Episode #278 – Julie Hansen

How Acting Skills can Improve Your Virtual Selling Capabilities

Julie Hansen


Julie Hansen

Julie Hansen is the creator of the Selling On-Video Master Class and the author of a new book on virtual selling, Look Me In the Eye: Using Video to Build Relationships with Customers, Partners, and Teams.

When salespeople were forced to switch from face-to-face selling to virtual selling, they were forced to learn a different medium of communication. What you used to be able to communicate with your face, body language, energy, etc. has to be squeezed into a small square on a computer screen. Your customer doesn’t have the context of face-to-face. It requires learning new skills. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Julie Hansen shares how acting skills can benefit a salesperson and help them succeed in this virtual reality we now live in.

How can acting skills improve your virtual selling capabilities? @acting4sales shares her thoughts in this episode of @SalesReinvented—they may surprise you! #SalesReinvented #Sales #VirtualSales #Acting #Improve #Skills #VideoClick To Tweet

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:43] The difference between selling face-to-face and selling virtually
  • [2:38] How businesses can improve virtual selling
  • [4:47] Julie’s virtual selling blueprint
  • [6:54] Attributes + characteristics that make a great virtual seller
  • [9:34] Tools, techniques, and strategies to improve virtual sales
  • [11:55] Julie’s virtual selling dos and virtual selling don’ts
  • [16:07] Get the virtual training you need to succeed in your role

The difference between selling face-to-face and selling virtually

Julie has a background in acting. Most actors/actresses start their careers doing live theatre. You can see your audience and what lands—or doesn’t—and adjust accordingly. Virtual selling is similar to moving to on-camera work.

When Julie moved from live audiences to camera, she did what she did for theatre. But the director pointed out she wasn’t looking in the right place, she was out of frame, and was distracting. She learned she had to get new training to communicate in the new medium. Salespeople need to acknowledge that and learn new skills so they can communicate in a virtual environment.

How businesses can improve virtual selling

Organizations learned that they can be more cost-effective doing sales calls virtually. Plus, McKinsey found in their research that more than three-quarters of B2B buyers prefer remote interaction versus face-to-face. You need to adapt to the new reality.

Most organizations throw tools and technology at their salesforce but haven’t realized that communication differences need to be addressed. How does the camera read behavior? What about your eye contact and facial expressions? Are you communicating what you need to?

You have to learn to connect one-on-one on camera because sales are all about building relationships. People buy from people they like and they feel confident with. So you have to learn to establish those relationships through a camera. That’s where the growth needs to be. If you can do that, you’ll rise to the top and stand out.

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @acting4sales shares how businesses can help their salespeople improve their virtual selling. Don’t miss her unique take! #SalesReinvented #Sales #VirtualSales #Acting #Improve #Skills #VideoClick To Tweet

Attributes + characteristics that make a great virtual seller

Julie believes that the qualities needed to succeed are the same, whether in person or virtually. You need to be credible, keep your word, be authentic, show empathy, be an active listener, etc. But those qualities are often lost in a virtual exchange, so you have to adjust the way you communicate them.

In a face-to-face conversation, if someone stared at your shoes the whole time, you’d feel like they weren’t interested. But it happens on video all the time. You may be looking at the customer’s image, screen, tools, etc. You need to understand that the quality of active listening requires you to behave differently. You have to know when to look at the camera directly. Your fave must communicate the emotions you think it is.

What tools, techniques, and strategies does Julie recommend to improve how you portray yourself on video? Listen to learn more!

Julie’s virtual selling dos and virtual selling don’ts

Julie shared some amazing tips to help you improve your skills:

  • You have to record yourself and you have to review it so you know how your customer sees you.
  • You have to bring more energy to a virtual call because the camera takes some away. You can be natural and comfortable but you can’t come across as laid back and low energy. Get yourself in a good high-energy state before jumping into a conversation.
  • Make sure that you are managing your tools and technology and engaging your customer. Salespeople tend to go into monologues because customers aren’t responding. Recognize that people are more passive on video and engage far less. You have to work harder to foster engagement.
  • Don’t stare at your customers’ image when they’re talking—look at the camera. But if you’re looking at the camera, how do you read body language? There are different techniques, one of which is using peripheral vision to glance at their image.
  • Don’t assume that your customer will answer you right away. Give them a second to respond. If you ask and answer your own questions, you’ve trained them that they don’t have to respond. Silence is uncomfortable, but you have to allow them time to process and answer.
@acting4sales shares a great list of virtual selling dos and don’ts in this episode of @SalesReinvented. Don’t miss her expert advice! #SalesReinvented #Sales #VirtualSales #Acting #Improve #Skills #VideoClick To Tweet

Get the virtual training you need to succeed

Julie got a call from an experienced enterprise sales rep who was a top biller before things moved virtually. He felt like he wasn’t connecting with his customers and that he had lost his superpower. When Julie worked with him on camera, it was obvious his personality wasn’t coming across. He felt scripted and his discomfort was obvious.

She worked with him on improving his eye contact, body language, energy, and what his face was portraying. After working together, he went back to a customer where he had been shut out of a big deal. He put together a compelling and engaging personalized video that got him back in the running.

You have to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know and get the help you need to adapt to this new environment. Don’t sit and suffer in silence. Stand up for yourself and get the training that you need to succeed.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Julie Hansen

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

More About Julie Hansen

Are there any great Digital or Social Selling books that you highly recommend? Human-Centered Communication

What do you most admire in the sphere of Digital or Social Selling and why? Brynne Tillman – she provides a lot of great tips and resources on social selling.

Are there any aspects of your own Digital or Social Selling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? Trying to master Linked In Sales Navigator.

Hobbies, Interests? Biking, hiking, traveling, music…

How can our listeners contact with you? Julie(at)actingforsales.com