Digital selling (Part 2)

The right equipment for online selling and consulting

Digital selling is more than just a video chat. In the furniture trade, however, conference tools are increasingly coming into focus. They help immensely with planning and customer loyalty in the lockdown. In the second part of our series of articles, expert Leif Kania gives tips on equipment for online consulting.

Apr 27 2021

Technology is not an obstacle 

Actually, dealing with a webcam or a conference tool is not rocket science, says Leif Kania. In people's minds, however, the equipment for online counselling often becomes a source of anxiety. After all, sales talks on the screen are also new territory and new things are initially daunting for many people. 

"Digital selling is often a step out of the comfort zone and means that you have to deal with processes. Those who are not ready for this internally may blame technology as an obstacle, without realising that the real hurdle is somewhere else entirely," the coach explains. 

"They tell themselves that they can do it without the newfangled stuff that only causes problems with data protection, that the equipment is too expensive and that nothing is better than a face-to-face counselling session. And that has always worked so far. But if you miss out on setting the course for the future because you're too shy, you might end up looking down the barrel later on! 

Better to start badly than to hesitate perfectly 

So act with foresight. Be guided by your vision of a successful future. Think of purchases as an investment in your business to achieve goals, stay competitive and provide value to customers.

The equipment requirements for online counselling are less complex than you might think. You may already have gained initial experience in the lockdown. For Leif Kania, this is an important step: "In my observation, many traders have provisionally upgraded first because of the time pressure in the pandemic. But I think it is better to start badly than to hesitate perfectly. The important thing is to get into action and not be afraid of making mistakes. You can only learn from that and then optimise." 

The software 

The linchpin for getting in touch with customers via screen is the software. Those who are members of an association may already have received support here. In many places, new tools have been developed and made available. If you are a lone wolf, you should get an overview and see which platforms fit your way of working. 

Leif Kania himself has two favourites: "In my work and with regard to the possibilities in online counselling, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have proven themselves. Both are comparatively inexpensive, offer extensive functions for the presentation and run stably. In addition, a lot has happened here in recent months in terms of data protection." 

Attention to data protection 

Leif Kania knows that the topic of DSGVO is a headache for many traders: "You hear again and again that the services are not secure in terms of data and the fear of losing control here is great. In fact, there are restrictions - not least because the providers of the most popular tools are located in the USA and the Privacy Shield agreement with the EU has been overturned. I therefore always advise my clients to bring in an external data protection officer to take care of everything." 

If you want to find out more, you can find comparisons of tools in terms of their data protection conformity on the internet, for example. And on the website, Stephan Hansen-Oest, as a specialist lawyer for IT law, has written numerous articles on the topic of Zoom, which he updates regularly. 

The choice of hardware 

Leif Kania recommends having several tools at the start - as a service offer that creates trust. Customers could then decide on a favoured platform. In order for the software to run smoothly, the respective recommended technical requirements in terms of internet connection and hardware should be met. 

In general: stationary computer, laptop or tablet, built-in camera or external webcam - everything is suitable as equipment for online counselling. Depending on the type of counselling, however, it is worth upgrading and paying attention to flexibility and ease of use: 

"You can quickly take a tablet to the exhibition to show something there. However, if I also want to share the screen and switch between pages to present additional information - such as a video on the planned dishwasher - this is better controlled from the laptop."

Good sound 

If you want to move freely, you also have to be flexible when it comes to the microphone. The motto is to hear well and be heard. When it comes to equipment for online counselling, the expert advises using a Bluetooth headset that combines headphones and microphone wirelessly. 

A big mistake, he says, is to rely only on on-board equipment for the sound - not only because of comprehension problems or the unprofessional effect of poor sound quality: "In online counselling, our counterpart only perceives body language to a limited extent. The visual impression is reduced to face and facial expressions, now and then also hands. So besides what is said, the part of the voice, the emphasis, becomes bigger and more important compared to a situation where the conversation partners are in the same room. So I can only advise not to skimp on the headset." 

Put in the right light 

Lighting is also part of the equipment for online counselling. In the meantime, a so-called ring light has become standard for video transmissions in order to illuminate the face. But good lighting is also important when presenting materials and surfaces in order to make structures visible. 

But what exactly do you have to consider when staging in order to "put yourself in the right light" not only literally but also figuratively? That's what the next episode is about. Because Leif Kania knows: "Coming across in the best possible way in front of the camera is not just about vanity, but has tangible effects on the sales talk. So how and where I present is enormously important." 

Join the discussion! 

What problems and challenges do you see in online counselling? Write in the comments what moves you!

Author: Christine Piontek

Contact persons
Portrait of Leif Kania
Leif Kania Human Ressources
Möbel Kania Consulting GmbH
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