A two-part interview with video and social selling expert Doug Lehman.
Here in part one, Doug reveals his secrets for making powerful sales videos, even if you’re on a shoestring budget.
How did you get first get into video?
My background is about 20 years of sales and product training experience. I’ve been in inside and outside sales, carried a bag, been on quota, worked for companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems.
About three years ago I decided to go out on my own and be a brand ambassador and independent sales rep for hire, leveraging all my product training and sales skills.
So I built a website, and about eight months in, I added a video to my site. And I found out people were paying more attention to the video than anything else. So I kept adding more video, and I realized that salespeople want to use video to help sell.
Now video is my channel of choice. I’m passionate about three things: social media, video and sales.
What makes video so attractive as a social selling channel?
Video is a great platform to establish social proof. It’s more engaging, more compelling and it adds more credibility than other social tools.
I like to read and I like to write, but having a video that tells your story is a powerful asset.
How did you learn to do video?
I’m self taught. I didn’t come from a video production background. I picked up a video camera a few years ago – a flip camera – and I went to every online webinar I could. I read books, went to bootcamps, started doing video book reviews, and just read everything I could about video.
Then I actually hired a videographer to do my video, and I found that was quite costly. So I learned how to do it myself. I’m self-taught and still learning.
Where does video work best in the sales cycle?
I think it hits all phases. In the sales process, it’s about building rapport.
On the front end, having a video about your business or a testimonial video from a client is extremely powerful; it establishes advanced credibility and social proof. People are going to check you out on the front end, so I think it’s huge.
Plus, it’s a very shareable platform. If you’re not reaching the right decision-maker, it’s easy for them to share with the right person. Video brings that face to face element, it’s more humanizing on all levels of customer or client engagement.
In sales, you want to keep things moving. If you’re not on their radar, you want to keep moving to your next prospect. So if you can add more clarity in your video presentation, and hit the key points of your value proposition, I believe video expedites the sales cycle.
Who should be in the video?
Good question. The best person is someone who can communicate potential value to the customer. You’ve got to reflect what’s in it for the viewer: What do they gain out of watching the video?
You could have your brand manager do it – someone who knows the product or service – or you could have your CEO do it or a customer service rep. I’ve seen all three of those.
If you’re doing a video on your product and service offerings, you need someone on the branding team or the marketing side.
If you just want a company overview, more of a rapport-building type video, it might be an executive.
It goes back to your objective.
How about salespeople?
Absolutely. For the individual salesperson, video email is big.
How much does video cost?
As much or as little as you want. You can hire a video production company, get spokesmodels, shoot 3D and the whole nine yards… or you can start with an iphone.
How long does it take to shoot a two-minute video?
It really depends on what we’re working with. Figure about two hours to set up and shoot and another few hours of editing.
What’s the best location to use for a business video?
At your office is fine, unless you are visually showing your product or service.
If you’re doing a product training video, you want to demo the product. People like to be shown visually what you’re doing and not just talk about it.
Or if you want to film in front of a green screen, we can film anywhere you want to be. Behind you, everything is about visually representing your brand, having a visual graphic of what you do or a logo – I think it’s important to have your logo on your video.
What else do we need?
The main thing is knowing what you need to say and how to say it.
Also, now that you’ve got your video, now what?
How are you using it with your target audience? Are you putting the social in your video? How are you using SEO? How are you positioning your video through your social networks and circle of influence?
You have video, but that’s only part of it. You’ve got to build content and build awareness. That’s where the social channels come into play.
Why aren’t more companies using video for social selling?
Part of it is people think it’s more complicated than it really is. Also, they think it costs too much. But the truth is you can shoot video with an iPhone or a tablet or an Android. Everything is video-ready now, and the technology on those phones is better than the big cameras we had a few years ago.
Like anything else, it’s about practice. Practice with the webcam on your computer doing your own video takes. Once you get your rhythm and once you have a story, then it gets a lot easier. It’s like learning how to ride a bicycle; it’s just putting the time in.
You have to overcome the barriers of “I don’t look good on camera”.
You don’t have to be on camera to do video or get the benefits of video. You could show pictures of your products or services in a slide show and tag it with titles, keywords and descriptions, and get exposure potentially on the first page of Google, as opposed to doing nothing.
Or grab a customer and do a testimonial.
Or if you have a factory, and you want to show the workmanship of how your products are made… anything with a storytelling element.
You don’t necessarily have to be in front of the camera to get the benefits of video.
As a sales rep, you want to be able to put a name with a face, so start off with a slideshow with a voiceover. I started out with slides and Windows Movie Maker and a voiceover. It was real simplistic, but it’s still a video. It’s just not you physically in the video. So start off small and practice.
Think about when you’re meeting with clients and customers and you’re speaking with them. Think of the camera as your target audience. You don’t want to talk AT people, you want to talk WITH people. Like you’re having a drink at the bar. That’s the biggest barrier, people need to relax and be human.
You’ve got to start somewhere. I think that’s a good first step. By turning a camera on and filming yourself like you’re talking to a customer, you’ll get past that barrier.
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