For many SMBs video conferencing might be seen as a vehicle to coordinate geographically dispersed staff in their endeavors to create value for the corporation, and it certainly can fill that role. But many small businesses see video conferencing first as a key marketing and sales tool.
Recently, as a non-profit board member, I was asked to research software packages which could support the changing operations of our organization. After narrowing down the options by talking with other non-profits and a bit of Internet research, I contacted an independent agent for one of the software packages that looked promising.
The agent and I discussed my organization's needs and how what he had to offer could meet them. It quickly became clear some of my questions could best be answered by a show-and-tell sales call. Not long ago that would have meant setting up a meeting at his office or mine, where he could walk me through the features and functions of the package. However his office is more than 150 miles away, and he's a one-man show. Time is precious for each for each of us and we'd rather not invest hours crossing miles of asphalt, so he suggested a video conference where he could immediately demonstrate how his software package met our needs.
Video conferencing to attract customers, explain products, close sales, and support users is a powerful tool for small business. In addition to responding to product inquiries such as mine, a small business, even a sole practitioner, can employ a video conference service to introduce a product and explain how it solves a potential customer's problems. A business can also use video conferencing to notify their current customers of enhancements to a product or to address other product issues.
Customer training in the use of a product or ongoing support and maintenance can also be supported through a video conference. A small business can address a few, dozens, or even hundreds of customers, or potential customers, through the video link. In addition to leveraging the skills and expertise of a few of your people across a large audience, a tremendous advantage of combining video, graphics, text, and voice in an integrated communication, is the efficiency of the “conversation”. Doing more with less is generally a good thing not to mention a basic definition of productivity. The back-and-forth discussions and multimedia aspects mean complex issues are more likely to be understood and resolved with a video connection than a phone call.
The cost of travel is significant. Taking the costs of a physical sales or support call out of the equation, while marginally reducing the impact of the meeting, (face-to-face is still better) can dramatically improve the competitive position of your small business.
Sales are obviously important, but video conferencing can also make communications with vendors, suppliers, contractors and employees less expensive, easier to set up, and ultimately more effective. If your business has not yet added video conferencing to your marketing and sales toolbox, take a look at the services available. Besides potentially increased sales and smoother customer service, you are likely to find many other benefits from having this technology at hand.
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