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We really have only two choices: we can whine about how uncomfortable webcams make us, or we can embrace the technology and use it for our benefit.


Our ever-increasing virtual business world is making it harder than ever to be a sales professional. Gone are the simple days of calling a client and doing a deal over coffee. Now, not only can clients screen our calls, but they can send our emails to spam and reject our sales pitches without ever having to look us in the eyes.

So what is the 21st century sales professional to do? Well, nothing digital replaces good, old-fashioned salesmanship, but if you’re not getting on board the digital wave and employing some technology with your sales techniques, then you’re probably going to be drinking a lot of coffee all by yourself and not closing as many sales as you could.

Meet the Webcam

One of the biggest technological breakthroughs that can help sales professionals succeed digitally is the webcam. I know, nobody really likes the “webcam” effect. The camera is sometimes a little grainy and depending on your connection speed, the audio and video can get garbled while the connection buffers.

And I doubt even Oscar-winning actors really enjoy seeing and hearing themselves on video. And that’s in something professionally edited to make them look good, not the “raw” live feed a webcam provides.

We really have only two choices: we can whine about how uncomfortable webcams make us, or we can embrace the technology and use it for our benefit.

We know that communication happens best when we can see the other person in real time and pick up the thousand subtle verbal, non-verbal and physical cues that help us understand others. That’s why all this technology will never truly replace face-to-face sales calls.

The telephone can help when there’s distance to be crossed, but we then eliminate the numerous visual cues that help us read the customer and to communicate more effectively. Webcams, just like sitting across a table from the customer, allow us to both see and hear the other person.

Practice to Get Past Discomfort

The discomfort with using webcams isn’t something just to be casually dismissed. Anything that makes a sales professional uncomfortable can be a potential impediment to a sale. Uncomfortable salespeople just simply aren’t that effective.

But remember when you were first starting out? Few sales professionals are “naturals” who take to talking to complete strangers, cold-calling, or any of the other “risky” interpersonal communication required of good sales professionals. The vast majority have to grow into those skills.

They learn to grow comfortable talking to customers in person and on the phone. It takes time and practice, and good salespeople (and their managers) invest in that to become successful.

The webcam isn’t any different, and for sales professionals who want to be successful in today’s virtual market, it’s a must-have skill to develop. The sooner you progress past the discomfort, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits of more effective communication.

One way to start is to use webcams internally. Conduct sales meetings or trainings using webcams. The first few times it will feel uncomfortable and weird, but eventually that will dissipate and it will become normal.

Once you reach a comfort level, you can then offer to use it with your customers. About two years ago, I began setting each appointment by asking, “do you want to talk by phone or webcam?”

Virtual Selling is Here to Stay

While it was a rarity two years ago, over a third of my sales calls now are by webcam. Remember, many of your customers are already using these tools and you need to appear at least as technology-literate as they are or you’ll lose credibility.

Technology changes, but really only the modality of how we connect with and communicate to our customers. You owe it to them and yourself to get comfortable with webcam technology to provide the best sales experience possible.


The Virtual Selling Skills Master Class teaches your sellers exactly how to succeed in a virtual world. Learn More.

About the author

Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel is the co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute and the author of many books,…

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