After a long career in the traditional corporate training world, Wayne Turmel is now the president of www.greatwebmeetings.com, which helps people develop the sales and presentation skills necessary to communicate effectively when you can’t be face to face with your customers. He is also the host of The Cranky Middle Manager Show, one of the world’s most popular management podcasts. (You may have heard our interview together a year or so ago)
I met with Wayne Turmel some time ago when he first interviewed me for his podcast show “The Cranky Middle Manager Show” on the topic of Personal Branding. Here is the link to that interview
I learnt that Wayne is now helping companies of all sizes to make the most of web meetings. In this interview he makes a business case for his business and gives some insights on how you can make the most of web meetings.
Here is the interview:
RS: Wayne, This may be an obvious first question – Can you make a case for salespeople to use webmeetings?
WT: The costs of sales are growing exponentially. Travel costs are going through the roof while travel budgets are getting slashed. Sales people are expected to better qualify their prospects before setting face-to-face calls and fewer bodies are covering larger territories. Any tool that helps speed communication is going to get a good looking at. And the cost of a webmeeting instead of going to the customer site can’t be beat- as long as they’re effective.
RS: Studies show that many sales people don’t like these tools (and avoid using them)- why not?
WT: Sales people by their nature love to be face to face with their customers…. Sales is based on a relationship, and it’s hard to fashion good relationships just through email or on the phone. Many people view webmeetings as one-way communication that doesn’t offer them a real opportunity for building those relationships…. and no wonder. The Vendors of these programs teach the tools you need to push information out, but most people never get taught to use the interactive components of these tools… they’re too busy figuring out how to use them at all never mind use them well.
I always use the analogy of PowerPoint. How many sales people got handed their first laptop with a presentation on it and never received coaching on how to use it? We sat through horrible presentations…when they could even get the projector and computer to talk to each other….how many hours of our lives were wasted?
RS: Audiences aren’t too crazy about them either….
WT: Our research shows that audiences quite like web demos if they are well done and focused on their needs. After all, they don’t have to leave their desk or have a sales person in their office they can’t get rid of. But they are often considered a waste of time. In fact we did a YouTube video on why audiences don’t like them… and some things you can do to make them more interactive and focused. It’s called Why Web Demos Suck- And What You Can Do About It.
Generally the most common mistakes according to our research are:
• Not being relevant to the customer’s business
• Too much information, most of it irrelevant at this stage of the sales cycle (going too far into features and specifics before they even know if they’re interested in the product)
• Not answering the customer’s most pressing questions in a timely manner
• The people doing the presentation are often subject matter experts but not compelling presenters (the word most often used was BORING)
RS: So, what are some of those things sales people can do?
WT: Just as in a face-to-face meeting you want to ask lots of questions and focus on what they really need, the interactive tools in webmeetings allow for two-way communication. Most sales people are so nervous about using the tool, though, they simply push information out. A wise sales organization will make sure that people not only get real-time practice with the tool before they are in front of a prospect, but they understand how to use it as a two-way communication tool, not just a one-way presentation platform. That’s what we teach at Greatwebmeetings- the sales and presentation skills they need to really engage their customers and be as effective “virtually” as they are in a face to face meeting.
RS: Can you please give an example?
WT: Sure. A software company in the Midwest had a subject matter expert who did their software demos. She was a very good presenter- engaging, fun to listen to- but her conversion rate with customers who had requested demos was about 50%. We worked with her to do a number of things. First, identify her outcome as the presenter, which was to get her customer to agree to a trial of the software. Then to ask plenty of questions before she started presenting (to avoid information the client wasn’t interested in) and to get to the customer’s most pressing questions right away. We also taught her a technique for presenting features tied to what the customer told her during the questioning and confirming buy-in before spending too long. Not only are her presentations generally shorter now, but the number of prospects moving to a trial of the product went up over 20%. Her CEO is delighted, needless to say.
RS: Isn’t there plenty of on-line training available?
WT: There’s lots of information, but much of it is in the form of recorded lectures and webinars. True training has three components- it addresses the real work the people have to do, it allows for self-discovery, and it’s assessed to see if the person has really learned something and get coaching and reinforcement of the new skills. With a regular presentation skills program, you’d expect people to get up and present after the training and show improvement. All our programs do that. Training without demonstrating improved performance is a waste of time and money.
You can learn more about what Wayne has to offer at Great Web Meetings