Eight Tips to Engage Participants at Your Zoom or Video Sales Calls

By Gil Peretz
Hands lay on a laptop keyboard while a person is on the screen and a notepad is next to the laptop.

Tip 1: Grab their attention.
In my recent TED talk, I mentioned an important fact: Two other TED speakers, Daniel Gilbert and Matt Killingsworth, had discovered we wander off in our thoughts and fail to be present almost half the time: 47 percent, according to their findings.

The best way to help someone be more focused is to incorporate elements of surprise throughout your interaction.

So, how do you grab your customer’s attention throughout your video call? “Surprise” them with small scene changes throughout your call.

It’s simple. Let’s say you are screen sharing a PowerPoint® presentation. Do not make the mistake of talking for 30 minutes straight – strictly focusing on the PowerPoint. Instead, every four to six minutes, stop sharing your screen and start communicating directly with your customer.

That not only grasps their attention back, but it is an opportunity for them to ask a question and stay engaged.

Imagine yourself as the director of a show or film. It’s your role to build and better your customer’s experience. Your customer should be the hero of the show – winning the Academy Award when he/she buys your products and service.

Tip 2: Boom! Use the Zoom whiteboard feature.
Many salespeople do not use the Zoom whiteboard tool. I recommend using it for interaction, engagement, and customer participation. Show the customer how to use it and then ask them to add their input.

Why is this so important?

In a set of experiments performed at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Professor Zakary Tormala found that whiteboard presentation significantly outperformed PowerPoint-style presentation. On average, it caused a 9 percent improvement in engagement among participants.

Participants said they better understood the messages and enjoyed the process.

Whiteboard presentations also improved recall of messages by 16 percent and enhanced the total persuasive impact of the message by 8 percent.

So, during the call, use whiteboard sharing to “interrupt” your PowerPoint slides. For example, ask customers to create a list of the pros and cons of using your service in their perspective. That’s gold input.

You can also ask them to use the whiteboard to show their concerns. When they draw on their whiteboard, they are portraying their ideas – and people believe their own ideas.

While using the whiteboard makes the whole meeting fun, it advances the meeting to the next step of the customer’s commitment. You can also add your input to the whiteboard, save it, and then send it to the customer as another influencing tool once the meeting is over.

Tip 3: Wow your customers on Zoom.
Using the element of surprise is a powerful strategy you can use to your advantage! When done right, surprise adds value and strengthens the connection between you and your customer.

For instance, let’s say you use a virtual background throughout your Zoom call. Next time you Zoom with a customer, use a background that will make your customers feel good and proud – and works to connect you back to the customer. That could be a background of their (and not your) product, Website, or factory.

Using the surprise element shows your customer you care. And caring leads to selling.

Tip 4: Use props.
Props can strengthen your message. Every time you bring a prop or surprising object to your Zoom meeting, you engage your customer. That helps make the message you are delivering unforgettable.

You can use your prop as part of your presentation or while chatting with your customers. Using props on Zoom is an excellent opportunity to get people’s attention – so make sure to let this tip play out!

Tip 5: Use videos.
Incorporating short testimonial clips you prepared before your Zoom call can be highly effective. I suggest having them ready in a folder along with a list of what kind of objections each clip helps you overcome.

The moment a customer raises an objection, your video acts as the power of social proof to help you handle their objections better.

When you create a cinematic experience for your customers, you are orchestrating a multi-dimensional experience for them.

Tip 6: Death by PowerPoint? Not if you apply this surprising tip!
When you watch a presentation, I assume you prefer the presenter to use slides with more visuals and few to no words on the slides.

In the world of Zoom sales calls, however, I recommend doing the opposite. Use more text in some of your slides. Don’t be afraid even to write a couple of sentences.

When you speak remotely as people watch your presentation, many people find it helpful to read to themselves the main concepts you share alongside your voice.

You can still use the fantastic PowerPoint you have constructed but, from time to time, change the pattern. Surprise the customer with a different type of slide. Each time you break the pattern, you get their attention back – and, before any call to action, you need their attention.

Tip 7: What can you learn from your kids?
Since you want your customers to be focused when you speak and share information, you need to involve and engage them throughout. One suggestion I have is to give your customer a PDF that summarizes the key points of your Zoom call.

However, the PDF should not be complete; instead, make it more like a hunt for the treasure.

Let’s say you plan to share “five tips for customer engagement while Zooming.” Consequently, the PDF should include the title along with five numbered lines.

The first line has one of the tips already filled in. The rest is blank or partially filled so the customer will need to complete them while listening to you.

I know that sounds strange or even unprofessional, so why is it so useful to use an incomplete PDF in your video calls?

Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that people remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. Other studies taught us that people are eager to complete “unfinished stories.” It’s essential to make the customer feel like a winner as they add their input while listening to you.

If you decide against sharing a premade PDF for the customer to print, I have another option. Start a shared Google Doc with your customers and allow them to add input to it online while listening!

As long as you keep your customers engaged, any interaction you choose will help you lead them on the path to your solution.

Tip 8: Tell a story.
Storytelling is always an effective tool for influencing customers and keeping them engaged during sales calls. With Zoom, it’s vital to share the right stories as an efficient way to connect with others and make it a successful human-with-human interaction.

Gil Peretz is an international TEDx speaker, sales expert, author of Intimate Marketing, and co-author of Obama’s Secrets: How to Speak and Communicate with Power and a Little Magic. Watch his TEDx talk, “The Secret to a Fulfilling Life = Surprise!” or contact him at gil@PositiveChutzpah.com.