There’s never been a better time to peddle your consulting wares online. One of the more positive side effects that came about from the craziness of 2020 is an accelerated state of digital transformation -- especially when it comes to the digital economy -- in nearly every facet of our lives. Individuals today are more receptive than they’ve ever been to the benefits provided by remote service provision.
But, like most everything else in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do remote consultations. Luckily for you, we’ve spent countless days and nights working with our consultant customers to hear their pains. We know what it takes to do online consulting right, and like most things, it begins with the fundamentals. But it takes more than just setting yourself up right, you’ve also got to make sure that the session itself is conducted smoothly, without any hiccups. Last but not least, there’s plenty you need to take care of once you’ve wrapped up your session.
The Tech Fundamentals
Before you kick off any remote consultation, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got your technical foundation properly set up. There’s no room for mistakes when you’re getting paid top dollar. Background noise, connectivity issues and audio/visual issues simply won’t do if you want to come off as a professional.
Prior to each and every session, test and verify that your equipment is working properly. Is your microphone functioning? See that the volume isn’t too high or too low, and ensure that your audio is crisp. What about your speakers/headset and your internet, are they working? Oh, and about that headset -- we recommend that you use a wired, as opposed to a bluetooth, headset. They usually provide higher quality audio, and include noise cancellation features that keep you fully-focused on your session without distractions.
To ensure a consistent, stable video connection place your video-device on a flat surface, as there’s nothing more frustrating than an out-of-focus or bumpy picture. Also, double-check that your video device is aimed squarely at your eyes; you don’t want to seem as though you’re looking down on your customer, or worse, have them looking right up your nostrils.
Internet connection is no less important. In fact, it may be even more important as without that there’s no consultation. Connect from a computer instead of a mobile device -- their webcams are super sturdy; if possible, use a wire connection. They are more robust and stable than wifi.
Setting the Ambiance
Delivering your consultation in a location that lends a professional air and provides optimal conditions for service provision is crucial. Start by finding yourself a peaceful, quiet location. Something more intimate than an internet cafe, so that you remain focused on your clients and provide them with the best results possible. Get yourself a well-designed, professional looking virtual background. We recommend a calm background that highlights your brand as much as possible. Best would be a professionally designed background that focuses on your expertise and brand colors. If that’s not an option, choose a blurry picture that showcases your brand colors so that your client’s attention will be on you, not the background picture.
Dressing appropriately is super important. Obviously, appropriately is objective, especially in the context of remote meetings, but working from home shouldn’t translate into working in your sweat pants. As long as you use good judgement and stay away from revealing clothes, you should be fine.
There’s plenty you can do during your session to ensure that it’s conducted in the most professional way possible. First off, don’t move around too much so that you don’t distract your client. Smile, and try to amplify the use of non-verbal communication to keep engagement at top levels, while always being aware of your posture.
Sometimes things can go haywire during a remote session. Don’t panic! If your video stalls, ask your client to wait until it stabilizes. If it doesn’t, consider rescheduling or moving to a different communication channel -- Consolto offers quite a few, so you’ll have plenty of options. Maintaining eye-contact is critical to developing a real rapport; try to place the webcam as close as possible to the screen where you’ll be looking. Otherwise, your client will feel that you’re not looking directly at them.
Now the Real Work Begins!
Once a session has ended, there are a few essential tasks that should be completed to ensure that you make the most out of it.
Wait no more than 24 hours to send your client a followup email. This should include 3 sections: Action Items (next steps for both parties), Summary and Thank You. While it may be difficult to maintain this habit, it’s super important as by sending the followup email you display professionalism and generate a record that can be referred to at a later date.
You can also use the followup email to ask for feedback from your clients! They’ll provide you with highly relevant ways to improve the service you provide. If it was a particularly good session, you can also ask for a quote to use in your marketing materials.
All of the recommendations listed here were offered by leading remote consultants and sales professionals. By using them, you can quickly level up your remote operation and generate a reputation as a top notch professional.