Contractors and builders understand the importance of keeping clients and workers safe, but in the era of social distancing, safety is changing the way we work. Most professionals are now working remotely and learning to adjust to the transition.
As video conferencing has replaced in-person meetings, homes have become temporary offices, which are now being featured in the virtual world.
Adapting to this new communication standard will take some planning, boundaries and a little staging as you figure out what works well for your business. Once you find your successful formula, you may want to consider using this mode of communication beyond the social distancing era. Since it can reduce the miles driven to zero, it can help your sales team be safer and more efficient at their jobs.
To help you get started, here are seven tips for running a successful virtual meeting.
1. Find a secluded space. This might be challenging if you don’t have a home office, but if you can set up in a room with a door, you’ll be able to eliminate common distractions and keep clients focused on you. Be sure your space is out of the way of foot traffic, or let your family or co-workers know when you’ll be presenting on video.
2. Mind your background. Your clients don’t need to see your record collection or your unmade bed. You’ll want to grab their attention with your proposal, not distract them with the remnants of your personal life. If you don’t have your space perfectly branded yet, it may be best to simply position yourself in front of a blank wall. Later, consider staging your background with a logo, framed professional certifications, and samples of the products you sell.
3. Set a good camera angle. Think about how you would appear to a client in person and do your best to replicate that on camera. Place the camera at eye level to create the feel of a face-to-face conversation. If your webcam is on your laptop, you may need to raise your computer to eye level with a box. Lastly, be wary of making your forehead the center of attention — create a comfortable distance by sitting back from the camera so that you don’t fill the screen.
4. Set up appropriate lighting. Aim for that elusive “golden hour” lighting. Too much brightness in front of you can wash out your face, so avoid sitting in front of a bright window. On the other hand, avoid sitting with your back to a bright window, which will cast your figure in darkness. Think gentle lighting, as in a shaded window, or a soft lamp. You may even want to invest in video lights, which can be relatively inexpensive, to help you appear even more professional.
5. Control the audio quality. If you sound like a robot because you’re speaking into an echoey computer microphone, you’ll lose the amiable feel of an in-person meeting. Try using a headset microphone or a less-noticeable standalone mic. There are plenty of cost-effective microphones that can drastically improve the audio quality of your call.
6. Test everything before you start. Technical issues can be incredibly frustrating and quickly destroy the integrity of a video meeting. You should always test the elements of your system before you start a video call with a client. That includes verifying that your internet speed is up to par, your lighting is on point and your audio is clear. You might want to call a friend or family member before you get started, just to ensure everything is working properly.
7. Always have a backup. Even if you did everything to prepare, unforeseen issues can arise. To ensure the client walks away with the information they need, provide them with your presentation materials before the meeting, and be prepared to switch to a phone call.
If you put effort into professionalism, your customers will gain confidence in your work. That said, you should be ready to be flexible and personable as well. Both technical issues and flaws in your presentation strategy can derail the video conference, so self-correct when necessary. Always build on your success by following up with the customer after the meeting.
With some persistence, you might find that virtual meetings are a powerful tool to grow your business. You can also explore other ways of growing your business in the virtual world with email marketing, or social media.