Video prospecting is a powerful tool in a modern sales rep’s prospecting toolbox. Yet most salespeople are afraid of recording and sending videos to strangers, or they do it the wrong way. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you how to build a simple yet effective video prospecting strategy.
Video prospecting is a relatively recent phenomenon. Since March 2020, sales technology has developed at an accelerated pace to replace in-person sales interactions. A subset of this technology is video prospecting.
Simply put, video prospecting is the use of videos to engage with prospects and start conversations with the goal of booking a meeting. It can be used to convert inbound leads into meetings, or outbound leads too. Video can also be used in the whole sales process, to present an offer, or summarize key points after a meeting.
A study from Hubspot found that using video in your prospecting sequences can increase your opportunities by 400%. It helps you get noticed when everyone is using emails or cold calls. Video is a great pattern interrupt, it allows you to stand out in the mailbox or LinkedIn message section of your prospect.
Another great reason you will stand out if you use videos in your outreach is that most sales people are afraid of using it. They feel uncomfortable in front of the camera, and they quickly give up video prospecting altogether.
If you manage to build the habit of recording and sending prospecting videos every day, you will have a lasting advantage over all the other SDRs and AEs who are only using emails or cold calls.
I’m going to show you exactly how to build your video prospecting routine, using Tolstoy.
Before you get all excited and start recording videos without a structure, you need to understand the different types of prospecting videos you can use. There are two main types.
A prospecting video is a personalized video that you will send to your prospects to generate curiosity and get them to reply and/or interact with your video. Each video is recorded individually for each prospect.
This doesn’t mean that you will have to change your script for each video, but you will add elements of personalization to increase your chances of getting a reply. Remember, the goal of your outreach is to get a reply, so you can start a conversation and book a meeting if the prospect has an interest in speaking with you.
The second type of video is a reusable core video. It’s a type of video you can shoot once and send to as many prospects as your want. There’s no element of personalization, but it should provide valuable insights about a problem the solution you’re selling is solving.
If there’s one type video where you should polish your script and nail the recording, it’s the core video. As it will be sent to many prospects, it’s always good to invest a bit more time in doing it right.
The core video is at the center of your prospecting strategy. It’s a resource you can tease in your prospecting videos (or any other type of touchpoints), with the goal of getting a reply. Here’s how you can create a prospecting video.
Before you dive into recording your video, you need to do some preparation work. You need to define a clear Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), find what type of problems your ICP is trying to solve, and then build suggestions to solve these problems, before recording the video.
There are countless ways to build an Ideal Customer Profile. I recommend using an ICP matrix, with the Ideal Customer Company (ICC) in columns, and Ideal Customer Titles (ICT) in rows. You typically separate ICC with firmographic data like company size, revenues, funding type and so on.
When you have a clear idea of your various ICCs, you can define your ICT. I like to use the Proactive Selling methodology with the Above The Line buyers (ATLs) and Below The Line buyers (BTLs). It doesn’t hurt to add deal influencers, who influence a deal positively or negatively, without being involved in making a decision.
Here’s how a typical ICP matrix looks like:
Now that you have a clear idea of your Ideal Customer Profiles, you need to find the problems they are trying to solve. Leading with problems is much more powerful than using features or benefits.
Typically, an ATL will worry about market shares, risks, opportunities, and how their company can make more money or save money. A BTL will worry about getting a promotion, keeping her job, or spending less time doing repetitive tasks.
Create a problem canva for your ATLs and another one for your BTLs and make sure to describe their problems in detail. If you need help understanding what they are going through, try to find podcasts/webinars of people who fit with your ICP. You can also google “CXO problems” and you’ll get a ton of information about what they are trying to achieve.
You know who you’re trying to go after, and what problems they are trying to solve. Now is the time to provide value with suggestions. If you’re just getting started in your role or need a fresh perspective, you can go check your marketing material.
Go to the resource center of your website and download all the relevant checklists, eBooks, White-papers and blog posts. Your marketing colleagues have spent hours researching your ICP, and building resources to help them solve a problem. This will help you understand what can be done to address the problems of your customers.
For example, my prospects are VP of Sales/Sales Development. They spend their days trying to avoid missing their sales targets. One good way to do just that is to have their reps create a healthy outbound pipeline, without spending their entire workday prospecting. There’s a free LinkedIn sequence they can download on my website for that specific problem.
This sequence is a great example of a marketing resource I can recycle to tease my prospects’ curiosity. If you look at it, you see 3 important elements:
■ Optimize connection requests for acceptance
■ Build a sequence and cadence it
■ Use multiple channels and media
I now have 3 simple suggestions I can talk about in my core video.
Before starting the recording, you need to have a loose script. I suggest using bullet points to keep it natural. Here’s a simple structure you can use:
1. Problem - A list of problems your prospects are trying to solve (check step 2)
2. Suggestion - A list of suggestions on how to solve these problems (check step 3)
3. Call-to-action - Two call to actions (one to the resource you have just pitched, another one to your calendar link)
Here’s an example of a core video I use, with problems, suggestions, and call-to-action.
If you followed the previous steps, you now have a reusable core video packed with a ton of value for your prospects. You can also skip the core video altogether and pitch an existing resource (Checklist, eBook, White-Paper, etc.) and send it over when you get a reply.
But now that you have the piece of value, you need to find a way to get your prospect excited about it. Here’s how to use video to do it.
As with any other type of prospecting touchpoint, you need to know what you’re going to say in advance. I recommend using a simple script with the goal of grabbing the attention of your prospect, and starting a conversation. Here’s how mine looks like:
Trigger: A relevant piece of information about your prospect. It helps prospects answer the question: “Did this person do some research about my problems?”
Example: “Mary, noticed you also liked Heather’s post about boring hybrid events.”
Question: A question focused on the negative outcome of a situation. I recommend starting with snippets like: “How are you preventing/avoiding”, “What are you doing to avoid/prevent”.
Example: “I’m curious, how do you avoid losing half of your participants midway because of boring hybrid events?”
Teaser: A resource to help your prospects solve the problem you have uncovered in the question you asked.
Example: “If you’re into it, I can share a 3-step checklist on how to run engaging events with hybrid crowds.”
CTA: A close-ended question to get the prospect to reply.
Now that you know what to say, you need to make sure you’re in the right mindset, and in the right place to shoot your videos.
The only tech you’ll need is your computer’s camera and microphone, and a video recording tool like Tolstoy. You’ll also need enough light to make sure the quality of your video isn’t too bad.
Don’t worry about your background, as long as nothing is moving or distracting from what you’re saying. I met an incredibly successful rep who used to send videos from her bedroom with a messy background. It never hurts to show a bit of your personality in your videos.
The one thing that matters is to record your video in a quiet place. Make sure there’s no background noise.
You know what to say and you’re in quiet place with good lighting. Now is the time to shoot your video. Don’t worry about stuttering or missing a few words, it doesn’t matter in the end.
What matters is that you record a short, relevant video for your prospects. You’re not paid to be a movie star, you’re paid to generate opportunities.
Just shoot your video and read your script. It won’t sound natural at the beginning, but with practice, you’ll be able to record your videos in one shot. If you don’t like seeing your face when recording the video, just open another tab with the text you have to read.
Here’s a recent video I recorded. I look tired, I’m not shaved, but I got the meeting.
Review your video and make sure there’s no glitch. The audio has to be clear, and under 30 seconds.
A good convention is to rename your video with a personalization element. I use “FirstName, check this out” to tease my prospect’s curiosity.
If you’re using Tolstoy, the recipient will see a moving Gif (both on LinkedIn and email), with the title of the video. You can also customize how the prospect can reply to the video with audio, video, text, or even with your calendar link.
Your video is now ready to send. You can drop it on any channel where a link or a Gif can be sent (typically emails and LinkedIn).
But before sending the video, you need to make sure it will be opened by the recipient. If you’re sending the video on LinkedIn, drop the text “Made this for you:” followed by the link to the video.
Here’s how it will look to the recipient of the video:
If you’re using email, you can copy a Gif and drop it in the email. When clicking on it, the video will open in the browser of the recipient.
As you can see, integrating video into your prospecting isn’t exactly rocket science. It requires a bit of preparation, but it will become easier with practice.
Now let’s talk about the technical setup required to shoot prospecting videos. Most people think they need to invest in a complex setup with a DSRL camera, a professional microphone and additional lighting. There’s nothing preventing you from doing it, but in most cases, the gear on your computer is enough to get started, and to book meetings with prospecting videos.
When I started with video prospecting, I ran a quick experiment. I sent a series of videos shot with my webcam and microphone and another one with my expensive DSLR camera and professional microphone. The content of the videos was exactly the same, but I got around twice more replies to the videos shot with my basic setup.
With prospects are interested in is knowing that they have an authentic person in front of them. If your video quality is decent (we can hear what you say, and see your face), you’re already doing a great job. Don’t worry about professionalizing the video, just worry about sending videos.
Here’s the minimum setup I recommend to get started with video prospecting:
■ A silent place - Make sure you’re in a place with no audio distractions. A bit of background movement isn’t a problem.
■ Your computer’s camera - Use the camera you use for Zoom calls, that’s enough.
■ Decent lighting - Lighting is important. Make sure you have enough of it, coming from behind your camera or from the your sides. If you need to add some lighting, use a desk lamp, that’s enough.
■ Your computer’s microphone - Use the microphone you use for Zoom calls, that’s enough.
■ Tolstoy - Use Tolstoy to host videos on a link, create a Gif, and give reply options to your prospects.
Most of my students are terrified of using videos to prospect. They have the wrong expectations and the wrong understanding of the process.
Most reps are afraid of video prospecting because they feel uncomfortable reaching out to strangers with videos of themselves. Just like with any other cold outreach media, they feel like they are disturbing their prospects, and that an unsolicited video is just too much.
A lot of salespeople also think they need to send perfect videos, with a great background, and amazing acting skills. They spend hours reshooting their videos, making sure they sound like Hollywood stars, only to get ignored by prospects. As a result, they give up and they miss on great opportunities to start conversations.
The truth is that video prospecting is just another prospecting media. When you reach out to cold prospects, the vast majority of them will ignore your outreach. And video is no exception.
That’s why I have compiled a list of tips to help you worry less about the process and shoot more videos.
Open a new tab: Some people hate seeing their faces in videos, or hearing their voices. A good way to avoid being too self-aware is to open a new tab when you record your video. You won’t see anything and it will help you look and sound more natural.
Record your screen: Recording your screen is another great way to become less self-aware. Your face won’t look so big and you can open the LinkedIn profile of the person you’re reaching out to. This will also appear in the preview Gif and increase the open rate of you video.
Send videos to your colleagues: If you’re really too shy with videos, start by sending videos to your colleagues and collect their feedback. You can also document processes in video, which is always a great idea if you need to share knowledge inside your organization.
Enroll in a course: Following a proven framework is also a great way to get rid of your fear of video prospecting. You’ll get replies quicker and the fast results will make the early discomfort worth it. Go check my New Outreach System if you want to check my course on video prospecting (and much more).
Video prospecting isn’t rocket science. With a structured process, you’ll be able to get started quickly, and stick through the process of getting comfortable with video prospecting. Video prospecting is insanely powerful. I have been using it for over a year, and I consistently get a 38% reply rate and an 11% meeting rate.
I attribute these results to the fact that most salespeople do not use it, and the ones who do stand out from the rest. So don’t give up because you don’t have immediate results. Stick to the process and you’ll be part of the minority of salespeople who get more conversations, more meetings, and more opportunities because they do what everyone else won’t.
And if you need help building your videos, and your prospecting routine, enroll in my New Outreach System.