This piece discusses the use of Video Conferencing early and often in the services sales process. It is important to note we wear two hats: salesperson and freelancer. We are salespeople first because most surely no one else out there is selling our services for us.
The assumptions include:
- The project budget is large enough to make the efforts to be described worthwhile.
- I evaluate that level as +$100 in budget, asnd +$300 is most surely the case.
- One has a high-quality internet connection
Here are tactics to engage the use of Video Conferencing early and often in the services sales process:
1. Take the prospective hiring client out of email communication-only environments as quickly as possible.
- In early email communications, provide a "next step of communication" and suggest a video conference.
- Benefit: Video conferencing increases information transfer increase to a level that is commonly considered to be 10:1 that of emails.
2. Have a professional backdrop for your video conference.
- If your work environment does not naturally have a professional video conference backdrop.
- One can set up a curtain behind their workspace.
- Or buy a business backdrop curtain. Curtains that provide a backdrop of conservative, professional-looking nature are recommended).
3. As part of the video conference preparation.
- Ask the client for their LinkedIn URL and their company website URL, if such exists.
- This prepares the freelancer to begin the video conference with quick references to the prospective client's background, work history, their position of work, etc. Clients consistently appreciate this in my experience.
- This is also a great way to run a quality check on the person you are dealing with.
- If they do not have a LinkedIn profile and/or company website, something is perhaps amiss.
4. To begin the video conference interview:
- Prepare a two-minute recitation of your background.
- Having a presentation prepared and practiced to 'present one's self' in a summary form is exceptionally helpful.
- I start this segment by indicating it embarrasses me to talk about myself, but covering this background first may answer many questions. Then I indicate once this is done, " I can hush up and listen". Prospective clients consistently agree this sequencing of dialog is a good idea.
5. Offer the client access to a communications platform that is best fit for them. Note: Upwork provides a video conferencing platform. There can be early complications. For example:
- If a video session with individuals who are not the Upwork project manager are requested, the Upwork video facility becomes untenable.
- Options include a 3rd party video platform (such as Zoom).
- This would be necessary, for example, if a 3-way conference might be needed and one participant is not the Upwork contract manager.
- Some prospective clients may simply prefer Skype's facilities.
- Upwork does not forbid the use of 3rd-party video conferencing platforms. Providing the choice can indicate a freelancer is well prepared to conduct communications.
6. Establish a codified next step in the video conference. There are a dozen tactics, here are a couple. I engage variations of the WH questions:
"What do you see as the next step".
"What can I do next to continue to position myself for this work"
"The start date you indicated is xyz. May I prepare specific steps after this call to ensure that start date is met"
Shunting prospective clients to video conferencing early and often can be a winning strategy. I recommend freelancers establish a multi-platform capability including Upwork's indigenous facility, Zoom, and Skype are common choices.
Responses to this piece will be most helpful if they discuss the use of video conference platforms and experiences gained in doing such.
This Tip of the Week discusses an advanced selling communication practices.
There are four modalities through which humans perceive the world (in general nature, not everyone does this and there are multiple other caveats here). However, in general terms, there are four modalities of perception:
These modalities can be identified by the verbs a prospective client uses. One can then adjust one's speech patterns to reflect that modality. This will increase the outcome of the prospective client 'feeling connected' in some to many cases.
- Listen to how they speak during first dialog.
- Identify what verbs they use.
- These verbs will indicate how they process the world to some degree.
There are four primary modalities.
1. "Visual People": you can identify this modality with 'visual verbs'.
- How does this look to you?
- Do you see my point?
- What is your viewpoint on the matter?
2. "Auditory People": you can identify this modality with 'hearing verbs'
- I hear what you are saying.
- Does that sound right to you?
- I like what I am hearing.
3. "Touch People": you can identify this modality with 'touching words'
- I can grasp that concept.
- This seems solid.
- That is a strong idea.
4. "Feeling People": you can identity this modality with 'emotional words'
- I feel this is a good answer.
- I like this.
- This is good news.
Applying the tactic
When you first speak with a prospective client, listen to their first eight to ten sentences. Isolate which modality of verbs they are using from the four above.
- Then construct your spoken sentences using the same modality of verb.
They say: "I like what I am seeing".
Response: "Great, let's take a look at the next step".
They say: "I like what you just said"
Response: "Then let's speak more about how this work would unfold
They say: "I'd like to touch on some specific points"
Response "A good next step is to work hand-in-hand to gain a better understanding
They say: "This feels right"
Response: "I am glad this is the case".
The use of this modality-matching verbal communication tactic can be difficult to learn. It will take significant practice, as one must "hear and think" at the same time, in real-time. Adjusting one's speech in real-time is difficult.
It can be fun to practice this technique. Observe the speech patterns of your friends and family. Determine their modality of verb use. Then practice, in real-time, speaking back to them in natural ways that match their modality.
Over time, this will become a naturally-trained skillset to engage in business circumstances at will.
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So, I hope you see some value in the information I have provided
Some will listen and being heard is nice.
I feel it is important to contribute to experiences through this forum.
Just a few taps on the keyboard was all it took.
Replies and comments have been removed or moved from this thread as they were off topic or in violation of Community Guidelines. A few posts have been merged into this thread and moved to Coffee Break.
I'd also like to add that while a lot of new posts we see here every day are questions about how to use Upwork, that's not the only purpose of this Community. Upwork Community has posts with feedback about Upwork features, suggestions on how the platform can improve as well as general recommendations and tips about how professionals can enhance their skills, communicate more efficiently, be more productive, successful, etc. Therefore, different members may use this Community for different purposes and may also occasionally disagree. However, when that happens, we ask you all to treat each other with respect and behave in a professional manner.
I would also like to encourage everybody to go over the post about our Community Guidelines that doesn't only list what kind of content may be removed but also talks about the purpose of this Community.
I have re-written this response to more adequately present information. It is a notably long Tip of the Week. There are many aspects of engaging Video Conferences early and often to cover.