Adding video to sales proposals only works if the videos are short and professional

YouTube logosMany sales professionals use video as a means of informing potential customers about their products and services. However, research shows that the vast majority of these videos do not get watched.

They are often too long, too boring and too clearly in the self-interests of the company. On top of this, you don’t have to go far to find examples of sales videos which are poorly produced, look like they have been done by amateurs and thereby put people off buying whatever is on offer.

There is another problem too. You cannot possibly explain everything you need to say in a short video. Whatever you are selling, your customers demand deep and detailed information. If you did that in a video it would be far too long and would lack engagement.

Even so, videos are highly useful. They are visual, they connect people emotionally to the salesperson who is presenting them and they allow people to get a quick understanding of what’s on offer. As such, though, videos do not help tie-up all the loose ends in the customer’s mind. That’s why you need text.

A great example of combining videos with text

PDF Report CoverHere’s an excellent example of combining videos with text to get the best of both worlds. You will see that there are several short videos provided by key account management expert, David Ventura. In addition to the highly professional videos, there is an extensive amount of text explaining “The Keys to Key Account Management” from KAMGURU.

These two things work in combination. The short videos help potential clients connect emotionally to the salesperson. The text enables the reader to understand what is on offer and to see if it is the right thing for them.

This method of combining video with text is an excellent example of how to get the best out of video. Just having video on its own is not enough to communicate all the messages you need. But just having text on its own means that clients cannot connect with the individual salesperson on a personal basis. Putting the two elements together in one document means you get the best of both worlds.

How to combine video with text

The first step is to produce short, quality videos. The videos from David Ventura – who is a thought-provoking speaker – show they are well-scripted and rehearsed. They are shot in front of a “green screen” with background images and text overlaid in production. It all takes time, but your customers would expect no less.

Once you have your videos you can add them to your document in a variety of ways depending upon which program you are using. If you use Microsoft Word to create the document just go to the “Insert” menu and add a video from YouTube. If you then create a PDF from your Word document it will automatically add the relevant link for you.

If you already have a PDF document you can add video to it. Adobe Acrobat can do this directly – the instructions are here. But most other PDF creation programs can achieve the same thing.

An alternative method is to create images of your videos using screenshot software, then add those pictures to your document, linking them to wherever the video is stored online.

Adding video to your documents is simple, it enhances your communication and allows potential clients to connect with the salesperson on an individual basis. There’s a lot going for it…!

For more information about David Ventura, see

Recruiting New Salespeople

New sales people joining your organisation are VIP’s. This acronym is a good way of remembering how advertisements should be worded.

  • V – visibility. Job adverts need to be highly visible and fly off the page/screen. Sometimes adverts look good when they are sketched out but often struggle for visibility and get lost when placed alongside many others on the page. Make good use of logos, colour, layout, type style and themes.
  • I – identity.  Adverts need to clearly identify who you are, what you do and what your business is famous for – being the industry leader, for example. You need to clearly identify what the job is and what the job isn’t.
  • P – promise. The advert should contain a promise and some WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) comments. This could be money, challenge, job satisfaction, responsibility, promotion prospects and so on.
  • S – simplicity. Use everyday language that people will instantly understand. The advert should clearly explain what qualifications or experience you are looking for and how the applicant should apply.

Make the job as easy as possible to apply for but as difficult as possible to win.

Moving on to the next stages of the recruitment process here are a number of practical tips to remember:

  1. Try not to interview the CV – it is an easy mistake to make. Don’t say to yourself “I know why he probably left that job”. Keep an open mind. When looking at CVs and application forms ask yourself “What are the good reasons why I should see this person?
  2. Allow enough preparation time – including time between each interview to collect your thoughts.
  3. Get the applicant to do most of the talking. Create the right environment. The main purpose of the interview is to establish if the applicant has what our company needs – this is difficult to achieve if you are doing most of the talking
  4. Avoid “gut feel interviews”. Some managers say “I know within 30 seconds if someone is right for us!” Normally these managers then spend the next thirty months regretting the instincts of their stomachs! Interviews should establish the applicant’s performance abilities before looking at their personality. So how on earth could you assess someone’s performance ability in the “first 30 seconds”?
  5. Don’t ask questions that can be interpreted quickly to produce the “interview answer” The examples below are all dreadful but, sadly, are real:
    • I see that your CV has been professionally produced – does this mean that you are putting yourself about on the job market?
    • Is this a spur of the moment decision for you?
    • We are looking for people that don’t mind working during some weekends – how would that affect you?
    • Would you say that you are an adaptable sort of person?
  6. Don’t look for a mirror-image of yourself e.g. “There is something about him that reminds me of me!”
  7. Don’t take the best of a bad bunch – it will damage your business. Try not to compare applicants to each other – compare the applicant to the KASH Profile for the job – the knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits needed to do the job.
  8. Stay in control and don’t get distracted or defensive if the applicant tries to gain control by using provocative questions like “Is your company financially stable?” or “I want to work for a people-organisation so could I just ask you what training would I receive?” Answer their questions at the appropriate time – for you.Be aware of personal prejudices. We all have them! What are yours? Do you believe that women will never succeed as Managers? Do you think that anyone over 55 is past it? Perhaps people with red hair are fiery? Maybe fat people are lazy? Or do you believe that all Celtic supporters are bad people?
  9. Be aware of personal prejudices. We all have them! What are yours? Do you believe that women will never succeed as Managers? Do you think that anyone over 55 is past it? Perhaps people with red hair are fiery? Maybe fat people are lazy? Or do you believe that all Celtic supporters are bad people?
  10. Don’t make assumptions – check out the references and tie up all of the loose ends.

“Many things done at the time of firing should have been done at the time of hiring”

Here are some excellent open-ended interview questions.

Background to the interview

  • What has prompted you to look for a job?
  • What appealed to you about our advertisement?
  • How much do you know about us?
  • What is your understanding of the job advertised?
  • What do you see as the main responsibilities of the job you’ve applied for?

Present job/situation

  • What is a typical working month for you?
  • What do you enjoy doing the most?
  • What have been your greatest achievements?
  • What don’t you like doing?
  • What experiences in your job wouldn’t you repeat?
  • How would your staff and your boss describe you?

The job advertised

  • What strengths would you bring to us?
  • What would your “weak spot” be?
  • How would you approach your first three months?
  • What training would you need to get started?
  • How would I, as your Manager, get the best out of you?
  • Who was the best Manager you worked for and why?
  • Who was the worst and why?
  • How should I measure you at the end of the first year?
  • How would you like to see your career develop?

The “real” person

  • What motivates you?
  • What does life outside work mean for you?
  • What’s been your greatest mistake in life so far?
  • Who do you admire in public life?
  • What would you do if you won the Lottery?
  • If Hollywood was to make a film of your life in the future what would you want them to call it?
  • What else do I need to know about you?
  • If I had to write down a sentence to remember you by what would you want me to write?

Employ an attitude that can acquire new skills.

Don’t employ skills in the hope that they can acquire a new attitude ………….. because they can’t!

There is no such thing as B2B or B2C

Go to any business meeting these days and talk about Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be met with a familiar cry: “Aha,”, says the hapless accountant, lawyer or consultant to you, “that’s all very well for consumer businesses, but how can it help those of us in the B2B sector?” It is special pleading, suggesting that there is something very different about being in “business to business” that sets you apart from “business to consumer“. These people ask you for “B2B” examples of the success of social media, taunting you that the only real success has been found in the “B2C sector”. “Aha, got you,” they seem to be saying under their breath.

The fact of the matter is – and, be warned, this is really difficult for people who reckon they are in the B2B sector – there is no such thing as either B2B or B2C. It is a false distinction.

B2B is the same as B2C

When I get told that B2B is special I simply ask: “Who buys your stuff? Is it a machine? Is it a business? Or is it a person?”. Often people stumble out a reply saying, “well obviously it is a person,” then there’s a pause and they add “but they are in a business”. This last bit is simply the justification for their thought that B2B exists.

So, I pursue my line of enquiry, rather detective-like. “Which businesses then, give you most of your business? Which companies do you sell most to?” People are usually able to say who their best clients are. Then I ask, “And do you have good relationships with the people in that business?” Naturally, the answer is yes.

Then I ask them to think about the businesses they do little business with. I ask them to consider the personal relationships they have in those firms. “Well, I don’t really know anyone there,” is the usual reply. Then it slowly dawns: the “businesses” with which a company has the best personal relationships are the ones which generate the most cash. In other words, you are not selling to a business, but to a person – often a friend.

Asking people in a B2B environment about who they do business with always reveals this fact: most business is done with individuals in a company with whom a good, solid personal relationship exists. Ask any B2B owner if relationships are not important to their sales and they will look at you like you’ve just arrived from the planet Zog.

B2C is the same as B2B

In the “B2C” sector companies, such as retailers know this. They know that each purchase is a one-on-one experience. They are selling to you the individual, whether you are buying a bottle of fizzy pop or a new dining room suite. They focus on selling to individuals, to people – they just call them “consumers” in order to make it sound much more fancy than it is.

The truth is – whether you are selling to businesses or to consumers – it all comes down to relationships. It is all, ultimately person to person business – P2P.

What this means is that “B2C” companies are merely those which concentrate on personal selling. “B2B” firms are often not focusing on the person-to-person nature of their business enough. Once they do, the difference between them and a “B2C” company gets eroded.

Whatever business you are in your buyers make the same purchasing decisions. Whether it is a bottle of fizzy pop or a multi-million-pound mega deal, the brain processes are the same (and ultimately emotionally driven). The buyers do not divide themselves into “B2B” or “B2C” – to them they are just a person buying something. When B2B companies realise they are just a person selling something they will then be able to connect – P2P – using all the wonders of the online world.

Social media may be dominated by “B2C” examples, but that’s only because they are one-step ahead of most “B2B” firms in realising that they are selling to individuals. Social media is P2P – when you focus on being a P2P business instead of a B2B one, that’s when it will work for you.

Ten powerful sales pitching tips


Think very carefully about exactly what want the client (or potential client) to say, feel, believe or do as a result of your sales pitch.  What are the specific results you want to achieve?  What is the next action that you want the client to take after your sales pitch?


When designing your sales pitch always start with the client and not by talking about you and your products and services. Start by demonstrating that you understand the client’s aims and objectives.


A powerful pitch structure is:
Client’s aims / objectives
Client’s needs / problems (Where they are now)
Client’s success criteria (Where they want to be
How you can help the client move from where they are now to where they want to be.
Case studies / testimonials about how you have done this for other clients
Investment required from them.
Suggested action / implementation plan.


Does your pitch answer they questions:
1) Why should the client buy from you?
2) Why should the client only buy from you?  What are your points of differentiation?
3) What is the most important thing you want the client to remember about you?


Less is more!  Keep your pitch as short and punchy as possible.
Too many sales pitches are too long, too self-indulgent and too boring.


What is your main message – the most important thing you want to client to remember?

Repeat this three times during your pitch.

What are your three key points?  If you include any more than three then the client is likely to forget.

What facts do you have to back up what you claim?


Do you have a story about how you have helped another client (preferably as similar to the client you are pitching to) to achieve the results they wanted?

Introduce the client character, describe the problems they were experiencing, show how you provided the solution they needed and then describe the results they achieved.


Can you create curiosity right at the start of your sales pitch?  A curious client is very attentive and receptive. One method you can use to create curiosity is to tell them some of the things that you are going to reveal during the sales pitch and then to tell the client about these at different stages as the sales pitch progresses.

For example, “As we progress I am going to show you three tried and tested and proven ways that we can deliver exactly the results you are looking for and provide you with rock-solid evidence of our capability.”


Provide clarity and contrast about the difference the client will experience as a result of working with you or from buying your product and service.  Make it very clear and specific.


A confused client never buys. Limit choice if you want them to make a decision. Provide and clear choice and next action and give the client something to buy.

Are You Falling Victim to these Five Sales Traps?

Have you ever dug a big, deep hole and then been stupid enough to fall into it? Countless people unwittingly dig fatal sales traps for themselves that kill off any chance of a sale being made.  Five of the most common traps that you must avoid if you want to sell more of your products and services are:

1) Thinking about the sale too much
When you are in the selling process you must stop thinking about the sale.  Once you have set your sales objective for your call put it out of your mind and concentrate on the customer and what they want.  Get the dollar signs out of your eyes, forget your objective and focus on the most important person – the customer. Help them to get what they need and the sale will take care of itself.

2) Failing to probe
If you truly want to help the customer then you must probe their needs thoroughly. Failing to ask enough questions and failing to clarify customer’s requirements leads to sales proposals that are off target.  If your proposal doesn’t meet the customer’s specific needs, your chances of success are slim.

3) Negotiating before selling
Selling is convincing someone to purchase your product or service. Negotiation is agreeing on what terms the purchase will take place.  If you start negotiating before you have followed the correct selling process then you are, quite literally, selling yourself short.  If the customer does not fully appreciate how much you can help them then they are unlikely to be prepared to pay what you ask.  Sell first, negotiate second.  If you sell well then you may not need to negotiate at all.

4) Price dropping
Many customers, particularly trained buyers, will always tell you that your price is “too expensive”. Many salespeople immediately drop their price (and cut their profits) in an attempt to close the sale.  This only encourages the customer to ask for further price cuts.  One of the many counters to “It’s too expensive” is, “you are absolutely right, it’s not cheap.  Would you like to know why?” And then re-commence selling the benefits of your product or service to justify your price.

5) Failing to follow up
A sale isn’t a sale until the money is in the bank.  Failure to do what you say you are going to do will lose you more sales than anything else.  Always do what you promised to do, make sure the customer gets what they want, and make sure they pay you for it. The selling process is far from over when the customer says ‘Yes’. Follow through and make sure you don’t lose the sale through poor customer service.

Why Salespeople Don’t Make Good Negotiators

Do you think that sales people are as effective at negotiating as the procurement professionals they are facing across the buying table?  I’ve got some bad news for you.

In the course of my work as a speaker, consultant and corporate trainer in the areas of sales and negotiation I have spent increasing amounts of time working the “other side” of the buying table.

Over the last few years, I have trained both sales professionals and procurement professionals in approximately equal numbers to negotiate.

And I have come to a disturbing conclusion – in the majority of cases, salespeople just aren’t as good at negotiating as they need to be.  As this concerning reality became increasingly apparent, I spent much time and thought working out why this is the case and what can be done about it. My conclusions are as follows:

At an early stage in their career, sales people are usually told to “keep the customer happy”.  They have been taught that happy customers are good customers and will go out of their way to placate unhappy customers.   Professional buyers know this and will deliberately make salespeople uncomfortable by appearing to be unhappy as a way of tipping the power balance in their favour.

In addition selling and negotiating are two distinct skill sets.  Although selling and negotiating are inextricably linked there are distinct differences:

In selling we are attempting to persuade, convince, enthuse, justify and explain.  By contrast in negotiation we are stating our position, considering, making and weighing proposals and making demands for what we want.

In the majority of cases, sales people are far less comfortable with negotiating than buyers are.   If salespeople receive sales training the majority of the time will be spent on the process of selling and very much less time (if any at all) will be spent on the process of negotiating.  Buyers on the other hand will usually only receive training in negotiation.  Therefore when it comes to the negotiation stage of the sales process buyers have the advantage.

Buyers will attempt to short cut the sales stage and pull the salesperson out of their selling comfort zone and into their negotiating discomfort zone.  The experienced buyer will increase the levels of discomfort as much as possible using psychological ploys and tactics.  The uncomfortable salesperson will often pay their way out of discomfort in the form of (at best) some form of financial concession or (at worst) a non-reciprocated give-away.  They will literally pay their way out of discomfort with their employer’s profit margin.

For salespeople to become more effective negotiators, they need to recognise this and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable!

Having spent countless hours running realistic and demanding negotiation simulations, I have often seen the salesperson’s selling comfort zone once again rearing its ugly head in terms of negotiation behaviour.  Salespeople will tend to do far too much information giving in the negotiation, driven by their predilection for persuading and selling.  In doing so, they miss out on gathering the necessary information that would enable them to make effective negotiation proposals.  They spend far too much time thinking about things from their perspective and not enough time where their focus should be – getting inside the buyer’s head, understanding things from the buyer’s perspective.  Professional buyers will tend to exhibit higher levels of information gathering, giving them far more knowledge and information that they can the use to their advantage.  In negotiation knowledge is power.

To successfully negotiate you need to understand – really understand – what the other person wants to achieve.  When you fully understand this, you can create a deal that meets the needs of both sides.  If you fail to gather enough information (as sales people frequently do) your chances of securing a profitable deal are very limited.  Salespeople need to move their own agenda and objectives from the front of their mind to the back of their mind.  The buyer’s needs and priorities need to be in the front of the sales person’s mind, and they usually are not.

If this situation continues, sales professionals are going to continue to be taken advantage of by the procurement professionals they encounter.  The sales profession must put more far more emphasis than it currently does on equipping sales people to be more confident and capable negotiators.