9 Virtual Meeting Best Practices for Salespeople

The world has adjusted to remote work as the new norm. As a salesperson, you hopefully have a schedule full of virtual meetings with prospects. Successfully guiding a prospect through a virtual meeting requires a different skill set than in an in-person meeting. Here are some best practices to help you run a successful virtual meeting with your prospects.

1. Set up a comfortable and distraction-free workspace.

When you set up in-person sales meetings, you find a quiet environment to show prospects that they have your full attention. During a virtual meeting, you are responsible for demonstrating a similar level of care.

Even if your current work situation is less than ideal, you should make an effort to create a distraction-free space for virtual meetings. Ask your kids and other family members to stay away from your space during sales meetings. Although your pets are adorable, you don’t want them to interrupt the meeting, so close the door. Eliminate other distractions from your workspace and make sure you turn your phone off during meetings.

You should also make sure that your digital interface isn’t distracting you. Close all windows that aren’t related to your meeting and turn off notifications.

Remember: You also need to make sure that your prospect isn’t distracted during the meeting. Make sure that your background looks professional without being distracting. A lot of books or tchotchkes in the backdrop can be a visual distraction for prospects. If you’re worried about your space distracting others, use a digitally generated backdrop.

2. Invest in the right tools for virtual meetings.

In your virtual sales meetings, you want to replicate the intimacy of an in-person meeting as much as you can. A high-quality webcam and microphone can help. High-quality video improves your virtual presence, while a good microphone helps ensure that none of your words get lost.

You should also use headphones during your meetings. Although it may look a little strange, blocking out background noise is necessary for a clear exchange of information.

3. Learn the features of your virtual conferencing tool ahead of time.

Since you need to accommodate your prospect’s preferences, you may find yourself using different video conferencing tools when working remotely. Familiarize yourself with every tool before getting on a conference call. Struggling to perform basic functions eats up precious time and makes you look unprofessional. At the very least, you want to know how to invite participants, mute and unmute yourself, and share your screen with conference participants.

Many video conferencing tools have a lot of extra features that you probably don’t need. Learn what those are so that you can avoid pressing the wrong buttons during the meeting.
If you have the option to suggest a conferencing tool for your meeting, select one that is deeply familiar to you.

4. Practice your body language in virtual meetings.

Displaying body language on video conferencing is very different from real life, but it is no less important. Before getting on a meeting, study your appearance on the webcam.

Where do you need to look in order to provide the illusion of eye contact? You may need to alter the position of your webcam or computer in order to establish a flattering angle for yourself.

You may try practicing your body language on a video call with your supervisor or someone else who can provide honest feedback. Practice smiling and speaking in an authoritative tone of voice.

5. Dress your best.

Your wardrobe makes a big difference in how prospects respond to you and how you feel. By dressing professionally, you mentally prepare yourself for the job ahead. Even if your meeting will be audio-only, it’s important to dress in your usual professional attire. Putting on your work shoes may seem unnecessary, but it can help you to adapt your work mindset. Do not neglect your lower body, as it’s possible you will have to get up during the conference.

In general, it’s useful to select neutral colors for a video conference call. Busy patterns and colors can distract prospects.

6. Prepare a short and impactful presentation.

Even if you’re engaging on a webcam, most prospects are not going to just watch you for the entire meeting. It is, therefore, more critical than ever that your presentation materials are engaging for them. The slides may be the only thing your prospect sees for much of the conference.

Whenever possible, personalize the presentation to your prospect. It’s okay to have a standard slide deck but try and incorporate content that is of particular interest to your prospect.

7. Take advantage of screen-sharing technology.

You will probably be doing a lot of screen sharing during virtual meetings. There’s no need to limit yourself just to your slide deck. Walking the prospect through your product’s interface can be highly effective for these settings. You can also consider sharing videos and other content to shake things up.

8. Build rapport with the prospect by engaging with them on a personal level.

In a virtual meeting, your natural inclination is to get straight to business. However, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to develop a personal connection to the prospect. At the beginning of your presentation, make a bit of small talk. This helps to replicate the more personal feel of an in-person meeting.

9. Ask questions for a more interactive presentation.

One of the challenges of a virtual meeting is that it can be more difficult to tell if the prospect is engaged. At times, you may feel a little like you’re talking into the void. Address the problem proactively by asking questions that require the prospect to engage with you. This helps make your virtual meeting into an actual meeting rather than simply a presentation.

The virtual format presents additional challenges for salespeople. By implementing these best practices, you can succeed with virtual meetings.

James Meincke

Director of Marketing @ CloserIQ. Previously Recruiter @ ManpowerGroup & Freelance Social Media Strategist. University of Wisconsin Journalism & Strategic Communication Grad.