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Selling With Video Guide: Cold is Cool (When Video’s in the Mix)

15 April 2021

If there’s any doubt regarding video’s popularity, just look at one of today’s fastest-growing social media platforms, TikTok.

Launched in 2016, the video-centric platform now has 800 million active users (to date and counting). 90 percent of TikTok users access the app daily and spend, on average, 52 minutes a day consuming video content, from dance challenges to memes to kombucha sampling.

Stay-at-home orders and event cancellations due to the global pandemic have only turned up the volume on our video consumption habits. 

The COVID-19 crisis has propelled Instagram Live viewership figures to new heights. 

Between February and March, the number of people tuning in for live broadcasts by celebs such as John Legend and Justin Bieber rose by 70 percent.

More than 800 million people now watch live video daily across Instagram and Facebook, further proving that people of every nationality, age, and background are really (and I mean really) into video. 

With video playing an increasingly important role in our personal lives, it’s only logical that the phenomenon is bleeding into our work lives. 

Influencers have proven to us that they can make a killing posting videos about their life. 

People connect with them, follow, and can be driven to action by a complete stranger online. 

It’s making sales folks like myself wake up to the way we think about the products we sell and approach our prospective “audience” (target customers). 

Just like TikTok celebs, we’re influencers for our business. Employees need to build a strong personal brand in order for people to want to connect. 

Video is the perfect medium to establish a connection. 

Now let me tell you how I’m using personal video as a way to connect with my leads on LinkedIn and turn cold into cool. 

Hopefully, there are some ideas and lessons in here that you can apply to your sales practice. Let’s go! 

Note: Use Leadfeeder to see which companies been surfing your site, then start connecting on LinkedIn. Try our 14-day free trial.

First, ask yourself, “Would I want to meet me?”

They always say in sales that you should put yourself in your prospect’s shoes.

So, before you fire up your camera and start sending videos off to prospects on LinkedIn, my first piece of advice would be to take a critical look at your own profile.

If you were on the receiving end of your prospecting, are you someone people would say yes to?

Working in the sales industry and working at Vidyard specifically, I’ve come to recognize that to do successful prospecting on LinkedIn, you must first invest in building your personal brand on the platform.

If I send a cold LinkedIn message or personal video to someone, they're going to check me out before they take the next step, right?

They’ll ask themselves, “Who’s Sandra?”  And, “What’s Vidyard?”

They’ll then go to my profile and if nothing appeals to them the Buck. Stops. There.

There’s really nothing more frustrating than being prospected, then, when you go to check out the person’s profile, there’s nothing there. 

You’re pitching me, but I don’t know what you do, or who you are. Don’t ghost me for goodness sakes.  

So on my LinkedIn profile, I give my prospects a little window so they can see who they're connecting with and why they should care.

Sandra S. LinkedIn profile from Vidyard

Build a kick-ass profile

Take time to do it properly, folks. Please use a professional photo that’s in line with your personal brand. It doesn’t have to be stuffy but it shouldn’t be a selfie.

Keep that for Instagram or TikTok.

At Vidyard we have this really cool spray-painted wall in our main lobby, so we often use that for our headshot backdrop. It’s fun, exciting, and reflective of our vibe, but still professional and presentable.

I also incorporate a timeline graphic on LinkedIn that is Vidyard branded with our cute little V-Bot mascot. It’s fun and well put together.

Then, stay informed, active, and visible

I make a point of staying active on the platform. To be successful in building a personal brand on LinkedIn you should be caring and feeding your profile and working on engagement daily.

For instance, I spend time commenting on people’s posts—especially individuals who are top salespeople or thought leaders who are sharing useful and insightful information.

In addition to keeping up with people’s posts, I post about my own organization, sharing with my connections exciting things that are happening with the business.

If I’m selling our company and its services to someone, I need them to see that I’m totally on top of everything that’s new and exciting happening at Vidyard.

I’m also working on incorporating personal video into my LinkedIn posts.

After all, it’s the product I’m selling!  But I’m finding as I create this content, there’s a distinct difference between a personal video used for prospecting and one for LinkedIn.

The latter is more thought leadership-focused, and you have to always remember it's posted for the whole world to see. 

Other tricks up my LinkedIn sleeve include using polls. They are a great way to get people engaged. I also ask questions. I find people on LinkedIn really like sharing that type of content.

Recently I put up a post that had about 40 people engage directly with it, but when I looked at the analytics, it was actually viewed by 1350 people. That’s huge!

I’m blessed to have a marketing team that turns out really valuable content. If you are also so lucky, use it. It can be a goldmine of content to raid for your LinkedIn posts and it’s always on-brand. Thought leadership happens at the personal and the company level.

Ready, set...prospect

Phew. Now you're ready to prospect.

Wait. Not quite yet. The first thing you do before reaching out to someone is to do your research. You should follow them on LinkedIn, especially if it is someone really important like a decision-maker.

You want to know what they have to say because that’s going to guide you in your approach to that person and make them feel like you’ve paid attention and know what you are talking about.

I also pay attention to their profile and spend time learning about them before attempting an outreach so I can engage in thoughtful commentary.

Pro tip: always include a message when you reach out to connect with someone. Sometimes I’ll even use personal video when asking for that connection.

Here’s an example:

Example LinkedIn message for using video

From here, prospecting can go a couple of ways.

If I have a person’s email, I will do my cold prospecting there using personal video, and then as a second step, I’ll connect with them on LinkedIn and reference the video sent through email.

I consider this a warm(er)(ish) connection because I’ve already established that first touchpoint. I’ll usually say something like:

“Hey June, I sent an email to you on XYZ day” (side note, because Vidyard has analytics I’ll know if she viewed it or not and we go from there)...

If I’m connecting with a prospect for the first time on LinkedIn I consider this a colder (brrr) attempt because there’s been no initial touchpoint.

So I’ll use personal video to warm things up. See an example LinkedIn sequence below:

Example message from Sandra on LinkedIn Example of using video in a LinkedIn message to a prospect

Lead with value

Sorry to break the news, but if you are not leading with a value prop or giving your prospect value based on their role, you're probably not going to make a successful connection.

If you haven’t heard of him before, check out Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why.

Graph showing how to lead with value in sales

Keep it short and simple

People have short attention spans and again, they don’t know you from Adam, so that first message needs to be short and simple.

If I’m sending a personal video via email or LinkedIn message I’ll make it about a minute, maybe a minute and a half at most.

But there’s nothing like a 30-second to a minute punchy video that can make a prospect go, “Ok, she knows what she’s talking about. Let’s connect.”

If I send out ten messages without a personal video, I’ll probably be lucky to get a response at all.

But if I include a personal video in that LinkedIn message, typically I’ll get one connection. That may seem like a small number but it all depends on what your personal KPIs look like.

If I want five people to connect with me, then I need to send out 50 videos that day. Not all may be personal videos mind you.

Those take time to prepare and do right and sometimes the person doesn’t have much on their profile for me to go on. So in that case I’ll use a marketing video from my library that is relevant to their role or industry.

You also have to read the room when you do your outreach. For someone working in a SaaS company, my video will be more bubbly and fun. I might hold up a whiteboard with their name on it and some message, like “Hey Katie, click here.”

But if I’m targeting someone in insurance my approach needs to reflect their style, so they aren’t weirded out by this video coming in or see it as spam.

Keeping the prospect pot on simmer

Most of the folks you’ll connect to on LinkedIn aren’t ready to buy. This is just the first step in relationship building that might eventually lead to a sale.

So investing in that budding relationship is key.

For instance, when someone’s birthday pops up on my LinkedIn feed, I’ll send them a quick birthday video message. I’ll usually use my whiteboard for that and write Happy Birthday on it. People love it. It brings their guard down and it makes them feel special. Someone is paying attention to them.

One time, I reached out to a prospect and received an out-of-office message saying that they just had their first child.

So I made a quick video and knowing they were not in the office, sent it to them through LinkedIn.

I wrote “Congratulations” on my whiteboard and threw some balloons in the air. That message warranted a very warm reply of thanks from the new parent. 

Pulling on this thread, I’ll send personal videos on LinkedIn when someone changes their job. I had another client who made unicorn status (valued at >$1B).

I couldn’t get the CEO’s email but I added him to LinkedIn and sent a video of congratulations. They remembered me, and we ended up closing a deal with them on a very short sales cycle. It’s the little things that make a real difference. 

Keeping it real

The beautiful thing about using video to prospect on LinkedIn is the imperfection of it. We tell our customers all the time, keep it real, keep it authentic. 

So it’s important to practice what you preach. If I’m talking to you in person, I'm going to stammer, and pause and um and ah. So it’s perfectly ok to do this on video too. 

If you’re one to go all deer in the headlights in front of the camera, Vidyard now includes a space for notes to prompt you so you don’t forget what to say in the middle of your recording. 

Here’s the funny and awesome thing. 

Using personal video to prospect is still a pretty rare occurrence. I recently asked leaders in my own organization (who get prospected a lot) how often they are prospected by video. I asked seven different individuals and five of them said “never.”  That blew my mind. 

So people aren’t using video to prospect the way we think they are. This tells me that those who use personal video as part of their prospecting mix have a secret sauce that others lack. 

So I’ll leave you with this final thought when it comes to using video to cold prospect on LinkedIn.

When your prospect gets 10 LinkedIn messages and one of those (yours) has a personal video attached, guess who is going to stand out and score that connection? 

Note: Use Leadfeeder to uncover warm leads. Like Sandra, you can use reach out to these leads with video! Sign up for our 14-day free trial.

Sandra Somwaru
By Sandra Somwaru

Sandra Somwaru is an Enterprise Video Specialist at Vidyard. Connect with Sandra on LinkedIn.

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