7 Ways to Avoid the No.1 Virtual Sales Meeting Mistake

Eighty-nine percent of buyers experience this sale-killing frustration.

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By Mike Schultz

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"I can't log on."

"I can't hear you."

"Why isn't my video working?"

"No one else is in the meeting room."

"I can't see your screen."

"The video conference program won't download on my device."

In a new study on virtual selling, 89 percent of buyers report somewhat frequently experiencing some sort of technical problem in virtual sales meetings. And 30 percent report they experience these problems frequently.

That means the virtual sales meetings they attend commonly have tech issues. And if your meeting is one with problems, your chances of success aren't good. Ninety-one percent of buyers say that effective use of technology when leading a virtual sales meeting highly or moderately influences their ultimate purchase decision.

Bottom line: avoid virtual selling technology problems.

Here are seven ways you can avoid common virtual sales meeting technology mistakes

1. Prepare meeting attendees in advance with clear instructions

Set the technology expectations in advance and communicate them with all meeting attendees.
Will you be on video? If you're selling, the answer should be yes. Let all participants know your webcam will be on for the call and provide instructions for how to they can turn theirs on. A simple screenshot here can go a long way.

Do they need to download the meeting platform program? If so, provide a link and let them know how to get the program and test ahead of time.

Make the instructions for how to enter the meeting clear. Provide a clickable meeting link and one-touch mobile dial-in to make it easy for participants to quickly get in the meeting. (If you're ever joined a conference call from your mobile phone, you know how helpful a one-touch dial-in is.)

2. Run a tech check

If you have an important meeting such as a proposal presentation or larger group meeting, ask to start early with at least one member of the buyer team to run a 10-minute tech check beforehand. You won't always get a yes, but this will help to ensure the buyers are able to login properly, any audio or video works without a glitch and your visuals come through well via screensharing.

Nothing is more frustrating than wasting the first 15 minutes of a meeting because someone can't login or you can't figure out how to share the correct screen of your PowerPoint presentation.

3. Increase your internet speed and bandwidth

Raise your virtual hand if you've been on a video conference recently and either the other person froze, or you saw an "unstable internet connection' warning.

Related: Free Webinar: How to Future-Proof Your Business

Most everyone can upgrade their internet speed through their internet service provider. Get a new router. Try a direct cable to your router instead of WIFI. Close background applications, especially ones that auto-refresh. Each of these will help to enhance the experience.

A seller recently told us about her bandwidth issues at her house. She just hadn't thought about upgrading because she bought "fast internet,' but didn't know there were all sorts of levels of fast. She called her internet provider, upgraded her service, and invested in a new router. All good now on her end.

4. Choose a reliable meeting platform

"That's weird. I was logged in, but no one was there."

"I see Sarah is on the call, but we can't hear you….Sarah are you there?"

"Let's try logging out and logging back in."

"My meeting's already in progress?!? No, it's not, I haven't started it yet!"

Your platform, it's reliability, ease of use and security have a significant impact on a buyer's experience with you. There are many platforms to choose from, each with their own features, security and requirements. Research and choose a proven platform for your meetings. If you have ongoing issues, it's time to investigate a new platform.

5. Invest in quality audio and video

Most (but not all) built-in computer cameras and microphones are low to average quality. It's well worth it to invest in high-quality external devices that produce a crisp picture and clear sound.

Related: How the Crisis is Changing Consumer Behavior and Sales

Use an HD webcam. Many of them also come with high-quality built-in microphones. Consider using a headset, and a podcasting-quality mic that minimizes background noise.

6. Master your platform

So many buttons! Each platform has different functionality, shortcuts and tricks. Get to know your platform. Attend to best practices. At a minimum, you should be comfortable with platform annotation tools, screensharing, video, mute and audio, chat, virtual backgrounds, sharing and playing video, and meeting recording.

Regardless of your platform, there are many resources available to learn the ins and outs. Take a few hours to brush up your knowledge and try a few tools. You'll be impressed with what you learn and how you can use the technology to your advantage.

7. Have a 60-second backup plan

Even the best-laid plans often go awry. What will you do if your audio isn't working? If a key attendee can't get in the meeting? If participants can't view your screen? If there's a technical snafu in the middle of the meeting?

Plan for the various errors and glitches that can occur. Have a standard dial-in number if computer audio isn't working. Use a reliable conference call service. (And have that number handy all the time so you don't have to search for it when you need it!) Be prepared to share documents via email if you aren't able to screenshare.

Avoiding technology problems isn't going to win you the sale, but it might lose it for you. You want your comfort and tech-savviness to demonstrate your professionalism and what it's like to work with you.

Impress, don't frustrate, buyers by following these seven simple tips.

Mike Schultz

President of RAIN Group

Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations, Insight Selling, Virtual Selling: How to Build Relationships, Differentiate, and Win Sales Remotely, and Not Today: The 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity. He is Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a Top Sales Training Company that delivers award-winning results through in-person and virtual sales training, coaching, and reinforcement. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 75 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential.

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