webinar — a virtual sales call

  • online seminar
  • B2B marketing application
  • offers global reach, low costs, & enviable time savings
  • has matured to the point where it can be a reliable part of the business marketing mix


Like regular seminars, the webinar's best use comes relatively late in the selling process, when you have already made contact with prospective buyers, and want to communicate more detailed product information to move them along the buying cycle.


A webinar can be useful, but there are ways to blow it. Consider the following for creating a successful webinar next time you present in a new kind of room.

understand your needs — choose a service provider carefully

Before you commit to a service provider, outline all the capabilities that you want available to you. For sales presentations, you will want live events for a small audience with a high degree of interactivity. That means having phone connections in addition to your Web conference. Your provider should support interactivity through the Web interface, so you can allow your prospect to control the computer demo. You should consider paying the provider to host archives for your presentations. You'll want to be able to get input from the road, so your traveling reps can participate.

understand their needs — adapt your presentation

  • know who you'll be speaking to

  • tailor your presentation to their concerns

  • address questions directly instead of getting to them later - your goal is to deliver the crucial information on demand

technology is only a tool - don't be in awe of it
If you've never participated in a web conference, the capabilities can overwhelm you. Likewise, your prospects may be having a "gee whiz" moment during your presentation. Redirect their enthusiasm for the technology into excitement for your services. Web conferencing is just a tool for business, not an end in itself.

remain professional
Clicking a mouse and talking on the phone are more casual activities than traveling to a key client meeting, but the goal is the same in both situations. To close the deal, the same amount of professionalism, smarts, and sales acumen are necessary. That's doubly true when your prospect can't see you in person.

take control 
You have to drive the sales call, ushering your prospect through the online components.

encourage interaction
The same rules about bad PowerPoint presentations apply in the online world. But it's even more important during virtual sales calls to create time for interactivity with your audience. Don't talk for too long at any one time, and be sure to ask questions of your audience throughout, so you know they're paying attention.


  • no reading - prevent your presenters from reading their speeches- keep the customer experience top of mind. No one likes to listen to a presenter drone on and on, whether it's live or online.

  • add variety - use multiple presenters, and break their sessions into small bits, to keep a fast pace and maintain listener attention.

  • phone equipment - experiment with the speakers' phone equipment in advance. Headsets are preferred - make sure the sound is clear and the fit is comfortable. Avoid using speaker phones.

  • build in interactivity to keep listeners interested. Use polling questions. Encourage listeners to type their ideas into a text chat box. Give prizes for the best answers.

  • record the event for later viewing. This will broaden your audience size and cut your cost per contact.

  • attendance - follow the rules of direct marketing to drive attendance. Offer an incentive, like a white paper or a book. Follow up with confirmation emails before the session.

  • feedback & follow-up - conduct a poll at the end of the webinar to further qualify attendees. Ask them their reactions to the product discussed. Ask them questions about their intent to buy, their authority to buy, and their likely time frame. And don't forget to ask them if they'd like to see a sales rep.

be an early adapter
Get your feet wet. The webinar is here, it's ready for action, and it can drive new business. The more you use video-conferencing the less you'll notice the medium, and the more comfortable and natural you'll feel. Become an early-adapter and as the technology becomes more common, you can share your expertise to introduce others to the power of the media. 

In the beginning, it may feel like the technology is controlling you, but eventually the tables will turn and you will use video-conferencing with the ease that you currently use your computer, fax and phone. 

Eventually, you'll be more creative in assembling remote meetings and in using video-conferencing and multimedia to their greatest effectiveness . . . and yours! 


©Patricia (Trish) Green 
Trish Green, Presentation Skills Specialist
email  [email protected]       
web    www.trishgreen.com

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