Do you use video conferencing to connect with clients and prospects? If you do not, you’re wasting tons of valuable time. 

There’s no longer an excuse to drive hours to and from client meetings when you can sit in front of your computer and conduct a face-to-face meeting.

Instead of getting in the car, just open up your browser, log on to an online meeting site (such as GoToMeeting) and send the link information to your prospect or client and you’re connected. It’s that easy.

Using video has many advantages over other forms of communication. When your clients and prospects can see you, it’s easier to establish personal relationships on a much deeper level. With existing relationships, video conferencing makes keeping the momentum going a cinch.

That’s the good news. But (and there’s always a “but”) using this tool well requires mastery of some new skills.

Believe me, I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way. Here are just a few:

1. Technology screw ups. If you’re like me, using new technology is not second nature. I freak out when things go wrong. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, I practice ahead of time with safe people who will still love me even if come off like a total loser. Or, I rope in a savvy geek to give me step-by-step instructions. Make your mistakes before you go live—or risk embarrassing yourself.

2. Unwanted interruptions. After my husband barged into my home office during an important online meeting, I realized I needed to do something. Today, my office door has a huge “Do not interrupt” sign hanging on it when I’m online. Make sure you shut down text message and email programs, too. I’ve heard horror stories about the kinds of things that have popped up at just the wrong time.

3. Inappropriate looks. If you’re using video conferencing to create a personal connection then, doggone it, you need to be looking people in the eye. Obvious, I know. But when you’re talking to someone online, I’ll bet you’re looking at where their video shows up on your screen, which may be off in the corner. Make sure to move their smiling face right up under your camera. That way you’ll be looking directly at them­—not staring down at their navels.

If you haven’t yet tried video conferencing, it’s time to get started. Yes, it’s not easy trying something new; there’s always a learning curve. But I can assure you that it’s worth feeling awkward for a short while in order to realize the benefits of this great tool. 

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.