Secret to Negotiating When You Can’t Meet Face to Face

In today’s digital world, where the average U.S. Internet user spends an average of 32 hours online every month, sales professionals, contract negotiators and finance experts are meeting more and more online. Here at PGi, we’ve hosted over one billion people in over 200 million online meetings in the past five years alone. It’s no secret that face-to-face meetings are the best for negotiating deals, contracts and partnerships, but how do you negotiate with people who want to meet online or via conference call? Here’s the secret to negotiating when you can’t meet face to face.

Get prospects, customers and contacts on video.

The authors of Better Business Meetings suggest that over 50% of meetings are a waste of time. And with most professionals attending 61 meetings per month, over 30 meetings are a waste of negotiation time and money. Unproductive conference calls, with multitasking, audio-only communication and technical problems, draw out the negotiation process, stretching the average time-to-close past the point of profitability. There is hope for the new era of sales reps and contract negotiators. That’s online face-to-face video.

In his work “Silent Messages,” Dr. Albert Mehrabian concluded that text-only communication (contract proposals, email, text messages) only capture 7% of nonverbal cues, voice-only communication (voice mail, conference calls, phone calls) 45% and face-to-face meetings capture 100 percent of all communication cues.

Seasoned negotiators know that more goes into a successful negotiation than just the numbers. Facial expressions, tone of voice and body language are vital to closing the deal and getting the win. Without the ability to meet in real-time, face-to-face, nonverbal communication is nonexistent. That is the reason why we’ve seen a surge in the use of peer-to-peer video conferencing over the past decade.

With telecommuting and remote work on the rise, companies are seeing huge gains in productivity, worker satisfaction and cost savings associated with business travel. That said, remote work is the bane of negotiations, putting successful negotiators on the defensive without the necessary non-verbal cues to close the deal successfully and quickly. By utilizing video conferencing solutions, negotiators finally have the edge, giving them access to the non-verbal communication necessary for reading your prospect and meeting potential customers, partners and competitors in their comfort zone online.

The secrets to closing a video negotiation

  • Choose a video conferencing solution that is seamless to enter with minimal information required for log-in. Like all negotiations, it’s vital that your prospect is positive about the meeting and receptive to your offer. If you make it painful for them to enter the video meeting, with annoying downloads, complicated log-ins and too much information asked up front, you’re going to put them on edge before they even hear your proposal. Try iMeet by PGi: no guest downloads, seamless audio integration and social media one-click log-in options.
  • Get your prospect to turn on their video camera. Seventy-nine percent of laptops have webcams, but encouraging your prospect to actually turn them on is another story. Like all other successful negotiations, “ask for the deal.” Before the video meetings, confirm they do have a webcam; if they don’t, send them one in advance. It’ll definitely be worth the cost.
  • Ask open-ended questions and carefully watch their facial expressions to confirm the non-verbal messages.
  • Use multimedia assets to keep the prospect engaged in the meeting—and to show off the power of your products and services. The best video conferencing solutions have the ability to enable screen share, video plays and document sharing. Use your beautiful corporate assets and the actual proposal documents themselves to mimic face-to-face presentations.
  • Get them to sign the deal right in the meeting. Successful negotiators know that you have to close the deal while the prospect is excited; the less time they have to think about it, the more likely they are to sign. Because you can upload the contract into the video meeting’s digital file cabinet, get your prospect to sign on the dotted line right then and there. Have them download the contract right in the room, print and sign it on their end, and then upload it right back into your video meeting room.

What secrets have you used to negotiate successfully using modern remote work technology? Has video conferencing worked for you in the best? Any suggestions on what non-verbal cues to look for in a webcam-style face-to-face meeting?

Download the free tip sheet: Top 10 Sales Tips to Close More Deals in 2013.


Related Posts:

The Value of Non-Verbal Communication

7 non-verbal behaviors that are killing your career

What nonverbal messages do you send during virtual meetings?

About Blakely T.

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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