"Why in the world would I send a 15-20-minute email when I could create a video in five minutes?” -Marcus Sheridan
Are you uncomfortable in front of the camera? So are most people. But face-to-face video calls are the new frontier in forging strong and long-lasting customer connections. Video is an essential part of selling in a post-pandemic society.
One of the top voices on LinkedIn for entrepreneurship and small business and author of The Visual Sale, a book about breaking down the barriers to video interactions, Marcus Sheridan, joined James Robert Lay on The Banking on Digital Growth Podcast to discuss the value of video in connecting with your customers.
How the Pandemic Changed In-Person Interactions
The COVID-19 crisis put pressure on people and businesses to find new ways to interact without being in the same room. Even as the world copes with this crisis and begins to heal from it, video remains one of the most useful ways to maintain communication.
It would be easy to say everyone got comfortable being on video during the pandemic, but that’s far from the truth. Most people still say they feel awkward during video calls, even after months or years of practice. Video just feels different from talking on the phone, emailing, texting, or even speaking with someone in person.
For your financial brand sales team, this is a major obstacle. Even if you can help your salespeople become more comfortable interacting on video, what if their customers aren’t? Video is an exceptional sales tool, but there are numerous barriers to using it properly and effectively
Developing a Taste for Video Selling
Marcus has a long history of helping people embrace video with open arms - or at least stop feeling so uncomfortable in front of the lens. For years, he’s been telling companies that their sales numbers would go up if they simply incorporated video selling into their everyday sales strategies.
Still, most companies and salespeople resisted doing this until COVID-19 hit. During the pandemic, he saw sales teams take a “quantum leap” as they were forced to sell via video and, suddenly, BAM!
Their sales figures skyrocketed.
It turns out that many customers wanted video interactions all along! Video makes selling faster, easier, and safer from a public health point of view. For salespeople, video breaks down one of the toughest barriers to selling, which is getting face time with the customer.
Today, many of these same skeptical salespeople tell Marcus they’ll “never go back to the old way.” A blend of in-person selling and video selling seems to be the best possible strategy for maximizing sales. After these salespeople get a taste of video selling and close lots of deals, they can’t get enough.
Marcus makes the point that when he talks about “selling,” he’s not just talking about salespeople. This also applies to marketing, advertising, prospecting, and customer service interactions. Anyone in your company who engages with other people - which is almost everyone - should become comfortable doing it via video.
Busting the Myths About Video
When your team is feeling awkward about video interactions, it helps to start by breaking down some of their misconceptions about video.
“Everyone feels comfortable on video except me.”
Almost everyone expresses some level of awkwardness or irritation about being on video. It’s important to acknowledge it and help them move past it. When it comes to sales, it’s especially essential to acknowledge that just because someone is good at sales in person doesn’t mean they’re good at sales on video, and vice versa.
Video is contrary to relationship building.
Marcus says he’ll sometimes hear, “I am a relationship-based business” as an objection to video selling. That’s an argument for video, not against it!
Video is great for building relationships. Look at it this way: Not all deals are made on the golf course. Some are made in restaurants, in conference rooms, at social events, or even walking along the city streets. Any of these things can happen on video.
If you have a salesperson or team who is obsessed with the idea of in-person selling instead of doing it on video, remind them that video selling IS in-person selling. They are not at odds. They’re the same thing.
Relationship-based businesses should focus on in-person interactions.
Marcus feels that this is a “fuddy-duddy phrase” that, by the way, doesn’t make a business exceptional. Relationships are just a normal part of doing business. Having relationships is the most basic form of being a business. How are you fostering and nurturing these relationships as the world changes?
Videos for dehumanizing society.
They imply that embracing video would somehow make us look and act less human and less caring toward our customers.
While he can understand why people might think that, Marcus hasn’t found this to be the case at all. Video helps people connect at times when they would otherwise stay disconnected from other humans. It’s the same reason that phone calls, emails, texts, and social media help people maintain strong bonds.
Videos are just too hard technologically.
Some people view themselves as “tech illiterate” and simply won’t engage with video. These folks must be gently guided along and taught how to use the technology until they become comfortable with it. Remind them that there’s no shame in learning and expanding their knowledge.
Often, it helps to remind skeptical people that video provides an opportunity to resolve questions and prevent miscommunications. The average person speaks three to five times faster than they can type. Resolving an issue might take five rounds of back-and-forth emails, but video allows you to resolve it quickly and move forward in moments.
Best Practices for Video Selling for Financial Brands
Now let’s look at some of the best ways to encourage smooth, productive video conversations that support the selling process.
1. You are the director who’s in charge of what’s happening in the video.
You’re like a band director or the director of a movie. The director tells everyone what to do. In this context, you need to do it professionally and - this is key - use their names constantly.
When you’re speaking to a group of people, say someone’s name each time you ask a question so everyone knows who you’re talking to and how the communication should flow. Build buy-in by saying each person’s name and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
For example, in a sales meeting with multiple decision-makers, say, “Jeff, do the terms of this contract look good to you?” Then next, “Jane, did you have anything to add?” Then, “Elaine, does everything look good on your end?” And so forth. This adds instant structure to your video calls and prevents awkward pauses.
Plus, calling people by name elevates your authority in their eyes. When you’re frequently saying someone’s name, they pay attention. In an in-person setting, it would feel strange to say someone’s name repeatedly. But during video calls, it’s a welcome relief that simply feels like you’re maintaining a clear flow of communication.
2. Encourage others to use their video screen to enhance the conversion.
When you’re speaking with someone one-on-one to troubleshoot something or answer a question, encourage them to use their video screen to enhance the conversation. Do a screen share, flip the camera to show the monitor, or even have them bring it up on their phone to show you on-screen.
View the video call as an opportunity to demonstrate something and get to the heart of the customer’s concerns. In this way, you can also use short, pre-recorded videos to answer common questions your customers bring up over and over again.
3. Use video to address consumer pain points.
Financial brands are just like every other business. Certain issues crop up frequently. Make short video clips that address these issues and post them where your customers can find them. When someone inquires about a specific issue, tell them you have a 90-second video that answers their question. What a timesaver!
But remember, this shouldn’t be a lost opportunity for a connection. Follow up later and ask if their problem was resolved. Maintain that human connection.
4. Don't worry about production value.
Production values don’t have to be high for people to like your videos and view them as interesting and helpful. Marcus has seen very short, low-fi instructional videos be posted to social media and get thousands of likes. People prefer simple videos that don’t clutter up their visual field with too many bells and whistles.
Two Essential Rules For Recording Videos
Marcus has two important rules he teaches people about making recorded videos:
- Don’t stop until you’re done.
- Three-second smile rule.
On the first point about not stopping until you’re done, this is important because it prevents you from feeling the urge to constantly stop and re-record over and over again. That’s a barrier you don’t need. Tell yourself, “A tornado could hit this building and I will keep recording this video until it’s done!”
It’s okay to be human on video. It helps other people like you and sympathize with you. Don’t expect everything to go right. If you say something strangely or mess up a little, it’s okay. Acknowledge it and move on.
The second rule is the three-second smile rule. Marcus encourages people to smile for three full seconds before they go on camera because this smile will stay etched in your expression and will fill the video screen with positivity. In a psychological sense, a smiling face shows there’s no threat and helps everyone feel more at ease.
When you practice these two simple steps to making recorded videos, it will instantly become easier. Plus, you’ll make videos more quickly and other people will enjoy how you come across as a nice human being who’s just sharing interesting information with them.
Finally, if you’re feeling extremely nervous about making your first video, James Robert and Marcus are making you a friendly offer. Use a free video tool like Loom, Video BombBomb, Vidyard, Wistia, or Soapbox to make a short video and email it to James Robert or Marcus. Use this exercise as a little way to calm your nerves and get comfortable making videos!
This article was originally published on April 28, 2022. All content © 2023 by Digital Growth Institute and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.