In my time at BlueJeans, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of strategic business and technology leaders. Most share a passion for using technology to do two things: enable their colleagues to be more effective in their roles and build relationships both internally within their organizations and externally with prospects and customers.
When it comes to sales execution, I can never forget the story that Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams, tells about his sales process and his introduction to the skills needed to sell beer. He discusses how sales is truly where the rubber meets the road. It's all about human contact. Sales don’t happen between markets or companies—they happen between people.
The most important sales skill is relationship-building, and the most important relationship-building tool is communication. As such, I am always stunned to hear that in 2018, when it’s just as common to conduct business with people who live across the globe as it is with people across the street, salespeople and sales leaders still have conversations on an audio-only device invented in 1876—our beloved telephone.
Using the Human Face to Your Advantage
At BlueJeans, rather than the phone, we’re hooked on communicating using the most powerful tool in business—the human face. Most interpersonal communications (upwards of 55%) are non-verbal. Whether it be a revealing facial expression, a particular aspect of body language, or the barely-perceptible flicker of an eye, these non-verbal communications are critical to understanding, clear communication, and relationship building. Imagine having a conversation with a prospect where he or she could only hear every other word or every other sentence. That’s what happens when more than half of the information being communicated—the non-verbal part—is hidden.
The best salespeople take the time to build relationships with their customers and prospects using clear, robust, and frequent communications. Listening is critical, and truly active listening requires both ears and eyes. Imagine watching TV with the volume off—you can still get a decent sense of what’s going on. Being able to see and hear a prospect builds trust, empathy, and understanding much faster than just hearing their words. Often, my sales team will pull me into a conversation with a prospect, and I can usually tell whether they will close the sale just by observing their interactions. Watching and understanding their non-verbal cues and body language is critical.
The power of video also helps salespeople grow their total sales. I know customers who use BlueJeans because it enables them to see 7-10 times more prospects during a day than if they lived on the road. The math is simple: “visit” more prospects, build more pipeline, and grow more revenue. All without ever leaving the office.
Besides closing sales, face-to-face communication is critical when forecasting, which often involves both art and science. I’ve heard from many sales leaders that they won’t do another forecast without seeing the whites of a salesperson’s eyes. They understand that sometimes salespeople tend to have “happy ears” or try to “yabba-dabba-doo” their manager by appearing outwardly confident that a sale will be coming in, but their body language will reveal their true feelings. Reading this body language enables sales leaders to judge and adjust their forecasts to more closely align with reality—not what a salesperson verbally committed while wearing their rose-colored Ray Bans.
Good businesspeople understand the value of face-to-face communications. As Jim Koch said, “Sales requires real human skills and all the fury and muck and mire of real human-to-human contact.” In this day and age, everyone in a company is either in sales or sales support. However, most sales executives I’ve met prefer to remain in their office or home versus spend time on the road or in the skies. BlueJeans provides the best of both worlds—the power of audio and visual interaction but without the travel time and cost, enabling teams around the world to excel at their jobs by leveraging the most powerful tool in sales: the human face.