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Making a Virtual Sales Presentation

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If your sales territory is a large one, sometimes selling from a distance is the only option. Even in small, densely laid-out territories it can be tricky and time-consuming to meet in person with all your interested prospects. So having a strong virtual sales presentation can be an important part of your sales arsenal.

There are two basic types of virtual sales presentations. The first is the webcam or video presentation, where you and your prospect sit in front of webcams and use video conferencing to communicate. The second is the webinar presentation, where you project the documents from your computer monitor onto the prospect's monitor and take him through a slideshow. For webinar presentations, the prospect will generally be on the phone with you at the same time so that you can talk him through the slides. With the right technology you also have the option of using the computer's speakers and microphone to communicate.

Webcam presentations are similar to on-site presentations because the prospect can see you and you can see your prospect. However, there are some important differences to keep in mind. The prospect's field of vision is limited to whatever your webcam shows, so he'll be paying more attention to anything in that area. That means it's important to stage your background well before the call. Take out anything that might distract your prospect or might look unprofessional. Arrange your monitor and webcam so that you're not backlit by a bright window, as the prospect won't be able to see anything but your silhouette.

See to it that no one can interrupt you during your call, whether that means locking your office door and telling every one to stay away or reserving a conference room for yourself and hauling your laptop in there. Turn off your cell phone and turn off your office phone ringer at well. You might even want to shut off your email client until the call is over, so that you aren't distracted by incoming problems.

With a webinar presentation, you have the disadvantage of not being able to see your prospect. That means you won't be able to pick up on body language cues or know if he's just picked up his phone and isn't even listening to you. So it's important to keep a strongly interactive element in your presentation. Every couple of minutes, ask a question or try to provoke a comment. That will not only keep the prospect interested, it will give you a clue about how he's feeling based on his tone of voice.

The slides you choose for your webinar presentation should follow the same general rules as for PowerPoint slides – keep individual slides brief and simple, don't overwhelm with complicated charts and graphs, and throw in some images to intrigue the eye. The webinar should start with something to grab the prospect's attention and give him a clue about WIIFM. One possibility is to open by stating the prospect's main challenge or problem (which you uncovered during your cold call) and then giving a brief example of how you helped a customer overcome that exact problem.

In order to use either video or webinar sales presentations, you'll need to get the right software package. There are plenty of video conferencing and webinar services to choose from, ranging in price from free to hideously expensive. Not surprisingly, the free and low-priced packages have little technical support and are often less full-featured, while top-end providers may have features you'll never need. It's best to start with a free or very cheap provider and try them for a presentation or two. If you like what you see, there's no need to spend more.

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