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Digital Body Language: How To Have Better Zoom Sales Meetings

On this episode of the Salesman Podcast, Erica Dhawan talks about Digital Body Language. Erica explains –

  • How to improve your digital body language
  • How to make your virtual first impressions memorable
  • Tips for improving self-awareness during virtual meetings
You'll learn:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Erica Dhawan
Author of Digital Body Language

Resources:

Transcription:

Will:

This episode of the show is brought to you from the salesman.org HubSpot studio. Come we go on today’s episode of the salesman podcast.

 

Erica:

That when we are connecting behind a screen versus in person with the same person, we’re more likely to signal less empathy. In my research over the last five years, writing my book, Digital Body Language. What I actually discovered is that Zoom is not just a replacement. Another example of what our digital shift has unlocked is speeding up the sales conversation. Instead of waiting three weeks, flying on two planes, we can jump on to a conversation anytime, anywhere.

 

Will:

Hello sales nation, my name is Will Barron. I’m the host of the salesman podcast. I’ve got the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, we have Erica Dhawan, author of Digital Body Language, the new book, which is available on Amazon and everywhere else. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about on today’s episode. How you can show up to meetings, have more influence, reduce the chances of people misunderstanding you and have better sales outcomes. And so with that said, let’s jump right into it. Erica, welcome to the salesman podcast.

 

Erica:

Thank you so much for having me here, Will.

 

Differences Between Buyer’s Brain During Zoom Meetings and In-Person Meetings · [01:31]

 

Will:

You’re more than welcome. So I’m excited to dive into this topic of, I love the way you’ve gone and branded it and chose this name here, Digital Body Language. We’re going to dive into that. But first, before we get into perhaps how we can improve our own digital body language, which is what we’re all here for, right? What’s going on in the buyer’s brain? What’s going on in the buyer’s brain when we engage with them on Zoom versus when we engage with them in person? What’s the difference that’s going on inside them between those two environments?

 

“We all know that roughly 70% of communication is our nonverbal body language.” – Erica Dhawan · [01:48]

 

Erica:

We all know that roughly 70% of communication is our nonverbal language, but in a world where roughly now 70 to a hundred percent of our sales conversations are virtual, there are massive differences in how the buyer’s brain is reacting to our selling and marketing. For example, a recent research study called the online disinhibition effect showed that when we were connecting behind a screen versus in person with the same person, we’re more likely to signal less empathy to that other person behind the screen than in person. Second, I like to say in today’s world, we are much more likely to misunderstand each other quickly in the world of screen freezes, echos, delays. And also the fact that it’s not natural to see our own video camera on the screen while we’re trying to engage with someone else. We often miss the lean in, the direct eye contact, the head nod that allows us to act with curiosity to engage or to shift the conversation if required.

“There is much more pausing in between that makes it much more difficult to have that creative flow of conversation in the modern sales conversation.” – Erika Dhawan · [03:16] 

Erica:

And lastly, the third thing that’s happening in the buyer’s brain is often reading into signals we may be sending, even if we don’t intend to, that are often different than the shrug shoulder, the head nod, the frown of brows, that were very common to react to instantly. We don’t have that synchronicity in real time feedback, whether it’s delays in technology or the fact that screen freezes or gallery view make it difficult. There is much more pausing in between that makes it much more difficult to have that creative flow of conversation in the modern sales conversation.

 

Why We’re Less Likely to Have Strong Conversations Virtually Versus Face to Face · [03:38]

 

Will:

So clearly there’s a whole how do we go into strategy-wise or how we need to change how we do these calls perhaps to take advantage of the platform, the access that we do have. But with that said, is it just inherently less likely to have a strong conversation through a Zoom call or a Skype call, or is there an opportunity to have just as good a call as what we would do in person.

 

Erica:

In my research over the last five years, writing my book, Digital Body Language. What I actually discovered is that Zoom is not just a replacement when we can’t be face-to-face, it can actually deepen, enhance and improve the modern sales conversation, whether we can be face-to-face or we would like to meet virtually. One of the things that I’ve seen particularly over the last year is new and creative ways. We can transform the sales conversation to actually speed up trust and connection. For example, with many of my sales division clients, one of the best practises we’ve been doing is in the modern sales conversation, 30 minutes over Zoom, many salespeople are Zooming in an existing customer to talk to a prospect for five minutes about their experience with that service provider. And what this does is it radically improves and speeds up the trust building with the prospect.

 

Erica:

However, this was never happening previous to the pandemic in the sales conversation that was often a coffee chat, but today we can Zoom in individuals in a much faster way. Another example of what our digital shift has unlocked is speeding up the sales conversation. Instead of waiting three weeks, flying on two planes, we can jump on to a conversation anytime, anywhere. And the reality is many salespeople were already ready to do that. But I think on the buyer end, they’re more apt and willing and comfortable to do that now. The other thing that we’re not waiting for is to have all the right decision makers in the room. We don’t have to just have one conversation and then three more sales conversations. Ideally on the buyer end they have all their team members Zooming into that conversation quickly so that you can get to an answer faster.

 

“When we are willing and able to use digital body language in smarter ways we can actually be more effective salespeople as we move into the 21st century.” – Erica Dhawan · [05:50]

 

Erica:

Those are just some examples of the power of how we can use the modern phone or video meeting to re-imagine sales in the future. And I think my argument is that when we are willing and able to use digital body language in smarter ways we can actually be more effective salespeople as we move into the 21st century.

 

Why Buyers are More Comfortable Nowadays Buying and Listening to Sales Pitches Virtually · [06:06]

 

Will:

I love it. So we’ll get into the practical elements of some of this in a second, Erica, but I’ve got one question. With your five years of research and I can probably add a few anecdotes to this, having done the podcast over Skype for six years now, has anything massively changed over that period with regards to whether it’s buyer-seller relationships via video calls or whatever it is. Has there anything that’s massively changed over that period over then the obvious changes in the past 12, 18 months?

 

Erica:

I think when it comes to the buyer-seller relationship, the obvious change is that both parties are much more comfortable buying and selling online through relationships rather than in-person. And I can tell you, as I’ve seen, if you go back to 2017, 2018, 2019, how much resistance there was to buying a product or service unless you had met in person and how much expectation there was to fly down on a plane or make something happen with your whole team present in a board room. I think that the rules have been disrupted and what that is allowing for and I think more of the exciting moment of what’s changed is the willingness for the buyer and seller relationship to modernise and innovate is what I think is the most exciting, unique aspect of the last year.

 

Will:

For sure. And this isn’t any calls, one experiment, right? It’s worth what it is worth. But I know when I started doing this interview series six years ago now, at 700, I think we’d be like 750 episodes in. Nobody wanted to do video. People barely knew what a podcast was, but you convince them to get on an audio podcast. And then they jump on and be like, well, why do I need to be on video? Well, people didn’t even really understand what YouTube was. YouTube was massive clearly at that point in time. But from the business perspective and not people doing stupid things to get millions of views and vlogging and Casey Neistats and all that kind of thing that was hot at the time. There was very few people who were willing to put business content on YouTube, very few people who were willing to contribute to business concept, whether it be interviews or whatever it was.

 

Will:

And I found slowly over the years, it becomes more and more ubiquitous. The people will get on a podcast, then people would then be happy to do the video. And people were set up to the video as well. So you’ve got great lighting and you’ve got this microphone and all this kind of stuff that didn’t exist for most people a few years ago. And now the final twist of all of this is now that everyone’s using Zoom and Skype had just copied a bunch of Zoom features and Microsoft teams, which is kind of the backbone of Skype, right? It’s become easier and easier just to send someone a link that they click on they’d have to instal Skype.

 

Erica Explains How Video Calls Have Eliminated Unnesarry Resistance in Most Sales Conversations · [08:47]

 

Will:

It’s now just so simple to get people on these video calls that I’ve literally seen that transition over the past four or five years. So I can only assume it’s the same if you were a sales person a few years ago, trying to get hold of a buyer and jump on a video call rather than get on a flight. The resistance there must have been massive versus what it is now. Is that fair to say?

 

“Digital body language is not just about how do we connect and sell when we’re connecting virtually in video calls, it’s about how do we make others feel in a modern marketplace.” Erica Dhawan · [09:40]

 

Erica:

I think that is exactly right. And what I foresee as we go back to work at some point this year, next year, is that the future of the sales conversation, maybe back to face-to-face to some level, but there will be a lot of buyers who will want to start with the video call. And there will also be a lot of buyers or buyer and seller conversations where certain people will be in the room together and certain people will be on the video screens around the room. And so digital body language is not just about how do we connect and sell when we’re connecting virtually in video calls, it’s about how do we make others feel in a modern marketplace? I’ll give you an example, pre-pandemic I was on a call, there were three of us that were remote and three people that were in the office. And it wasn’t until the 26th minute of a 30 minute meeting that someone in the office said, does anyone on the phone have anything to share?

 

Erica:

We are so visually biassed to who’s in front of us. And so there’s an opportunity here for that sales person to read cues even better and re-imagine how to speed up that sales conversation to achieve their goals in a modern marketplace, using video, in person, phone, all of these modalities in the right way.

 

How to Tackle the Unconscious Cognitive Bias Present in Most Virtual Meetings · [10:29]

 

Will:

So as you say that I imagine, this is so ridiculous because we could do right now, the new sales.org studio is going to be more like this as I tease the audience with that because it’s coming in the next few months. But I visualise this boardroom with multiple screens and Sally’s not in today, she’s on the screen and there’s this and this and this. And we’re all sat around a table and it’s almost a screen talking in and you’re looking at Sally and then you’re looking at Barry and then there’s Harry over there whose actually in the room. Are we wired to, if we were in that scenario where there’s literally a screen, the audience screen from that in that place as well. So it’s, we do it a little bit to trick our brain, that there’s someone there. Are we still wired to somewhat ignore the individuals on the screen and pay attention to the individual in the room? Is our brain wired or is there a cognitive biases or anything like that that forces us to add kind of sensory priority to people who are actually there.

 

Erica:

We are absolutely wired to pay more attention to individuals that are in the room with us, to individuals that have a deeper voice pitch or taller more than more of the majority in the room, even just where they stand in that boardroom or sit in that boardroom shapes who we pay attention to. So you can imagine if you have a couple of screens where bodies are not present, we are more likely neurologically to not pay as much attention. But I’m here to help you with that. And in my book, Digital Body Language, I actually share some best practises around how you can be more inclusive in those meetings to make sure that you are engaging everyone to get to the best answers.

 

Erica:

For example, when you have a conversation with where some people are in the office and some people are on that video call or that live stream, or even on the conference call, one of the best practises is to switch up a meeting host for different parts of the agenda and actually have a remote person lead parts of the agenda, especially at the beginning of the meeting. What this instantly does is it removes that visual bias and allows us to pay attention to the audio cues.

 

Erica:

Another thing you can do is if you have a sales presentation and then you want to get perspectives from people, instead of just normally just hearing the questions instantly from individuals in that office room, instead start with the people on the phone or on video and say, let’s start with questions remotely and then we’ll come back to the room. What you’ll find is you’ll get more of a diversity of questions, you’ll understand the different cues and signals of what individuals are really thinking versus all the nodding heads in the room. And these are just simple practises, but I think that in many ways our last year of digital selling and marketing is going to allow us to be even better salespeople in the future.

 

Will:

So I’ve got a conundrum, it’s slightly off topic and lighthearted, but you might be able to help with this, right. I’m six foot three, and I was reading a statistic the other day and it was something like, I’m going to butcher the numbers here slightly. So I’ll put them in the show notes, the accurate numbers, but it’s something like 5% of people in America are over six foot and 40% of CEOs and executives in America are men over six foot three or something like that. So it seems like, and you mentioned this, that tone of voice, the deepness of your voice and height leads to more persuasion, and when you’re in a physical conversation. It seems like I should be wanting to leverage my height. And in video calls, this is something that people get wrong about all the time. It’s hilarious when I meet people in person, the first thing that everyone says to me is, bloody hell you’re tall, because on video, obviously you can’t tell this.

 

How to Elevate Your Presence and Increase Your Level of Influence in a Virtual Meeting · [14:12]

 

Will:

Now I could just, I’ll do it now. I could just raise my seat up and I’ll just go much higher, but I’d be like, cut my head off of the crop top of the table, right? So I could lower the table and make myself like perceived to be a taller or shorter than what I actually am. But, and obviously I’m half joking as I say this, but is there anything like your height or is there any way to even like manipulate your voice to make it seem slightly deeper or a more, not more articulate, but is there any way we can use all the other things that people aren’t thinking about to increase our levels of influence on a call or in a sales conversation beyond the obvious, I guess.

 

Erica:

The exciting news is just like, we need to fight the unconscious biases in the traditional face-to-face sales conversation. There are a whole new set of actually digital body language biases. And in part three of my book, I talk about digital body language biases, across genders, generations, and cultures. And it’s very useful for you, Will, and others that are quite tall, where some of that was actually better for them face-to-face so that they can reinforce and show confidence and charisma and presence in the virtual setting.

“A recent study showed that women that use multiple emojis or exclamations in corporate messaging compared to a man at any age that are using those emotive cues, women are more likely to be seen as incompetent, men are more likely to be seen at all ages as casual or friendly.” – Erica Dhawan · [15:37]

Erica:

I have a great table that says, what does executive presence look like digitally? And some tips for you is that there are some general biases that show up in a virtual world that are different. For example, name bias. If we get an email from Ian Smith versus Rabindra Subramanian, there is an instant reaction. If we are Indian, we may more likely be gravitating towards the Indian name. If we are British or American, maybe we gravitate more towards Ian. That’s just one example. Another example is a recent study showed that women that use multiple emojis or exclamations in corporate messaging compared to a man at any age that are using those emotive cues, women are more likely to be seen as incompetent, men are more likely to be seen at all ages as casual or friendly.

 

Erica’s Three Rules to Improving Your Digital Body Language · [15:59]

 

Erica:

These are just simple, new digital body language biases that emerge. So how do we foster inclusion and how do we all get better at this? The good news is that we can fight these biases and we can all be better at this. And I have sort of three rules around how to be better at digital body language. The first rule is what I like to say is reading carefully is the new listening. In today’s world, instead of just relying on our executive presence or our charisma, we have to understand that reading the signals of others, asking them thoughtful questions, actually reading their emails and what they ask for versus rushing to respond, shows people that we are listening and that we care.

 

“Writing or speaking clearly is the new empathy.” – Erica Dhawan · [19:41]

 

Erica:

The second key tip is what I like to say is writing or in speaking clearly is the new empathy. So instead of just having a loud voice or being tall, today really being maniacally clear. I like to say even an email’s visually showcasing your email because people read messages visually now, making sure your slides in that screen share in the Zoom meeting are really clear. Not just a laundry list, so that people can sense make. So think about your messages, almost like websites and getting to that headline at the top, giving people exactly what they need, whether it’s bold and underlying headings, that can simply allow you to get your message across and help people to actually feel empathy from you, because we can’t often feel that empathy behind the screen otherwise.

 

“A video or phone call is worth a thousand emails.” – Erica Dhawan · [17:25]

 

Erica:

And then the third best tip I want to share on this is what I like to say, a video or phone call is worth a thousand emails. So if you can, and we’re already talking about it, try to get those additional cues, audio cues, visual cues on video. It’s important obviously to send thoughtful emails in advance and to use those emails to actually prepare people, to have a more meaningful sales conversation. But if we’re not being thoughtful about it we’ll just get stuck in email flows and often lose engagement.

 

Will:

Have you come across or even read perhaps the book on writing well?

 

Erica:

Yes, I actually just was rereading it last week. Because as I’m deep in the throws of launching a book, writing to persuade is the key. And I think that now it’s just a skill. What salespeople often relied on in the past is still important, but I would argue that writing well matters even more now.

 

Will:

Yeah, I agree. So I’ll link on Writing Well in the show notes if anyone wants to pick it up. But that book really changed my paradigm with regards to communication in general, it tells you to just strip words from the page or the email, whatever it is that don’t need to be there. And when I first started writing posts on salesman.org and obviously been published all over the place now. I would almost write fancifully. I don’t think that’s a real word, I just made it up, kind of contradicting the point I’m making here. Well, I’d write and I’d use kind of $10 words when 2 cent words would have made more sense. And that really changed my perception of all of this. As soon as I started writing simply and started writing as basic as I could. I didn’t find that people thought I was oversimplifying things. I got more back from people because it sunk in. So with that said, on a page I feel like there’s rules that we can learn, there’s things that we can do, there’s strategies that we can put, buying that book is a great resource for this.

 

Powerful Virtual Sales Conversations: Improve Your Message Quality and Delivery · [19:30]

 

Will:

Digitally on a video call, is there anything that we can do over then the obvious of perhaps having a better microphone? So people could very literally hear us at a higher quality and they can understand our voice tonality and all that kind of stuff. Showing that we were in different places, some of that to begin with. Is there anything else that we can do to help our legibility when we’re talking kind of audio into a computer, out of a computer, into a headphone into someone’s brain?

 

Erica:

There are a few things that all of us can do to better get our message across in audio, in video, in the modern sales conversation. And before I share those, I’m going to use a story to help put the tips into practise. I was working with a large bank and there was a steering committee and there are four people on the steering committee. There’s a British woman in the UK, there is an American woman in New York, there is a team member in Sydney Australia, and there is a man, Javier, who is in Rio in Brazil. And during multiple monthly steering committee meetings, they would all get together to have conversations and make decisions. And Laney, who was a member, the New York team member of the global steering committee kept getting frustrated because she found like Javier was not engaging. He was not speaking up. She assumed he was just disinterested.

 

“We have to acknowledge our own biases of how we like to connect and understand how we can connect better with those that may be different from us.” – Erica Dhawan · [21:25]

 

Erica:

Finally, one day she got the courage to chat him privately on Zoom during the Zoom call to say, is everything okay? Do you have any thoughts on this? And from that, she immediately got a response in chat from Javier saying, I’m having such a hard time translating three different English accents. An American accent, a British accent, and an Australian accent at the same time. So this is just an example of the fact that we have to acknowledge our own biases of how we like to connect and understand how we can connect better with those that may be different from us. If we’re a man selling to women. If we’re a baby boomer selling to millennials, if we’re cross-cultural like the example I just shared. And I think this is a real great moment to check our own biases and understand that we have to have beautiful digital body language that is inclusive to be able to thrive in today’s sales marketplace.

 

“The new first impression is in the meeting invitation.” – Erika Dahwan · [22:19]

 

Erica:

So I want to give a couple of best practises here to help you around this. The first one is I like to say the meeting doesn’t start in the meeting. The first impression we all know research shows was the first, roughly seven seconds we met someone. Less than seven seconds. I think it was seven milliseconds that we met someone. We made an instant first impression. I like to say that the new first impression is in the meeting invitation. Did you have a clear subject line of the title of your meeting? Simple things like that can create intentionality. Did you have a clear agenda? Did you send out all the relevant information before? Did you maybe share a video that someone could watch to get a sense of it? I like to say create the Netflix or Hulu-like experience where people can learn about your product or service anytime, anywhere before you lecture at them during a Zoom call. And simple things like that pre-meeting can go a long way in speeding up that trust building during the conversation.

 

Erica:

Secondly, during the conversation, depending on how many people you have, you may be presenting to 10 people. You may be presenting to one person. And this is where it may depend on what to do, understand how you can engage them immediately in sharing with you. And try to be thoughtful around it. I would encourage you not to start with how’s the weather, how’s it over there. I mean, let’s be honest. They’re not as exciting questions. But to dive into and ask them what’s meaningful to you, or what does success look like for you.

 

Erica:

Actually shifting your questions to be a little more thoughtful can be helpful. And obviously if you’ve never met this person before, it’s important to have some icebreakers of breaking some barriers, but find something that’s a bit more authentic and different for you. And then during the meeting, make sure, especially if you’re presenting or pitching to a large group of people, maybe five or more individuals, actively use the chat tool. Say, I’m going to walk us through about six minutes of a conversation. And make sure people know where you’re going orally, but also visually through effective screen shares of slides.

 

“Having an agenda where people feel like they can participate can go a long way in driving engagement.” – Erica Dhawal · [24:06]

 

Erica:

And then say, I’d love to get your questions in the chat and then I’ll come back to them or I have multiple screens. But having an agenda where people feel like they can participate can go a long way in driving that engagement. And then I like to say, oh, instead of saying, what do you think? Or do you have any questions? Asking them targeted questions to start with. Even in my own keynotes, I never start with what questions do you have? I leave them with, what are your priorities? How can this idea help serve or this product or service helps serve your priorities. And when you ask them thoughtful questions, they’ll really be forced to share and give you feedback and think with you. And then you can move into more of that traditional Q and A. Those are just some examples, but again, some of these have already worked pre-pandemic, but maybe we weren’t as thoughtful about them as we can be now.

 

Will:

I think it goes beyond thoughtful as well. It’s just people’s understanding of the software and the tools. So I love the idea of chat, especially when you engaging with multiple people, because some people don’t want to talk over others. You might have individuals that are more shy or introverted, or however you want to frame it up, in the conversation. You perhaps have, especially if you’re in the boardroom setting, if you’re in sales, you might have an executive who’s going back and forth with the sales person, or maybe the end user actually has a few things to say, but they don’t want to step on their executives, their CEO’s toes. So a quick chat message that hopefully has been moderated by both the salesperson, perhaps running the meeting, but then maybe you’ve got someone technical who can feed questions back to the salesperson at the end.

 

Will:

I think that’s really valuable because five years ago, no one would have been able to do any of this because no one knows where the chat button is on any of these platforms. But now that we’re all using it so often, and there’s more virtual conferences, you’ve got all these tools and there’s more internal meetings that are going on on these tools as well as sales calls and things like that. I think more people are more understanding of it.

 

Erica Explains Why She Thinks Salesman.org is a Class Act in Digital Body Language · [25:52]

 

Will:

So I want to get onto, we’ll perhaps wrap up the show with self-awareness in a second. I’m going to put you on the spot slightly, Erica. Now this is a safe space, right? You can say whatever you want. You’re not going to offend me. When we talk about, or when you were talking about bringing people on board and first impressions, was there anything that I did and the team at salesman.org did, right or wrong with the onboarding that we did with you before this call itself? So feel free, if we have some work to do, let it reflect, feel free to kind of have a go at us or did we do an okay job here? How did we do?

 

Erica:

Well, I mean, you’re top class when it comes to digital body language. Let me give a few examples of why you are. The first thing is that in our immediate introduction, you had a Calendly where I could sign up for a slot instead of four or five back and forth emails, where if I was on the buyer side, I could get tired or be in the world of email fatigue and just give up. You gave me an easy way to set up a call with you. Secondly, you shared an FAQ link, which gave me an understanding of what was important to you. A simple link like that. That’s a one-stop shop. We don’t want five links. We want one link that will allow us to know how to prepare for that conversation can go a long way in driving better conversations and sales in our modern marketplace.

 

Erica:

The third thing you did is you sent me a reminder this morning, and that’s really important. We’re booking calls three, four weeks out, three, four months out. And so now actually having that immediate checkpoint, the email that from you came early this morning was perfect because it helped me set the agenda, reorient, know exactly what we wanted to focus on today and included all the relevant links. And the last thing is you are perfectly on time when we joined the call. Let’s be honest. I think that promptness matters and there is a bit more of impatience of individuals than we were face-to-face. We could be five minutes late to starting the sales conversation. Now I do think that valuing people visibly is valuing their time. And so showing your promptness will signal that presence and trust with someone else.

 

Will:

Love it, I appreciate that. The FAQ, I probably stole it from someone. I don’t think I was the first to do that right, to onboard someone onto a call. But the FAQ using frequently asked questions, anyone who’s familiar with the term, but it’s incredibly important if you’re doing sales demos. So you’re not just jumping on a sales call, you’re doing a demo.

 

Why You Need to Spark Curiosity and Build Credibility Before a Virtual Sales Meeting · [28:24]

 

Will:

You can tee someone up, you can give them a series of videos that if they’re super keen, they can watch before the demo itself. So when you get into the demo, you can then start your demo of, hey, what do you want me to focus on, what do you want us to drill down on, what’s stopping you from moving forward with this immediately. As opposed to, hi, my name is Bob, I’m going to run through this software demo, and then we’re going to suck it up. You’re going to turn your camera off halfway through because you get to go to the toilet and have a cup of tea, and I’m talking to no one. You can eliminate quite a lot of that by having great media and content before the call itself. So I appreciate that. I appreciate the feedback. Is there anything that we could have done better?

 

Erica:

And the one great thing is we can record these calls. So if people miss them, they can follow up. I had always been promoting, send a video pre the meeting, beforehand and design your conversation that’s live as a workshop, as a brainstorming session. And I think this is something that I even featured in my last book, Get Big Things Done, which came up a few years ago. But I think that now we’re just seeing the importance of it even more. And if you can’t do something perfect, just do a live, a video recording and send it to them in advance. Even if it’s personalised. That can go a long way in just building your credibility.

 

Will:

For sure. And this seems like a weird thing, right? Obviously, I think we’ve gone back and forth over email, but we’ve never met before. It can be awkward to sit down and it’s the wrong person sat in front of you and you don’t realise because you’ve not seen them or perhaps you’ve done your research on LinkedIn, wherever it is. But if you’re dealing with middle management in some enterprise company, maybe they don’t have an updated LinkedIn profile. Maybe you don’t have this and this. So for you to send a quick video was just so they can familiarise themselves with you and your voice and how you’re going to show up. That could be valuable.

 

Will:

And just on the beat on time side of things, I don’t allow myself not to be on time and for the audience and you probably sussed this out, we send a Skype meeting link five minutes before the start time of the show. And then I just sit there from that moment in time that the email goes over, just stare at the screen, waiting for the guests to join. So there is no chance that I can be late for the meeting because I’m literally there hosting it five minutes before. And if you don’t have that five minutes for an important meeting, then you doing probably all the things wrong. That’s the least of your worries.

 

Practical Steps Towards Boosting Your Self-Awareness in Virtual Meetings · [31:08]

 

Will:

So with that then, with that said, Erica, I feel like a lot of what we’re talking about here, it comes down to self-awareness as opposed to, we’ve got lots of practical things, but as opposed to old school body language stuff, it’d be, mirror the person you’re being with, sit next to them. As opposed to like, allow them to sit opposite you. Because they’ve got control of the influence of the big desk, this up hand, all that kind of stuff. Is self-awareness a key part to this? And is there anything that we can do to increase our levels of self-awareness before we go into an important meeting and get feedback that we’ve done it all wrong? What can we do to make sure that we’ve got this right before we experiment on a customer?

 

“Body language hasn’t been removed or isn’t absent, it’s been transformed in the modern marketplace.” – Erica Dhawan · [31:25]

 

Erica:

Yes. So I like to say that body language hasn’t been removed or isn’t absent, it’s transformed in the modern marketplace. And digital body language makes up much of the cues and signals we send. And self-awareness is really the critical piece of that. Are we being self-aware of the digital body language signals we’re sending? Are we making sure that we’re reading cues of others correctly versus getting caught up in our own biases? And I want to give you four key laws of digital body language that will help you improve your self-awareness. These are also in part two of my new book, Digital Body Language, where I go through them in a deeper dive. And I also have a little assessment in my book so that you can measure yourself as a salesperson around each of these four laws.

 

Erica Goes Through The Four Key Laws of Digital Body Language That Will Help you Improve Your Self-awareness · [31:53]

 

Erica:

The first law is what I like to say and I mentioned this before, value visibly. In the past, in the old school world of body language, value others visibly meant direct eye contact, head nod, that firm handshake in the room. Today valuing visibly is starting on time, ending on time, acknowledging introverts and extroverts, being thoughtful of what you said before the meeting and showing that radical recognition, giving credit where it’s due in writing and verbally.

 

“Self-awareness today is all about making sure we’re communicating thoughtfully.”  – Erica Dhawan · [32:40] 

 

Erica:

The second is communicating carefully. Self-awareness today is all about making sure we’re communicating thoughtfully. So I’ll give you an example. One of my clients, he sent a text message to his boss, Tom, that said, do you want to speak Wednesday or Thursday? And Tom’s response was, yes. And as I said earlier, reading carefully is the new listening and writing clearly is the new empathy. And there’s really no room to mistake this. We all give grace, but we’re one year into the pandemic. We have to re-imagine and modernise our skills.

 

Erica:

The third law is what I like to call collaborate competently. So competence in the sales conversation is not just about your charisma, your voice pitch, your height, how you use your hands, how you showcase the presentation. It’s about saying what you’ll do and doing what you’ll say. It’s about being thoughtful of including others across all of the different virtual channels. And it’s also about just remembering that what you may be sending may not be the same on the other side, and to take that extra level, to be curious of what people need. Re-imagining your conversation, not as a pitch, but as a brainstorming session.

 

Erica:

And then the fourth key law is what I like to call trust totally. And what that means is we just have to assume the best intent, we may not hear from buyers for weeks, for months, we may be dealing with sending messages again and again, having to follow up without feeling like a nag, but in today’s world we have to understand and give grace, give people the benefit of the doubt and use thoughtful followups as a way to get our message across.

 

Will:

I love it. I love it. And I’ll wrap up with, a lot of that goes back down to self-awareness, right? As you say all of this, two of those points are really poignantly sharing with one of the salesman.org we’ve got in our training programme, we have a community. And there’s one chap in there right at this moment. I’ll say this now, because this show is going to grow a few weeks after this conversation’s happening. So we’ll be able to track it down to who I’m talking about.

 

Will:

He’s very much like, I’ve sent these emails and no one’s replied. He feels burdened that people haven’t got back to him. So I asked him to share the messages and they were terrible. Now, obviously we can coach him to send better messages and that’s what we’re doing. But also his mindset of very little self-awareness, there’s very little self responsibility and our accountability for his actions. And that was the key training point. The message is that’s easy to change. You can read books on it. There’s tonnes of content on how to send a good sales email. But you’ve got to have the right mindset and self-awareness behind it to understand it, people are busy. People are getting spammed left, right and every which way at the moment, and everyone’s trying to jump on meetings, whether it’s virtual or in-person phone, whatever it is. And so that the key learning points for him was just that little bit of self-awareness.

 

Will:

And then the thought process of I’ll follow-up in a week, I’ll follow-up in a week. I’ve got no doubt, because he’s got a great product and a great kind of, the way he’s pitching it’s not bad at all. He’s going to have great success, but it’s just that self-awareness to understand what the buyers are going through right now and the transformation that they’re going through. We think we’re going through transformation. They’re getting transformed at even a faster pace than what we are because we’re doing the same thing over and over and every day. They’re seeing these transformations happen, one meeting, two meetings, three meetings and they’re seeing massive gaps in between each one. So we’ve got to have empathy for that, as opposed to, I think salespeople see it in a more gradual fade in process. So maybe we’re more climatized to it.

 

Erica Introduces Her Book and Her Five-Year Research Duration · [36:07] 

 

Will:

So what I’ve really taken away from this episode, Erica, is all the practical stuff, but self-awareness as well. Clearly if you’re speaking to someone who is from a different culture, doesn’t quite understand, English isn’t their first language, whatever it is, the burden is on us to take responsibility for that and to hopefully improve our ability to communicate and to really double down on. So with that, Erica I want you to tell us about the book. And also when you mention about the book, you mentioned earlier on how many years you’ve been researching this, tell us about that as well, because I think that’s critically important because there’s lots of books coming out that have similar titles and similar topics right now. But clearly yours is a far more in-depth research. You’ve been pondering on this for longer than perhaps some of the other content that’s coming out on this subject right now.

 

“Today we’re all immigrants to the new world of digital body language.” – Erica Dhawal · [37:20] 

 

Erica:

I like to say I’ve been a lifelong student of the world of body language and digital body language. I grew up in an immigrant household. My family’s from India. I grew up in Pennsylvania and I was a shy and introverted girl and struggled to find my voice. And it helped me develop a knack for body language and understanding cues and signals of what allowed people to get heard. And I think what I saw in the last 10 years through my research on collaboration was that today we’re all immigrants to the new world of digital body language. We don’t have a rule book. We’re all in a foreign world. And that really guided my passion over the last years to study digital body language. Well, before the pandemic and then the acceleration of it during the pandemic.

 

Erica:

And so my new book, Digital Body Language, how to build trust and connection, no matter the distance is out and available, you can get it anywhere. Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, in Indi, you name it. I hope you’ll order a copy and share it with your teams, share it with your clients and customers. Because I believe in this moment in time we can all reimagine how we work together, even when we’re apart and as we move back to being together again in the future.

 

Erica:

And I also have a special online community where you can get regular best practises around digital body language. If you go to my website at ericadhawan.com/digitalbodylanguage, what I include there is a free digital body language toolkit with best practises in video and phone calls and email that you can download, also a tool called end digital burnout, which will allow you to avoid just the dearth of being on the screen all the time and additional body language quiz, so you can assess your own style and compare that to others, which is just a great exercise so that you can be conscious of yourself, but also biases you may have on connecting with people different from you.

 

Will:

Well, I’ll link to all that in the short notes of this episode even over at salesman.org. I need to work on my communication here on the very podcast that we’re talking about, Erica. And with that I want to thank you again for joining us on the salesman podcast.

 

Erica:

Thank you so much.

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