07] …by doing that, you’ve got it, you’ve got to forcibly manage this meeting.

Matt Bailey: [00:55:11] Oh.

Sue Grabowski: [00:55:12] You are in charge of it.

Matt Bailey: [00:55:13] Pro tip, calling someone by name.

Sue Grabowski: [00:55:16] Absolutely.

Matt Bailey: [00:55:17] Calling someone by name, and you’ll immediately get there attention.  Now usually what I’ll do is let them know in the text, I’m going to call on you, and I’m going to ask you.

Sue Grabowski: [00:55:24] You’re too kind. I don’t think I’m that nice.

Matt Bailey: [00:55:26] Well, I’ll do it the first time. The first time I’ll let someone know, and usually it’s something I’ll set up ahead of time, but I’m going to ask you and you know, here’s a feeder question and because what it snaps everyone back immediately. “Oh, he’s called on people.”

Sue Grabowski: [00:55:40] Right. “I better stick with this.” You got to run the meeting. Um, think of yourself almost as like, you’ve got to manage the hecklers, right? You’ve got to get to know what the responses are. You’ve got to have a pocket full of those quick responses, quick words to get people back in. And there’s lots of tips out there online for that kind of thing, but your, that’s something you got to learn, you got to hone over practicing, you gotta be prepared for it.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:05] Yeah. Well, these last three are very, very interesting.

Sue Grabowski: [00:56:08] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:08] I think one is probably specific to virtual and let’s deal with that one.

Sue Grabowski: [00:56:14] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:15] Distractions.

Sue Grabowski: [00:56:16] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:16] Notifications, phones, people not turning their phones off, phone, there’s one I’m on where every fifteen minutes, “It’s now 8:15.”

Sue Grabowski: [00:56:25] Oh no.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:26] Please mute your phone, mute yourself. Come on. And I think we all know stuff happens.  We get it.

Sue Grabowski: [00:56:33] We’re understanding.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:34] Also, I will say we’re 10 months in. Some of it I think it was cute at the beginning, other times though, but I think distractions though, it’s, it’s that self-distraction where I can’t concentrate on my presentation because I’m unprepared because I, “Where is that? What?” you know, or, oh, you know, “It’s a file somewhere here,” or it’s, you know, and so they’re trying to find the document on their desktop, and we see them struggling to find it. I think what drives that is self-distracted salespeople.

Sue Grabowski: [00:57:09] Yes, we, we generally are not linear folks. Okay, so we’re multitaskers, but we also kind of jump around, that serves us well in some areas, it doesn’t serve as well here.

And I’ll give one more pro tip. I generally have somebody else on my team on every call and they’re taking notes and they are actually privately chatting me when they think somebody’s going astray or if I’m going astray, I have a person on my team who will tell me while I’m listening in meetings, to check my face.

You look unhappy when I could be just listening intently, and I have used it because I can’t see myself. I can’t judge myself. I know it’s important, so when I’m presenting, and I know I have to multitask and I can’t take the notes of what people are saying at the same time I’m presenting because that’s a distraction to me.

I’d jump, I would jump around. I have one other teammate on my call with me, comes along and I say, “Katie is going to be taking some notes today. Um, she’s here to field some questions if I miss them,” and it sets me up and recently in a meeting, she said, Katie said, “Hey, Lori, I noticed that when you said, when Sue said this thing, you kind of raised your eyebrow. Is there something you wanted to share about that?” It was like a, just a tag team, but it helps me cause I’m a distracted person, Matt.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:30] Wow.

Sue Grabowski: [00:58:30] I know I am.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:31] You know, kind of going back to that, watch some of the late-night people, you have a director or producer, that’s running the show while you’re doing the entertaining.

Sue Grabowski: [00:58:39] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:39] And, oh my goodness, I’m sitting here thinking like, “I need that.”

Sue Grabowski: [00:58:43] You do need it.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:43] I need someone because they can run some of the tech. They can run the chat. They can, you know.

Sue Grabowski: [00:58:48] Yes. It’s a backup mechanism and, and they can mute people if you don’t, if they’ve got the authority things, if you let give them those, those things, they could be the presenters or the note takers. I prefer them to be the note takers because I generally am talking with my hands and it’s, it’s more difficult for me. But I love that, I mean, literally I have somebody that’s saying, “Check your face.”

Matt Bailey: [00:59:08] Yeah. Oh, that’s great.

Sue Grabowski: [00:59:10] And I have to go, “Oh, I need to smile,” because that’s another thing we’re forgetting in this. The smile. It’s everything.

As we’re talking to one another, we’re smiling. People can hear that in the audio. They can see it on your face. So that’s really important. But this distraction thing, whether it’s another monitor your phone, your dog, you can’t maybe excuse all of them, but you need to minimize them as much as possible.

Matt Bailey: [00:59:35] Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And, and it’s cute. I mean, even today, someone’s, you know, little girl, you know, popped in and waved and it’s once in a while, it’s a nice break it’s, it’s and you can laugh and talk about it. But I’ve noticed that in the sessions where I have, where there’s another, we were tag teaming, it really does help because while they’re talking, I can manage chat. I can let people in the room. I can, you know, deal with some of the tech stuff while they’re teaching. And I noticed that it makes it, maybe that is part of it with virtual selling is do more tag teaming…

Sue Grabowski: [01:00:00] Right.

Matt Bailey: [01:00:13] …as a sales organization, rather than trying to do it all yourself.

Sue Grabowski: [01:00:17] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [01:00:17] That could help. Except for these last two things.

Sue Grabowski: [01:00:21] I would go with the last one first, because it’s sort of in the same vein.

Matt Bailey: [01:00:24] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:00:25] 75% said, “Making an Unprofessional Impression.”

I think all these things that we talked about factor into that, but I am noticing, okay. Not, not again, not just picking on females here, but the lack of makeup, the lack of like…

Matt Bailey: [01:00:41] I’m not going there.

Sue Grabowski: [01:00:42] Actually, dudes too, though. I mean, fixing hair and make it like, would you go into a meeting looking like that? A, an in-person meeting, like, okay, I don’t care that you’ve got, you know, pajamas on, you know, just cause I, I only really care about that tight shot up here, but again, check your face.

Matt Bailey: [01:01:01] So I mean, half my closets down here in my office, because yeah, I’m meeting. Throw on a nice shirt.

Sue Grabowski: [01:01:07] A nice shirt.

Matt Bailey: [01:01:07] It’s not that, yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:01:09] It does make a difference and it’s not that looks are everything, it’s not that it’s just, what impression do you want to give? And just because other people are being relaxed with it because we’re working from home, I, sorry, I don’t agree with, “Well, I know what I know, and I should be able to rest on that. I’m a professional in whatever field and therefore I should be, get credibility, no matter how I look.” Okay, we as humans don’t interpret that. If we did, there wouldn’t be any social media.

Matt Bailey: [01:01:39] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:01:40] So I think that that all plays into that. But the two, this is two higher than that is…

Matt Bailey: [01:01:46] 80%.

Sue Grabowski: [01:01:47] I’m gonna let you deliver this one because that’s this is…

Matt Bailey: [01:01:50] Well, you’re about to erupt. I can tell on this one.

Sue Grabowski: [01:01:52] It’s amazing. But it’s…

Matt Bailey: [01:01:53] 80% of respondents said that sellers, B2B sellers send poorly written emails. That has nothing to do with virtual selling.

Sue Grabowski: [01:02:04] Not a thing. Oh my gosh.

Matt Bailey: [01:02:08] But wow, does it go with the not responsive to questions or concerns, not prepared, lacking presentation skills, sending poorly written emails. Wow.

Sue Grabowski: [01:02:18] I’m surprised it’s, I mean, I’m surprised it’s on this list because what they’re saying there is they’re lumping that action in with the entire virtual sales cycle.

Matt Bailey: [01:02:32] Unprofessional impression.

Sue Grabowski: [01:02:33] Correct. That’s as high, it’s higher than the, it is part of the whole.

Matt Bailey: [01:02:39] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:02:39] And it, I think, again, it’s amplified because I just had maybe a virtual meeting with you, or maybe you’re inviting me to a virtual meeting with you. I don’t, I don’t know where that falls in the virtual sales cycle. Right? But that is a component that people are not ignoring anymore.

Matt Bailey: [01:02:59] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:03:00] Because they’re living on these machines and when they get a crappy email, it’s going to piss them off because it’s one more thing in their inbox they’re not going to deal with.

Matt Bailey: [01:03:10] Yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:03:10] And, I’m really, I mean, I’m glad to see it there because it should have long ago been addressed. We’ve done a podcast on bad pitches and emails and stuff like that.

Matt Bailey: [01:03:21] You know, the LinkedIn podcast, uh, of the LinkedIn lines, bad picked up lines or LinkedIn invites. That is like one of the top performing podcast of all time, because everyone that listens to it is like, thank you.

Sue Grabowski: [01:03:33] Right?

Matt Bailey: [01:03:33] Thank you. It’s, make an effort. And yeah, we’re seeing that with this emails. It’s the, follow-up the, the approach, the, you know, even after the meeting, I’m gonna send you a couple things and misspellings.

Sue Grabowski: [01:03:47] Oh gosh.

Matt Bailey: [01:03:48] Basic spelling errors.

Sue Grabowski: [01:03:51] It’s inexcusable. It just is.

Matt Bailey: [01:03:53] Oh, yeah. Spelling errors. I’ve gotten emojis in emails, which you want to throw it in, it’s funny, it’s cute. It gives me a little non-verbal, but don’t put more than one.

Sue Grabowski: [01:04:05] No.

Matt Bailey: [01:04:05] In fact…

Sue Grabowski: [01:04:06] Your subject line better be spot on what you need from me or what you’re wanting, and don’t make it cute, but poorly written emails. I mean, this is yours and my big beef with higher ed, at least it is for me, which is they’re not emphasizing business writing if not journalism, if not marketing writing, to professionals. And we are breeding this. And I, again, I also think we might’ve been able to jazz hands our way through it before and now it’s, it’s in the forefront because it’s part of that whole sales experience

Matt Bailey: [01:04:42] Yes.

Sue Grabowski: [01:04:43] And we are ignoring it.

Matt Bailey: [01:04:44] It shows a lack of attention to detail. It shows a lack of precision. Think about the industries that are relying on B2B selling. If you’re showing a lack of competency, basic English skill competency.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:00] Right.

Matt Bailey: [01:05:00] Basic spelling. You know, I’m not saying it has to be perfect. And once in a while, stuff’s going to get through.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:05] Right.

Matt Bailey: [01:05:06] But, poorly written means that they’re not direct. They don’t answer my question. They’re, they’re misspelled. We have spellcheck.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:15] Built in.

Matt Bailey: [01:05:15] There’s, there’s so many elements to this that reflects on your professionalism, and it could be a half a million dollar deal.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:23] Right.

Matt Bailey: [01:05:24] Well, you can’t even spell this right.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:25] And you didn’t, and you wouldn’t take the time.

Matt Bailey: [01:05:29] Oh, yeah.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:29] To spell it right. Meaning how much do I matter to you?

Matt Bailey: [01:05:32] Yeah, that is…

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:34] And that’s what this is. How much, and this is really it for, for all of this virtual thing. How much does the other party matter to you? What are you willing to put into it to make sure that they know it through your actions and that, that hits really every one of these things.

Matt Bailey: [01:05:51] Yeah, it does.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:51] And I know for my team, I hound them on emails anyway, you know, we, we are…

Matt Bailey: [01:05:56] I don’t doubt that, yes.

Sue Grabowski: [01:05:58] But how many of your sales folks can construct an email that would well represent your brand, your company, and themselves? Uh, if they aren’t doing that, now’s the time to reel it back in and do some one-on-ones on this stuff because it matters.

Matt Bailey: [01:06:18] It does. It does. And yeah, just to repeat listener, this is going to be in the show notes. It’s going to be on the webpage, uh, go through this with your team, go through it by yourself and, and really do some serious evaluation of number one, how do you look on screen? How well is the lighting? Are you presenting a credible appearance and I’m sorry, we’re visually driven. This is why we’re doing virtual cameras.

Sue Grabowski: [01:06:43] That’s right.

Matt Bailey: [01:06:44] And humans are visually driven, and it means everything to have that eye contact and nonverbal, and that lit face with a smile because, oh, that makes such a difference.

Sue Grabowski: [01:06:57] You need to remember that it’s not Zoom’s fault. You can blame all you want on the technology, but seeing this list, the responsibility lies with you, individually and corporately. And so you can blame the technology, but ultimately you gotta point some things back at yourself.

Matt Bailey: [01:07:19] Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [01:07:20] And, uh, we all can improve in any one of these, but it’s, it’s very telling and, you know, I’m, I’m pro sales, pro sales and marketing, but we’ve got to do things differently.

Matt Bailey: [01:07:31] Absolutely.

Sue Grabowski: [01:07:31] And I think you’re completely right, this is a whole new day, a whole new way of communicating with folks and we’ve got to master it.

Matt Bailey: [01:07:40] I’ve got a few checklists, so I’m going to upload with this, that I’ve done in some of my training. So if you have anything to contribute, Sue, I’d love to have that because I think again, and the, and the how to use a checklist is to use it every time.

Sue Grabowski: [01:07:52] That’s right.

Matt Bailey: [01:07:52] You don’t do it once, and I do it daily. I mean, I, I’m on zoom probably three, four times a day, and you’re no different you’re, you’re on there and there’s a mental checklist. If you’ve done it a hundred times, then you’re fine, but there are still once in a while, I’ve got to, I’ve got to have that half hour prior to the meeting.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:12] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:13] I can’t do, and I think a lot of that, like you said, it’s that awareness. I can’t send emails. I can’t do other things half hour before this meeting. It’s prep time. Because if I, if I get away from that prep time, it’s going to affect the meeting.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:27] Yep.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:27] I need to schedule; I need to arrange my day better.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:31] To prepare for that.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:32] To prepare for these things.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:33] And, and likewise, in preparation of, of looking at your emails, the follow-up to these, to these virtual interactions, uh, you need to take the time to do it and it’s discipline.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:45] Yes. Ooh.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:45] I know we don’t like that word.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:47] I know, right. That’s a bad word.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:48] It’s discipline.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:49] Discipline. Sue, thank you so much for coming in.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:52] Thanks for having me. This was fun.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:52] It was great to visit with you again.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:54] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:54] And I look forward to having you again here soon.

Sue Grabowski: [01:08:56] Thanks. I’ll be back.

Matt Bailey: [01:08:57] Alright. Hey, thanks again listener, for tuning in to another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup, I hope this has been maybe both eye-opening as well as challenging to take a look at how you are representing yourself online. So let us know if you enjoyed the episode. I’d love to hear the feedback from the listeners.

And I look forward to seeing you again on the Endless Coffee Cup.

Featured Guest:

Sue Grabowski, CEO & Founder, Desidara

LinkedIn: Sue Grabowski | LinkedIn

Twitter: Sue Grabowski | Twitter

Listen to Sue Grabowski on an earlier episode:

Endless Coffee Cup: “Take the Time to Make a Good Pitch”

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