Do you ever get the feeling that people on the other end of your teleconference are surfing the Web, sorting their email, or playing with their smartphones while you're giving a heartfelt sales presentation? You're probably right.
Teleconferences are so 20th century. People have short attention spans. They don't want to sit on the other end of a phone only to end up staring out the window. They want to be dazzled, entertained, engaged, and educated. After that, they want to get on with their busy life.
Webinars, when effectively run, can be riveting, high-impact events. Moreover, they can produce killer sales results if you learn to use the technology well and tap into its potential for decreasing boredom and increasing attendee participation.
Here are five cutting-edge ideas you can implement today that will turn Webinars into powerful sales tools:
Make it visually exciting.
A teleconference is like meeting in the dark. No visuals equals boring! Instead, turn your next meeting into a colorful Web conference and help participants see the light. Use charts, slide presentations, compelling photos and graphics to build interest, emphasize your point, and get your audience thinking about your messages in new ways.
Quick Tip: Give your Webinar participants a face to connect to. For example, place a professional headshot of the lead presenter on the cover slide of your virtual presentation. Pepper your Webinar with team photographs and action shots of salespeople out in the field. This creates a stronger bond with your audience and prospective clients.
Let chat work for you.
People -- especially Gen Y-ers -- love to chat online. And since they're probably doing it while you're presentating, you might as well use chat to your advantage. Invite your sales presentation participants to make use of the public chat feature to provide insight, feedback, and even jokes. You will be amazed at how lively this will make your Webinar (Think of the Tweets that crawl across CNN during news stories.). Rather than distracting participants, it actually rivets them. Chat also cuts meeting time, because the presenter doesn't need to be interrupted every time someone wants to make a point. Right from the get-go, invite participants to chime in with feedback and comments.
Quick Tip: You can use the chat feature to generate ideas and encourage participation. For instance, ask people to list the top obstacle they see standing in the way of your product or service, or encourage them to ask questions.
Be a screen writer.
Webinar participants will be more engaged if they see the screen alive with movement and color. Learn to use Web-conferencing tools that enable you to draw or type right on the Web meeting screen to highlight key points with arrows, circles, even doodles.
Quick Tip: The next time one of your colleagues makes a particularly dynamic mini-presentation during your Webinar, display your approval and enthusiasm with a smiley face or exclamation point.
Take a survey.
Webinar surveys are easy to create, make presentations fun, and yield lots of useful information. Create questions that pertain to the product or service you're selling, or to the sales-coaching techniques you're sharing with your sales force. You can even create questions specific to the Webinar's itself. For instance:
What would make our Webinar presentations more effective?
a) firm start and stop times;
b) shorter duration;
c) more audience interaction; or
d) time for Q&A at the end
Quick Tip: Create an open-ended ice-breaker question to use with early participants to test your survey tool and build their engagement. For example: Who's going to win the big football game tonight?
Sidestep technology glitches.
According to a recent survey by Info-Excellence, two-thirds of all workers say that Webinars are boring and plagued with technical difficulties. We've addressed the "boring" part of the problem. As for technology glitches, the best way to avoid them is to be prepared. Create a "Tech Glitch Cheat Sheet" that lists key features, simple fixes, and support and account information for all virtual meeting technologies. For example, include instructions on how to mute all phone lines. This comes in handy when a careless participant puts you on hold, forcing everyone to listen to his on-hold tunes. Have your cheat sheet by your side whenever you launch a Webinar so you'll be able to overcome technical glitches seemlessly.
Quick Tip: You can download a free cheat sheet template at: http://www.infoexcellence.com/icfreelessons.htm
We have the technology to hold riveting online events with participants all over the globe; now we just have to learn to use it well. Webinars can be a killer sales tool if you get participants actively engaged with them. When you become a virtual meeting virtuoso, your messages will be more powerful and more memorable. What's more, coworkers, colleagues, and clients will be happy -- and even inspired -- to participate at a higher and more meaningful level.
About the Author
Mike Song (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the chief executive officer of Cohesive Knowledge Solutions. He's an American business productivity speaker, coach, and researcher. He is also the developer of the "Get Control" productivity Webinar and seminar series. Song and co-authors Tim Burress and Vicki Halsey published The Hamster Revolution for Meetings: How to Meet Less and Get More Done.
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