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How do you sell across a screen?

Humans are, by nature, tactile beings, and our brains receive, store and compute millions of signals in any engagement with other people. Some we are aware of to some degree – for example body language, or the degree to which someone makes eye contact. But there are loads of other signals we know very little about that help us to make our decisions in human interactions.

As a sales person – a lot of these unconscious signals are part of your arsenal of assessing a potential client and gauging which approach to use.

How do we translate all of this, which we barely understand in the physical world, across a screen? Pavlo Phitidis argues that this is a critical competency to get right, and get it right soon, as those individuals who engage well online are going to leapfrog ahead those who don’t.

Listen to Pavlo Phitidis and Bruce Whitfield discuss this on The Money Show on 702 and CapeTalk:

Pavlo identifies the following elements which need to be practiced and implemented to make your sales engagements effective, online.

Create your best digital self

This needs be reflected across multiple platforms online, including a website that clearly communicates your value proposition; email, LinkedIn, and if you are consumer facing, facebook or Instagram too. You need to have these digital assets up-to-date to share with your lead before the engagement to help build the familiarity that would be established with the small talk or banter of a physical meeting.  We are going to spend far more time and energy preparing for meetings online than we did in person.

Establish a professional presence in the other person’s screen

Know your framing and your posture are being received. Declutter your space so that there are no distractions. Test your tech before the meeting so that the platform runs smoothly from start to finish during the meeting. And switch off your own view so you aren’t distracted by your own image and can focus on the other person.

Create familiarity

A sale is based on trust and whether it is in person or via a screen, you have to build that trust. There are a number of touch points to do this through online: The meeting request, the meeting confirmation; send through an agenda, share your LinkedIn profile. By the time the meeting arrives they have been warmed to you by the multiple points of contact, and then look into the iris of the camera to mimic the feeling of eye contact.


If it used to take 2 to 4 meetings to get your deal done, you will need 5 to 7 meetings online. Why? It’s hard for people to relax online and people can’t concentrate for hours on a screen. So you can’t deal with multiple issues all in one session. Take all of the steps you would have gone through in the 2 to 4 meetings and break them up into 5 to 7 meetings online.  Keep them brief and leave the other person looking forward to another engagement to find out more.

Amplify everything

Just as you appear ‘flatter’ on TV than in real life, which requires exaggerated movements and inflection, to convey the same energy. And exaggerate the number of engagements – connect after the meeting, connect before the next one, stay in contact to build that familiarity.

We work with businesses to overcome obstacles to growth, including the adoption of digital processes where they can improve performance in the business. Talk to us to see how we can help you digitise your business.


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