Digital selling (Part 5)

7 tips: How to build trust on screen

Are you a sales ace in the shop, but the prospect of a video call makes you nervous? Does the spark not quite want to jump over there? In the fifth part of our series on digital selling, coach Leif Kania explains how to build trust on screen and win the hearts of your customers.

Aug 03 2021

A well thought-out online presence is part of the digital sales process. After all, anyone who wants to buy furniture today usually first informs themselves on the web. Let's therefore assume that your target group is looking around your website or is familiar with at least one of your social media channels before they come into personal contact. Very few people will walk through your shop door at random. 

1. First impression counts 

If you present your business well overall, you can build trust on screen before the video call even happens. You will then go into the conversation with a leap of faith. How exactly you use individual channels online is a chapter in itself. Well-prepared references that tell a story are just one way to score points with content on both Instagram and the website. 

Leif Kania also considers the team introduction important, because when selling, it's not only the goods that count, but also emotions and the interpersonal component: "A photo with some information about the person is always great. If you want to top that, you can show yourself in a short video and tell something about yourself there." 

Important: Identification and utility 

Whether it's "About us", "Who we are" or "The team": It's all about sympathy and opportunities for identification, about added value and closeness, about simply fitting in. Tell, for example, what passion motivates you to do your job. What strengths do you and your colleagues bring to the table? And above all: what do your clients get out of it? A CV full of nice stations is of no use if it is of no use to the client! 

Leif Kania also points out the call to action that should never be missing: "Maybe I can even choose the consultant I find particularly likeable in the team introduction? Anything is conceivable! The ideal thing would be to link the email address or give the extension number and thus increase the likelihood of contacting someone where the chemistry is right from the start." 

2. Make the first phone call 

No matter where the leads come from: Now it's time to convert interest into a purchase. If you've read Part 4 of our series, you'll know that you can do the needs analysis on the phone, giving you a chance to get to know your customers better. So you don't have to jump right in on the screen. 

Depending on your workload, you may not have done the needs assessment yourself. Or someone else in the team is basically responsible for it who has strengths here. In that case, you will only get in touch later to arrange the appointment for the presentation. However, this does not detract from building trust, says Leif Kania: 

"Whether I have done the needs analysis myself or not, the client has already had a conversation with the company. We may have talked about the project for half an hour, which means it's nothing new now. That is important. And when I see the people for the first time at the video call, there has already been a contact. I think that is a very crucial point." 

3. Don't overwhelm with technical details, ... 

At the latest since Part 3 with tips on how to come across professionally online, you know what to consider when advising on screen. Now you might think it would be great if your customers were not sitting in front of a bright window, were not disturbed by others and the picture and sound were good. Perhaps you ask yourself whether you should brief your customers on this? 

Leif Kania thinks this is counterproductive: "Theoretically, you can talk about all kinds of things after the needs analysis, from technical requirements such as bandwidth to background. But I wouldn't open that can of worms for the time being. That only creates problems and we don't want that. Besides, it is the opposite of quick and easy - exactly what makes exchange via digital channels so attractive. And: if it doesn't work then, I always have a contingency plan in my pocket anyway." 

... but give customers a choice 

Remember: not all people are familiar with conference tools from their home office. So keep the inhibition threshold as low as possible. "It is ideal if I somehow master two or three video call providers in advance so that the client can choose", advises Leif Kania. "That creates trust and makes it easier for him. And then I just explain how to dial into the call. Nothing more." 

4. Prepare yourself 

You yourself, however, should definitely follow the tips on environment and equipment, as Leif Kania emphasises once again: "If the customer can perceive my face and facial expressions well, that creates trust. That's why I can't sit down with a headset that makes me look like King Kong, with a microphone in front of my mouth that covers my lips and huge earpieces on the left and right. That's an absolute no-go." 

The fact that there is no artificial background, but a tidy one, is also extremely important, just like a good camera angle, good sound and good light. Ultimately, it's about things that your customers subconsciously perceive underlining your professional competence, not dismantling it. That's why you also need to prepare the presentation well. Only if you know what you want to show and say, and don't stutter and click around in complete confusion, can you build confidence on screen. 

5. Don't barge in

Then sit together virtually, let your counterpart arrive and warm up first. Make sure that your customers feel noticed. Don't give them the feeling that it's all about selling. Otherwise, you may be cutting yourself off. 

Leif Kania recommends referring to the current situation first: "I can be personal here, but not private. 'Have you done this before?', for example, I could ask. General topics are good so that the customer gets used to them and realises that someone is asking nice, innocuous questions, that he is well prepared, that he now has a conversation structure for the next 30 or even 60 minutes. These are all confidence-building measures." 

6. Give the conversation structure 

How do your interviewees know that your presentation will last about an hour? Because you told them. Leif Kania explains, "The client is usually at home in his own four walls, so he already feels safe and is in the comfort zone. If I then set the framework and also give orientation in terms of time, I strengthen this feeling of security. I also signal that I take time for my clients and their needs." 

And this - you guessed it - helps to build trust on the screen. By explaining the structure and saying what you have planned, you come across as competent on the one hand. On the other hand, you prevent your customers from squinting impatiently at the clock after only 20 minutes. This is because they can adjust - ideally already since the appointment was made - to the fact that this will take a little longer and do not feel caught off guard. 

7. Think from the customer's point of view 

Put the customer's needs at the centre of your presentation. After all, what do you have the needs analysis for? This sounds banal, but in his coaching sessions, Leif Kania repeatedly encounters salespeople, especially in the kitchen sector, who recommend personal favourite products while completely ignoring the life situation of their customers. 

"As a consultant, I have to rethink and tell myself that I am implementing the customer's dreams and wishes and not that I am now selling him things that work well or that I am convinced of", the trainer explains. "After all, this is not my kitchen, but it should be the kitchen for the customer." 

The change of perspective is also important in online consulting if trust is to be built up on the screen: "It's about making customers feel that it's about them, about their kitchen, about their project, about their life", Leif Kania concludes the seventh and last tip. 

Conclusion and outlook 

An online presence with added value, where you show your company in a sympathetic and approachable way, a well thought-out sales process and a well-structured presentation where you always think from the customer's point of view - that's how the spark should fly! We are curious to see how you implement our expert's tips and look forward to your comments.

Next time you will learn how to avoid pitfalls in video calls. We'll tell you how to keep your counterpart awake and focused. Because if you present on screen, you are also a bit of an entertainer!

Author: Christine Piontek

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