A majority of all communication is non-verbal. Our brains and eyes are trained to identify and interpret all sorts of non-verbal cues, everything from how the other person is standing to the way they tilt their head when they talk.
Understanding this information is crucial for anyone working a sales job, but it’s especially important in the virtual space, where so many of those non-verbal cues can be difficult to see or hidden completely on a video call.
Because of this, taking pains to present certain behaviors to the other party in a sales call can help you communicate stronger and appear more professional. In this article, we’re going to cover 8 different ways you can appear more confident nonverbally in a virtual sales call.
8 ways you can appear confident with nonverbal cues
Straighten your posture
They say first impressions are the most important, and the first impression anyone on a video call gives, even before a word is spoken, is how they hold themselves. Posture is one of the most basic and oft-noticed methods of communicating.
When a client opens the meeting and they see the salesperson hunched over in their chair with their arms crossed, it can communicate several negative impressions, such as laziness or irritability. Obviously, these are not qualities you want to be associated with you by clients.
To prevent sending the wrong messages, take stock of your posture before connecting to the call. There are many impressions that a certain posture demonstrates.
First, keep your back straight and place your feet firmly on the ground. Refrain from crossing your arms or legs, as this demonstrates that you’re closed off. Try not to fidget in your chair, as this can show that you’re anxious or bored. A slight lean forward can be interpreted as excitement or interest, but avoid hunching forward too much. Last, keep your body facing the camera, appearing present to the client.
Maintain eye contact
Eyes are the windows of the soul, and humans attribute all sorts of emotions or impressions to others simply by how much eye contact they offer. In a virtual environment, where so many other features are hidden from view, eye contact is vital to connect with your audience. Offering enough eye contact to your potential client will make you seem invested, honest, and self-confident.
Maintaining eye contact in a virtual environment poses an additional challenge because most people focus on the computer screen—and the client displayed there—rather than on the camera.
Because of this, you should keep your eyes focused on the camera as if you were looking the other person in the eye. Close down unnecessary tabs or programs to keep your eyes from wandering. Also, consider relocating your webcam or moving the video-call window so that the client’s video is as close to the camera as possible.
Another option is to use virtual teleprompter software during your meeting. These programs display notes or writing on the screen so that you don’t have to look away to consult them during the meeting. You can also place them near your webcam and adjust transparency so that the meeting isn’t blocked. This will allow you to maintain eye contact in a meaningful way without having to break it off unnecessarily.
Blank faces are great for poker, but they’re a problem when attempting to land a new client. When engaging an audience, don’t let your face get too stiff. Allow yourself to react to what’s being said by smiling, nodding, or moving your eyebrows. Facial expressions are additional ways to communicate interest and engagement to a client.
This is a great technique for active listening. You’re showing that you’re following the conversation simply by reacting to what’s being said. And, by controlling your facial expressions, you can convey certain feelings and statements without needing to say them outright.
Amplify points with hand gestures
In many situations, talking with your hands can make you seem too aggressive or energetic. However, in a virtual environment, there’s little room for bodily expression on camera. Hand gestures, in this way, are some of the most useful tools in a salesperson’s toolbelt. Making your point with emphatic gestures can help drive home your confidence in the product, among other things.
Landing a point could be amplified by the right hand gesture. There’s a reason that politicians are instructed to use hand gestures as they speak. It works as a kind of physical punctuation to ensure what they’re saying is clear and tactical. A salesperson can use the same method.
Also, research has shown that emphasizing with your hands can help you relax and take some of the load off your mind while speaking. As a result, your client will be able to understand your points better and see you as a confident speaker.
Keep up a good energy
This is something of a combination of several of the points on this list, but keeping the energy of a call up during a virtual meeting can have a positive effect on the outcome. An energetic presentation communicates confidence and competence to a viewer. It also makes your presentation more engaging to the audience.
Taking a quick walk to get the blood flowing before your call is one way to keep your energy up. Another way would be conducting the call while standing to appear more alert and energetic to your potential client. Even taking a few moments to stretch before the meeting can do wonders for your energy levels and, in turn, the outcome of the meeting.
Your diet can also have a direct effect on your energy levels. Make sure you’re not going into a sales call starving, as you’ll seem tired and irritable. That doesn’t mean you should have a full plate of steak and potatoes, though, which could make you lethargic and surly. If you have an important sales call coming up, eat high-energy snacks like yogurt, bananas, or nuts to give yourself a little more pep.
Clean up yourself and your space
This one should be a no-brainer, but you'd be amazed at how often meetings are conducted with a messy room in the background or by a presenter with a five o'clock shadow. The way you present yourself through your appearance and your surroundings can have a direct effect on the image of professionalism you might present.
Make sure you are clean and well-dressed for your meeting, presenting yourself as a trustworthy professional. Take some time also to clean your surroundings so your client won't be confronted with a decidedly unprofessional background.
Don’t touch your face
This one gets its own space. You must try not to touch your face. It’s one of the unconscious things many people do as they communicate, but it gives off a ton of negative impressions to the viewer.
Even if it's just a casual scratching of an itchy nose, touching your face can unintentionally communicate anything from deliberate deception to nervousness to confusion. None of these are traits you wish to communicate to a prospective client for obvious reasons.
If this is a nervous habit of yours that you’re not even conscious of, try using more hand gestures like previously mentioned or keep your hands on your desk in front of you throughout the meeting. A straight posture will also make it more difficult to reach your hands up to your face subconsciously.
Read the room
Always remember that just as you are communicating non-verbally with your potential clients, they will be doing the same to you. Make a habit of paying attention to your client as much as your sales pitch and non-verbal cues, and use the information you glean to adjust your tactics accordingly.
Never be afraid to ask questions or ask if they have any questions in return. If you see them looking bored or fidgety, perhaps it would be wise to shift into a more energetic approach. If you see signs of confusion, invite them to ask questions or check to see what might be causing it.
A good salesperson knows that listening to the client—even when they're not saying anything—can be just as important to the process as talking to them. Communication is, after all, a two-way street.
VODIUM is perfect for showing confidence verbally and nonverbally
Communication, verbally and nonverbally, takes a conscious effort to improve. Just as you would strengthen your vocabulary, you should strengthen your poise and expressiveness. This can be difficult, but there’s a tool that can help you communicate in both ways: a virtual teleprompter.
Virtual teleprompters like VODIUM can be useful in helping maintain positive non-verbal communicative traits. VODIUM's software can allow you to maintain eye contact, keep focused on the call, and even have notes and suggestions to yourself close at hand without ever having to look away from your video call.
Sign up for a demo today to see how VODIUM can help your sales force improve its communication, both verbally and non-verbally.