Want to really stand out? Try doing what others aren’t. Video follow-up is the secret weapon for making a huge and lasting impression.
If you were creating a dream sales impact tool, what would that look like?
• Exceedingly easy to execute
• Zero cost
• Huge impact
• Emotional engagement
Ladies and gentlemen, meet video follow-up: the one form of communication that offers the highest-lasting impact for the least amount of effort.
Blake sells new homes in Austin, Texas. He received a call from a prospect who was most insistent that she wanted a large and wooded homesite. If Blake could not offer that at his community she would look elsewhere, and she made it clear that she would rather not waste her time by visiting a community that did not have what she was looking for.
In Blake’s mind, two issues were at play. First, this lady was very specific about what she wanted, and he did not want to disappoint. Second, the prospect’s tone and bluntness indicated that perhaps she had a less-than-stellar opinion of salespeople in general.
Enter video messaging. Blake took his smartphone and walked over to the homesite that he believed would be most appropriate for this prospect. He stood in front of the site and filmed a one-minute video, introducing himself and panning across the property to show the trees.
I’ll be honest; the video quality wasn’t great. It was bumpy, the audio was inconsistent, and there was nothing polished about it. But that made it awesome! The video was real and raw and personalized. It showed commitment to ease the customer’s concerns, and it demonstrated to the prospect that Blake was the kind of sales professional who would go the extra mile.
One other thing to keep in mind: This is a kind of follow-up in advance. The prospect had visited the website, so she was very well versed in the offerings of this community. They had spoken by phone, but the customer still had misgivings. Blake could show via video that he was actually a really good guy. That video message caused the customer to show up for the appointment with her guard brought way down.
(On a side note, today websites really do serve as an initial sales presentation. This is the first stop for most customers. With that in mind, a pre-live presentation video really does count as effective follow-up!)
THE VIDEO GENERATION
Today’s typical buyer was raised with video as a daily reality: video texts, Snapchat, and other social media sources. According to YouTube, people watched 1 billion hours of video on that platform in 2019. Every. Single. Day.
What was once considered a massive and expensive undertaking (filming and editing a video) can now be done with very little effort. The year before smartphones hit the market it would have cost you thousands of dollars and hours of time to create what can be done today in minutes and at zero cost.
What’s more, your younger prospects expect video. They know firsthand that the process of creating video is just not that difficult.
THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE
Don’t take my word for it. These statistics tell the story about the power of video:
• Adding video to an email can increase the open-to-reply rates by up to eight times.1
• Prospects who view videos of a product are 85 percent more likely to buy.2
• 75 percent of late-stage prospects that received a personalized video closed.3
• 87 percent of businesses now use video as a marketing tool.4
No doubt about it, video works, and it works well!
One other factoid that is particularly telling: 90 percent of consumers watch video on their mobile devices.5 Take advantage of that.
WHY SO POWERFUL?
To appreciate the impact of video follow-up you must first understand how the brain processes information. According to the American Journal of Ophthalmology, 50 percent of our neural tissue is directly or indirectly related to vision, which assists in visual learning. When our eyes are open, our vision accounts for two-thirds of the electrical activity of the brain. We are, in short, a visual species.
Video is interesting, humanizing, and memorable. Why is it so powerful? Because it engages our emotions.
We tend to process text in the logical/analytical portion of our brain, while we process video in the emotional core of our brain. You tell me which is more powerful when making a purchase decision.
There is a reason that marketers don’t run television ads that do nothing but show the specs and features of a product. No, the commercials instead show what we really want to buy: a better and happier life. That is the power of video.
THE MENTAL POST-IT® NOTE
It’s not just what we see that counts; it’s what we retain. John Medina, PhD, author of Brain Rules, states, “When you pair images with information, people retain 65% of the information three days later, as opposed to just 10% with text alone.”
It’s more than a marketing message; think of video as something of a Post-it Note for experiences. We attach the video to a specific emotion, and we then find it far easier to retrieve that image down the road.
Suppose you are selling exercise equipment. You can mail a brochure or you can email a series of photos; either would be helpful for your prospects to get a sense of what they can buy. But a video captures something that is far more difficult to see in the photos; it captures emotion. It’s not just a matter of seeing how the equipment works; it’s about seeing the positive emotional experience of the user.
Want an example? Check out the infomercials for any of the exercise programs put out by Beachbody (P90X, Insanity, T25, CIZE, etc.). What do you see? You see happy people feeling great about their experience. You see the dour “before” image and the celebratory “after” image. It is all intended to engage your emotions and get you to feel how good your life can be.
SO WHY DON’T WE SEE MORE OF IT?
We surveyed hundreds of salespeople to gather research for this book and asked, “What percentage of your follow-up is done by various methods (phone, email, face-to-face, text, video, social media)?” Video was only 5 percent!
To be clear, video marketing is booming. But we’re not talking about marketing here; we are talking about follow-up. By that I mean personalized and targeted messages that are recorded for specific clients.
Why have so many salespeople failed to catch on to this powerful medium? The answer in one word: discomfort.
It’s the discomfort of looking foolish. Or of not knowing how the technical aspects work. Or of just stepping outside of what we normally do. In each case, our desire for comfort constricts our ability to make an impact.
In reality, making a custom video for your prospect is super easy! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to send videos all day long.
The fact is that video should not be cutting edge, but at the time of this writing it still is. Why? Simply because it is not being used.
What a great chance to stand out from the crowd. Do something that offers high impact at zero cost, which no one else is doing.
The window is open to maximize the opportunity, but it won’t be open for long.
Start small, but start today. I recommend sending a video message to yourself just to get comfortable with the process. For most people, your smartphone has all the equipment you need—no fancy software or SaaS subscription required!
Simply point the camera at a pen or a coffee cup and say a few words. Then text that video to yourself. (If you’re stumped on the technical side, just hop over to YouTube and type, “How to send a video text message.” You’ll find scores of instructional videos that will show you the step-by-step process using any smartphone.) Send several messages to yourself.
Once you are comfortable with the how-to, kick it up a notch and send a message to a friend or family member. Just a quick “thinking about you” message is all it takes. You are simply trying to get used to the process.
Then pick a favorite client, someone you could not possibly offend, and send a quick message. Thank them for their business and let them know you are there to serve at any time.
The point is to start small and safe, and then work your way up to being a video ninja.
Keep in mind: Content quality is what counts, not production quality. People will give you a lot of leeway if your camera is a bit jumpy or if part of your face is not on the screen. In fact, such amateur-looking videos actually serve to add credibility over the slickly polished commercials we are used to (and bored with).
Don’t get hung up on trying to create perfect production quality. The impact is in the effort more than the finished result. In my experience, many salespeople are so afraid of looking silly that they simply give up. Don’t do that!
VIDEO: EASY LEVEL
The simplest way to create a video is to point your camera at the product (or some feature of the product that is especially valuable or important to the customer) and do a little narration. You don’t need to be on camera; you just need to make sure you are energetic and enthusiastic.
The good news is that this is still a high-impact use of video! And if you are uncomfortable, don’t worry; you can re-record over and over until you are satisfied with the result.
VIDEO: ADVANCED LEVEL
You will continue the relational momentum with your client if you include your own smiling face in the video. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t like the way I look on camera!” Um . . . I hate to break it to you, but . . . that is the way you look!
Your customers already know what you look like. It’s you who has a problem with your face on video, not the customers. They have already seen you and—this is critical—they already like you!
It’s not just about sending information. It’s also about extending the conversation and sustaining the human relationship. Be bold!
VIDEO: NINJA LEVEL
If you really want to stand out, consider using video to create a future life picture for your customers. The best use of video is when it is customized to the particularities of a specific prospect. Once you get comfortable with this method, you’ll find it easy to excel. An extra benefit—it’s super fun!
• You are selling jewelry, and you just sold an engagement ring. Film a message at a setting that is popular for engagement photos. Super Ninja challenge: Start with a close-up on a sparkly ring and pan out to show the happy bride-to-be hamming unashamedly.
• You are selling cars, and you learn that your potential buyer is into golf. Film yourself standing in front of an open trunk, loading and unloading a golf bag. Super Ninja challenge: Pull out a trophy. A bit of tasteful humor is especially memorable.
• You are selling homes, and your prospect has two dogs. Film a message at a dog park. Super Ninja challenge: Walk a dog in front of one of your home sites and get it to bark enthusiastically on cue.
• You are selling manufacturing equipment. Put an avatar—think of Elf on the Shelf or the Traveling Gnome or Flat Stanley—in or on pieces of equipment: a conveyor, a kettle, an oven, an engine. Super Ninja challenge: Give your avatar a voice with a couple seconds of humorous selling.
Make no mistake—the best videos are personalized videos. Use your imagination!
TIPS FOR GREAT VIDEO CONTENT
1. Keep it short. Consider that the majority of your prospects will view the video on their smartphone. Think 30 seconds max. Fifteen is better.
2. Pick the right setting. Use a pleasant backdrop. Standing with your back to a window will wash out your picture. Standing against a blank wall makes you look like a hostage. Find something visually interesting for the background.
3. If you have any audio, make sure it is clearly understandable.
4. Show high energy. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but you must demonstrate a positive emotional experience. Ask yourself: What energy level do I want my customer to adopt? Then be that person.
5. Find the emotion. We are emotional creatures, and we make emotional decisions. Find the emotion in the moment and include that in the video. Happy previous customers make for great salespeople when seen on video!
6. If it’s a longer and more involved video, do like the pros and create a short storyboard (think of the setting, acceptable light and noise, props, your message). A few minutes of planning helps make sure the pieces come together well without multiple reshoots.
7. Include a call to action. It might be an appointment reminder, a notice that you will call soon, or some other next step. Just think about how you can remind your prospect that the conversation is not over!
One downside to video: It is a red flag for company IT departments. Video files are substantially larger than photos or documents, and many email servers have limits on acceptable file size transfers.
Sending via text message circumvents this issue. As does using a third-party video service such as bombbomb.com.
THE BOTTOM LINE ON VIDEO
I’m all for standing out. I’m all for catching people’s valuable attention by doing something unique and memorable. Video elicits emotion, and emotion is memorable. Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your success. Be bold. Be unique. Be memorable. Be the difference-maker!
1. How will you use facial expressions and body language to enhance your message in a video follow-up?
2. What feedback—good and bad—did you get from the test videos you sent to your friends, family, and favorite client? How will you use that to improve?
3. Pick five customers and create short storyboards for follow-up videos for them.
4. How might your videos differ depending on the customer (e.g., millennials vs. seniors)?
Now Do This:
Put this into action right away. Start small if you have to, following the progression laid out in this chapter. Send one to yourself, and then to a friend, and then to a prospect.
Pick one of those customers for whom you’ve storyboarded and roll camera. Action!