to Winning Webinars
The New Norm Requires Virtual Sales and Enrollment Skills. This Checklist Will Get You Up To Speed.
Whatever made a great group health broker pre-COVID has taken on a new requirement.
You’ve been zooming a lot lately, or sharing screens via Skype, Hangouts, GoToMeeting or any variety of online conferencing tools, employed in the execution of webinars.
Webinars have been around about as long as telemedicine but just like the new norm for physicians, brokers now need tech savviness.
If you’re flustered by the mechanics of the software, there are plenty of online tutorials to flatten your learning curve. But the artform of engaging, captivating, and motivating an audience to action is a lot trickier.
We’ve consulted several experts to comprise a list of 9 ways to winning webinars.
1. Hone your topic through research
In his Udemy course[i], Jason Teteak (RuletheRoom.com) recommends prior to the webinar emailing a list of business contacts with a couple of open-ended survey questions. For a group benefits broker, a couple of questions might be:
- What additional options do you wish you could provide your employees?
- What about your current health plan would you most like to change?
- What is one key way your broker can be more helpful?
- What benefit option(s) would you most like to know more about?
Those are “get you thinking” questions. You likely to devise better, more relevant inquiries.
Teteak says you can expect about a 35 percent response rate. He suggests compiling all the responses in setting an agenda for your webinar. This creates the target of your webinar.
2. Develop an agenda that answers these concerns:
- What if?
Simon says – and that would be Simon Sinek, author/speaker/trainer – that emphasizing the why of your business is the most critical marketing element. Sinek’s 2009 TEDx Talk[ii] explaining this concept is up to almost seven million Youtube views.
Teteak agrees that why is most important but says that all four questions must be addressed in an effective webinar. He claims the why of your business proposition is so important it should be restated – in another way from a different angle – about every 10 minutes.
Might your why involve economics? Could it incorporate peace of mind? How does workforce stability and productivity factor in?
Why is also important in attracting attendees: your prospects have to know why your webinar is important to them.
The remain suggestions are more pragmatic.
3. Write down the problem your audience faces, and the solution you offer.
With this In mind, an effective webinar opens by
- telling people what you’re going to tell them,
- telling them,
- telling them what you told them.
Get it? Hopefully, you grasp the importance of redundancy.
4. Create a slide show that:
- Uses action verbs and no more than 8 words per line or bullet point
- Uses photos to elicit feelings (such as a microphone on the slide that introduces the speaker)
- Identifies for whom the webinar is targeted (such as: “ideas for overworked HR pros”)
- Is free of jargon
- Puts wording on slides what the audience needs to be engaged, to follow along, or to understand - and nothing else
- Repeats the agenda slide at every change in topic, with that specific topic highlighted
5. Use more questions and stories, as opposed to statements
Name the first five presidents of the United States? You have to think about it, don’t you?
The first five presidents of the United States were George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. You didn’t have to think; probably didn’t even have to stop scrolling through Facebook on your phone.
Questions require greater attention than do statements. Review every statement you plan to make and transform a good portion into questions.
Another statement transformation opportunity is conveying its message through a story; a scenario or anecdote that demonstrates the point you would have otherwise stated directly.
6. Eliminate filler words: so, all right, OK, umh/uh
This works best in reviewing the recording of a previous webinar. How many times did you use filler words? Replace them with a half-second pause.
Say each of these sentences out loud:
We offer three plans that meet your needs so all you have to do is sign here.
We offer three plans that meet your needs. (pause). Sign here.
7. Speak a little faster than normal, slow down for effect
Unless you are visible on webcam, approximately 82 percent of your affect on your audience, according to Teteak, results from tone of voice. Since the audience has no facial expression or body language to interpret, they can process more words. But alter cadence and tone to emphasize key points.
8. Engender engagement through polls, chats, hand raising
GoToWebinar, for one, offers polling as do many webinar programs. Teteak suggests launching a poll question very early in the webinar and then again within a half hour. Poll questions can be very basic and they can help the group see how they fit in with each other.
What is your greatest concerning heading into 2021?
- That we will have to lay off employees
- That our deductible will be so high employees can go bankrupt
- That business will slow down making health insurance premiums unaffordable
- Other (please send in chat)
Again, this interrupts scrolling through text messages or Twitter.
More frequently than the formal poll question, pose questions that ask for responses through chat or through the hand-raising signal. Frequently read these responses using the respondent's first name:
Mary says inpatient benefits are more important to her group.
Jeff says emergency care is a top concern.
Everybody likes to feel involved, and enjoy a sense of recognition.
It’s also effective to solicit questions more specifically. At the end of every topic, instead of merely asking for questions, say:
Are there any questions about (state the just discussed topic)?
Remember too that questions are the prime reason for attending your webinar, as opposed to accessing the recording that’s sure to follow. Even in closing the webinar, after thanking everyone for attending and excusing any who have to leave, indicate that you’ll stay on the line for anybody who still has questions.
9. Post webinar follow-up
A post-webinar email containing a survey will help you improve for next time, and enhance your relationship with attendees. Ask:
- The top three things you took away from the webinar?
- What three things do you wish the webinar would have covered or covered better?
Review the answers and consider suggestions. Also so you can do better next time, review the recording with these suggestions in mind, and remember the immortal words of Zig Ziglar, renowned motivational speaker of the 20th century.
"You have to be willing to be bad at something," Ziglar advised, "until you get good at it."