Have You Seen Yourself From The Customer's Side of The Desk?

Have You Seen Yourself From The Customer’s Side of The Desk?

I met a terrific new contact last week that asked the following question of me:

“Can you suggest a tool for practicing phone skills and face to face conversational selling skills? I’d like to sit down with my laptop, and engage in simulated sales scenarios so I can practice things like my elevator pitch, cold phone intro, addressing price objections.  Maybe something that uses the camera and mic on my laptop itself?”

My answer was absolutely, there are several easy ways to accomplish this. I was impressed already with the person due to his willingness to film/record this at all.

Here are a few web tools and hardware items to accomplish this goal:

For Video and Audio at your desk:

  • Use your WebCam and microphone on your laptop/desktop – If you have this setup, you can simply record both video and audio and record your activity. If you do not have a webcam built-in, I recommend you purchase the current best of breed webcam with stereo microphone from Logitech – HD Pro Webcam C920
  • For record your online presentation skills, I recommend Camtasia Studio from TechSmith. It is a bit pricey, but is the best tool in its category. In addition to record the audio and screen presentation for your evaluation, it can also be used to convert your other video’s into new formats, edit your video and audio files and even assemble multiple video’s into a package with table of contents, index, etc.I use this tool at least once a week.
  • If Camtasia is a bit too pricey for you, explore Jing, also from TechSmith that is available in either a free or Pro version.
  • Use your Smartphone with a Tripod mount. Your video camera and recorder on your phone will do a pretty good job of capturing your performance to review and critique. I recommend you pick up a tripod mount or case with tripod mount that is designed for your camera. You will find this to be a useful addition to your laptop bag for many purposes.

For Audio at your desk or other location:

  • My favorite tool for this is the Samson Zoom H2N recording microphone. Simply set it down, turn it on and begin to talk. It records with extreme quality and in a variety of formats to meet your needs, saving your audio on convenient SD memory cards. This is one of the most versatile pieces of hardware that I have purchased. It also serves as a USB microphone that plugs directly into your PC if desired.
  • Use one of the audio recording apps on your smartphone. There are too many to list and many are capture very good quality audio, especially if you mount it on a tri-pod mount designed for your camera, so that it does not pick up sounds from your hands or other vibrations nearby.

For Live Presentations:

  • Coach’s Eye is an app available only on the iPhone that has some very innovative capabilities. As the name implies, it has been designed with coaches in mind, which I have adapted with excellent results when coaching presentation skills. You can review body posture, eye contact, hand gestures and your overall presence all from the screen of your iPhone. Here is a 90 second video from TechSmith that demonstrates how the tool adds slow motion, voice over and instant video analysis all from your iPhone.

Just think creatively how you could apply the capabilities for your own requirements. I hope you find it as useful as I have.

Recording yourself takes some guts, and having a respected peer or leader critique it with you can be a gut-wrenching. When you complete the exercise, you will have greatly improved your ability to communicate your message effectively to your prospects, customers and your peers.

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Ayeen Benoza - 11 years ago

These are very helpful tips.  Recording myself seems like a good idea, but of course there has to be someone who will coach me like some sort of a director.  Sounds exciting and fun at the same time.  Thanks for all the suggestions and recommendations Miles. http://bit.ly/ayeen2

Greg - 11 years ago

Hard to do at first but it helps, a lot.

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

    Greg, you share why we might not do this important exercise. It is hard to do, gut-wrenching in public environments in my experience. The end of your comment is also true – it does help, a lot.

Lori Richardson - 11 years ago

Miles, thanks for posting about this. Having self-awareness is so critically important as to what you say, how you say it, what your body language is like, and what your energy level is.

We’re finding many new sales reps who have spent much more time connecting virtually than “IRL” (in real life, as they say) and simply don’t know what to do and how to do it in many cases. Others do know what to do, but they don’t pull it off well because they are not self-aware enough.

I can’t post without also suggesting the use of a sales coach for help on this, or at least doing some searches online for more tips. Early on in my sales career I got involved with Toastmasters which was an excellent way to get supportive feedback on how one presents.

Lori Richardson

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

    Great observation Lori about the growth of our “virtual” interaction. I just saw a tv program showing the “social skills” training that the students at MIT can go through, and they made the same point.

    Coaching is always an important piece of this exercise, whether it is your boss, a peer, or a professional coach like yourself.

      scoremoresales - 11 years ago

      yep, I saw that segment too about MIT – they call it “Charm School” – wishing all companies had at least a Charm School day as well!

        Miles Austin - 11 years ago

         @scoremoresales Ok Lori, this might be the start of something…Sales Charm School! This could go in all sorts of directions.

Bruce Sallan - 11 years ago

Recording yourself doing anything you care about – including sports – is just smart. When you see what others see, you’ll either give up altogether (LOL) or focus on how to do IT better!

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

    I have an easier time doing this with sports activities for some reason. Seeing myself in a simulated “live” business situation still gives me a case of the nerves.

Daniel Rose - 11 years ago

Fantastic idea. Many people really struggle with this, and since it’s all about the relationship it makes perfect sense.

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

    Daniel, I think everyone struggles with this. The key is to have someone view the videos with you that is willing to be honest. Find another rep and video each other and then critique each others performances. Eases the anxiety.

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