Sales is about making connections. When you reach out to people with a solution, whether it’s analytics software, a carpet-cleaning service, or a new brand of vegetable juice, it’s the connection that matters first.
And that connection is made with a smile, a “hello”, and a handshake. Something you can’t do when making connections online.
Until now. Online presentations are a tool that puts your face right in front of people. Stephanie Grant uses online presentations to help Abel-Womack’s sales executives make connections with people, ultimately to increase sales.
If you’ve ever bought anything that was made, stored, or shipped, you’ve probably dealt with Abel-Womack. The Lawrence, Massachusetts-based company (with offices in CT and NY) sells Raymond® forklifts, robots, fleet management tools, facility design services, conveyors, shelving and other products and services to companies like New Balance, Osram-Sylvania, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and General Electric.
So those shoes you bought from Amazon may have been stored on Abel-Womack’s shelves, transported by their Raymond® forklifts, conveyed on their belts and driven by trucks managed by their software before reaching your door.
That’s a company with a lot of connections. But the first connections they make are with buyers and managers at the companies they sell to. For most firms, that means phone calls, online chats, emails, handshakes at an event, Skype calls, and probably documents traded by email.
Stephanie Grant, SPHR, is Abel-Womack’s Director of Human Resources & Corporate Communications, and she is responsible for managing the firm’s online presentation tool, KnowledgeVision. It combines online video with slideshow presentations, and is used for bringing personnel up to speed on new products, how the company is doing, and benefits plans. But more recently, the sales team began to notice its power at making connections.
“Our sales executive was trying to get into an account for six months or more, and wasn’t getting anywhere,” Grant told me in a recent interview. “Finally he put a presentation together to introduce himself and a relevant case study. He sent it at 6 in the evening and got a response by 8 the next morning.”
To get that kind of turnaround is impressive, and it underscores the importance of having the right content at the right time, and in the right format. In this case, a video made by the salesperson made the difference. “It’s a platform where you can engage people by showing your face, and presenting something that is more visual.” Grant continued. When somebody clicks on the link, they actually get a person.”
An online presentation lets you put yourself in front of your audience, which raises the likelihood of getting a response. In this case, it was used for a short introduction, and that’s often all it takes to make an impression.
What other ways can online presentations be used to make a connection?
- Interviews and Roundtables: If your CEO is interviewed by the media, or your VP of Business Development is a panelist an an industry event, get the video. You can edit it into a short piece to show what your company is doing lately.
- Technology Discussions: Google is famous for this. They make a lot of short videos that explain what their products do, usually featuring a product designer. Send a product video to your prospects to let them know what advancements your firm has made.
- Document Overviews: In sales, you probably send a lot of documents such as white papers, brochures, proposals and presentations. In a video presentation, you can break down the documents into their important parts and explain what each section covers.
- Case Studies and Testimonials: A case study shows off your company’s past work, and the people you’ve helped are often ready to give you feedback you can use in a video. You can impress would-be customers with quick examples of what you’ve already done.
- Consulting and Ideas: Doing business is about implementing your ideas. New business is about making those ideas appeal to people who need them. Use video to talk about how your thoughts and ideas can impact people and improve their own business as well.
The trick with sales is to capture attention very quickly, which is why all of these tactics rely on short (one minute or less) videos. That doesn’t mean you should avoid longer presentations. Those are still important for more detailed coverage of your products, company, and ideas. This is about making yourself visible, as an introduction. The connection is what you’re after. View the entire Abel-Womack interview here.
Originally published on The KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.