It’s no secret that I love using video to sell and reach prospects. On LinkedIn, we’ve been killing it with getting engagement with prospects over video. Video can be a serious gateway to start conversations with people, and a really fun tool to use to prospect
How To Make Sales Video That Don’t Suck

I wasn’t always into making videos, but I was lucky enough to learn it when I was younger. I remember when I was in high school, I sucked at skateboarding. I basically had one trick in my pocket the whole time (an ollie), and everything else was a glorified kick turn or failed flip trip.

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This is probably the only cool trick I ever landed being filmed. What’s sad is it was only a few years ago…after skateboarding for half my life.

My friends got better, and I didn’t. As a result, I needed something else to do with my friends as they got better at skateboarding. I decided to learn how to video edit so I could film them. I’m not a very good video editor, but that actually isn’t as important as just putting together a coherent video your prospects will like.

For the sake of this blog post, I define a sales video as serving two main functions:

1. It’s something you can send to prospects over cold email to get a meeting.

2. It’s something you can share on social to many prospects at once.

First things first, you need to decide what that video’s purpose is before you make it.

You need to make your content more about your prospect when you email it to them vs. making your content for a bigger group of viewers when you post to social.

Today I’m going to give you some tips you can do that will make your sales team’s videos awesome, and get results.

MOST IMPORTANT TIP!

Tip #1: Make your video entertaining!

The most important part of prospecting, or putting some stuff out there while you are social selling is to make your prospects like you. The best way to make your prospects like you is to entertain them.

This is easily the most important tip I can give you. This is the core foundation of how to make your content engaging, fun, and sharable. You would be surprised how many people put videos out there without asking themselves if it’s even entertaining for your prospects or customers.

Ask yourself if the content you are putting out there is actually entertaining. Would you be ok if your friends saw it? What about your family?

Remember when there is a new platform people are using for sales, they tend to replicate others things that in the sales process. The first cold emails were phone scripts being emailed. The first phone scripts were door to door pitches. With video, you have a chance to use video the way it’s used today: to entertain a viewer.

If you think a video isn’t good enough for your friends and family to see, it’s likely not good enough for your prospect. The age old question after you make a video is to ask yourself this golden question:

Is my content actually entertaining?

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Tip #2: Make your prospects laugh.

As long as your content is safe for work, laughter has been proven time and time again to work with prospects. If you are posting to social, find things to make fun of things people do in your industry. People like to laugh, and as long as you don’t put anyone down, people we react positively to your content.

Here’s an example of a quick video I made with the intent of making my prospects laugh:

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This video I posted natively to LinkedIn is short, to the point, but also relates to my prospects (sales reps who work on sales teams).

Notice that my intent to make my prospects laugh and entertain them. Not shoot off a bunch of features and talk about the product. You can talk about the product, but find a way to add some personality into your pitch videos if you are doing this.

Many of my comments on these videos are positive because my prospects laugh, and feel good watching them. If I were emailing this to a prospect, I may tweak the competitor to be one of their competitors.

This video has super low production quality since I just recorded it with my webcam, yet it’s yielded over 15k views on LinkedIn alone. It isn’t always about bells and whistles when you make your video, it’s about making someone feel good. I use video to give people a glimpse into my personality.

Tip #3: Edit your videos

Making creative videos is hard enough, but learning how to edit videos opens up all kinds of possibility for your content. Editing will allow you film in more than one place, add background music, throw in titles and screencaptures, and more.

Look there is no problem with an unedited videos. In fact, outside of the title and LeadIQ logo, the video above that I shared about Linkedin Connections is unedited.

However, you can make your content more polished with some basic editing. I can probably do a whole book on video editing. I’ll keep things basic to help you get started. I recommend taking a weekend, and doing a cool little project to learn how to edit so it doesn’t become a blocker prospecting during the week.

So what can you use to edit your videos?

There are many editors out there. I’m going to give you two tiers of video editors depending on how much you want to invest in video editing.

Beginner Level Video Editors: Free or low budget editors.

Depending on your what computer you are using for work, the operating system you use will impact what software you have.

If you are on a PC, you can do some very basic editing with Windows Movie Maker. You’ll have to download it since it doesn’t come natively on Windows 10 anymore, but don’t worry…it’s free!

If you are on a Mac, you can do a little bit more with iMovie, which is Apple’s out of the box video editor.compared to Window’s Movie Maker. iMovie should be installed on your Mac when you buy it, and they even have a version on the iPhone that you can use as well that comes native.

Many people botch using Windows Movie Maker and iMovie by trying to over edit their videos.This means they add corny titles, the pre-built effects, filters, etc. Don’t do this. It looks cheap.

Instead, when you are editing, use these editors to trim clips to get rid of annoying pauses that slow your videos pace, and sort your shots you filmed in chronological order. Change camera angles once in awhile, and if you can’t get a title that looks polished and nice for you video, make the title outside of the editor because they have limited options there. I recommend bugging marketing and asking them what fonts they use.

I’ve also heard for PC that Filmora is a pretty solid low budget editor as well, but I haven’t used it myself.

For phone editing, I’ve made some videos on an iPhone using iMovie. The results can be surprisingly solid. This is a video I share pretty often that I filmed at a dog park with my dog. I sent this to follow dog lovers and get some decent responses back:

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Just so you see the context of using this in a prospecting email, here’s email copy I sent to one prospect that turned into an opportunity:

Finnegan-Inspires

And the response:

Amit-Gupta

If you see something interesting going on in your life outside of work, record it. Who knows if it can be useful for prospecting.

Advanced Level Video Editors: Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Avid

I’m not really going to go into these editors, but I’m mentioning them if you want to graduate to a more advanced video editing platform. I use Adobe Premiere because that’s what I learned to edit on, but many of the video experts I talk to recommend using Final Cut since you can make video templates you can use and reuse again for many prospects. It’s totally up to you for your preference.

Final Cut is only available on Mac, while Adobe Premiere is usable on both Windows and Mac. This is actually why I learned Premiere because I can use it on my home computer (my PC), or edit at work on my Mac.

Avid is mainly used by those who work in Hollywood, and I have never played around with their editor due to it’s steep learning curve, however they did launch a limited free editor that is very comparable to the power of Premiere and Final Cut. Again, just be careful because their software is hard to use. These not only have timelines and boatloads of effects to clean up audio and visual elements of your videos, they also have tons of options for layers and layers of videos/audio.Final Cut and Adobe Premiere will put a dent in your wallet, but are super powerful. If you work at a larger company, your company may even have a license to use this software. If you want to learn more about using them, feel free to contact me directly.

Here’s an example of a video that I edited using Adobe Premiere with footage I recorded with my phone and Quicktime:

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Note the layers of backgrounds, the green screened explosion effects, and layers upon layers of audio tracks going at once.

Making Titles on Basic Video Editors

Titles are text or overlays you want to show in your video or on top of your video.If you are using the basic editors I mentioned earlier, the title options are limited with this software if you want to make text that is on brand with your company. Because of this, you may have to make your titles outside of the video editor, then just PNGs of your title into your productions.

When I don’t want to bug our designers, I make my titles using Google Drive’s Draw tool. You can do the same thing with MS Paint. You don’t need to have something like photoshop to do this. Remember, we want to make videos quickly and not lose too much time doing it.

To use Google Draw, go to http://drive.google.com and then click NEW.

This gif shows you how to get to it. Set your background to be a color that is on brand, or pick the checkered background to make it transparent. If you want to make the background of your title transparent, make sure you save it as a PNG. Just in keep in mind, that your video’s lightness or darkness could make the text hard to read if you use text over video.

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One big thing I always try to do with my videos is change the shots often. Before I had a more advanced video editor, I made this video just using iMovie, recorded the voiceover in Audacity, and screen captured using Quicktime:

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I used this video in my email signature when I was prospecting a few years back, and it’s been very well received. It’s helped me book a ton of meetings.

Recording Voiceovers

If you want to do a voiceover, the best thing to do is write a voiceover ahead of time. Jot it down in a word doc or notepad and read it. I’d only do these if I’m going to make something for a social posts because it takes too long to do it just for one prospect.

If you are on Windows, I recommend recording your voiceovers with Audacity or the Windows native Voice Recorder app. Audacity is free and pretty straight forward to use. The Windows Voice Recorder app is very simple, but is good if you are just trying to put one take together.

If you are on a Mac, I’d take advantage of having GarageBand and record voiceovers with that. You’ll notice the timeline functions of both Audacity and Garageband are similar to the timelines you’ll see in your video editors. When you finish recording and editing your audio, you can export them and dump them right into your video editing.

Both Android and Apple have native voice recording apps that you can record and put onto your computer if that works better for you.

With the video above, I wrote out the script out in a notepad and just read the whole thing as one take. Then I cut out gaps and screw ups.

To capture screenshots of my screen, I used Quicktime. You can use Quicktime, and record a screen recording with it. Once you save the file, you can then dump it into your editor, trim it, and put it in the order you’d like.

Video editing will give you all kinds of flexibility filming your content. Record your footage more than once, say the same things three or four times and jump between the different takes. To relax tell yourself a joke before hitting record.

Obviously I don’t want to make this entire article about video editing, but these basic concepts will help give you the foundation to start messing around with editing videos that you can send to prospects or post to social media.

If you are sending a prospect a video, and want to edit it then send in an email, I recommend checking out tools like Vidyard. Vidyard’s free Go Video Extension will let you record, but their enterprise product allows reps to upload videos that are edited.

In my experience, edited prospecting videos actually get almost a 40% higher response rate with prospects than the unedited ones.

Tip #4: Keep your shots short.

If you are new to the video terminology, you may be wondering, what is a shot? This isn’t a film school definition per say, but my definition.

A shot is one recorded video that is uninterrupted.

When you edit videos, you splicing a bunch of shots together to make a finished movie or film, or content. Keeping your shots short is one the biggest tips I can give with making sales videos.

Remember how I said you need to make your content entertaining? Short shot lengths are a great way to keep someone’s attention. Watch this scene from the original version of Point Break (warning…pretty awesome and well acted swears are in this video, so you may want headphones on if you are at work):

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People who follow me know I love Point Break. I think part of the reason the flick is so good is because it’s over the top for action fans, but thoughtfully shot for film snobs. Kathryn Bigelow filmed this chase scene with lots of cuts, and then paced in a few longer shots to help build the tension.

Watch when they clearly stopped recording and hit record again. You probably never noticed this right? This is the power of using short shots to keep things interesting. If this whole chase was one long shot, you likely would get bored of watching it, and maybe even get motion sick. Short shots can make something that isn’t fast pace seem fast pace. Human beings don’t run that fast, but these guys look like they are running at the speed of a moving vehicle.

Below is a video I recorded very early at LeadIQ that uses longer shots and doesn’t have that many cuts. Don’t watch the whole thing if you are short on time, but see if you notice something:

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Did you notice how boring the video is compared to some of my other videos? There’s value in this video, but when I give prospecting advice these days, I do lots of smash shot cuts to keep the content interesting. I constantly cut my shots to keep the viewers on their toes:

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My abrupt cuts are part of my style when I edit. You don’t have to do this part, but notice how much easier it is to pay attention to this video because of hot short each shot is. To film this video all I did was record myself talking about the same things 3 or 4 times without stopping the camera. Then I cut the long video into little pieces, and alternated between what takes I used.

If you want to see another person who implemented doing shorter shots, check this video post from Jack Kosakowski on LinkedIn:

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Jack keeps your attention by cutting the video whenever there is a pause, and by using more than one shot, and the content is very good. Look at those engagement numbers.

Change angles, cut often, and don’t be afraid to make your tone energetic when you record.

Tip #5: When filming for prospects, do a couple things to make your videos visually look awesome.

Use a tripod or rest your laptop on something

Look it’s ok to move a camera around, or your webcam, but sometimes things can be really shaky. Using a webcam, or resting your laptop on something can help stabilize things a bit.

Here’s a prospecting campaign we did where we sent prospects videos around the holidays and I had a string quartet serenade them:

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Having the laptop rest on the table made it a lot easier for us to not make the view feel motion sick.

filmingThis is what my shooting spot looks like in our current office. I have the exposure cranked up on the camera to make lighting seem better than it is.

Light is your friend

Whenever you film something, you want to have good lighting. If you are posting on social, you’ll get more clicks for sound if the lighting in your video is good. I record all my videos around windows so I can have decent natural lighting. If you are using a camera, see if you increase the exposure, which allows the camera lens to capture more light. If you are in a room that is lit up, but you look like a bond villian, flip around and face the opposite side of the room, and your lighting will usually be better. Lighting can be the the secret sauce that makes a video look more professional.

Be aware of background noise.

You sit an office all day. Do you notice the hum of the air conditioner, the heater, traffic, or background noise? Probably not, but your prospects will. Don’t forget to be aware of this stuff as you are going through filming. You are immune to these sounds because you are around it all the time.

LAST TIP!

Tip #6: BE REAL. BE YOURSELF

You are making a video for the purpose of getting a prospect to turn into an opportunity, but you also making it to introduce them to you. That means that you need set expectations of who they are working with. Don’t put on a fake video voice, don’t go up like a Bee Gee. Be yourself.

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(DISCLAIMER: I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE BEE GEES…I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE BEING FAKE OVER VIDEO).

The person I am in videos is the same person I am in real life. The way I talk in videos is the same I talk in real life. You probably are a very likable person if you are working in sales, so be likable, but more importantly, keep it it real. This offer video I use for pages has me all over it:

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I’m real. This is who I am, and you can see that in the video.

If you follow these tips, you’re going to crush making sales videos for your prospects. It’s a newer platform for prospecting, so let’s use this correctly and not ruin it.

Posted by Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics, including Dyn who was acquired by Oracle for $600+ million in 2016. He's had prospecting campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in branding, business development, prospecting, and coaching people on how to make good digital first impressions. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft, and hosts The Prospecting

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