8 Minutes Optimum Conversation Time

With the new academic year imminent across England, there’s a rush from ‘cloud’ comms providers to chase down school spend for video based systems.

The revelation from education budget holders in part, being that there are a number of virtual events conducted by necessity over the coronavirus restrictions which they found they’d like to stay.

Among the applications include;

1. virtual live events – such as career advice from employers, before held in the sports hall for instance, with its enhanced provision, such as recording your stream, for later (re)viewing

2. parents evenings – now with no waffle, are more succinct, and don’t condemn people (neither parents nor teachers) to aimless, frustrating waiting around & also parents now ask better questions, having not queued for twenty minutes, through a feeling of being more targeted, without the pressure from being among the cacophony of a school hall

3. virtual work experience – newly opening up venues, organisations and roles outside of the traditionally locally based confines

I discover that a frequent pitch by the potential providers was around the optimum length of a conversation.

They all seem to cite the magic time of eight minutes.

So much so, that their video session will automatically shut off upon the 481st second.

They’ve settled upon the structure of ten minute slot. These allow for a two minute turnaround, with full slot, ten minute breaks built-in to a teachers’ itinerary.

Their systems also alert as to how long you have left (not with a countdown clock, but “5mins left, 2mins left, style pop-ups).

I gather there’s general acceptance of this framework.

All parties concerned appear to embrace it. Whether teachers, pupils or parents, they have experienced the improvements it brings.

The figure of eight has come up in our selling circles down the years.

From the call centre stick of being ‘8 minutes idle’, to the ground-breaking British cycling world record breakers who swore by the incredible rejuvenating power of a 8-minute nap.

Well. If it works around virtual schooling, how applicable is this for solution selling at a distance?

I instantly thought of one worthy setting.

That of the email trail replacement.

What prospect wouldn’t be open to swapping a possibly longer to deal with and interruptive thread of emails for a snappy 8-min video call?

Then there’s the single-issue call.

You’ve one slide to check. A sole figure to verify. The key, single ‘problem’ to sum up in a banner sentence.

And let’s not forget the “feedback” call.

Typically in response to a doc you’ve sent or a discussion your treasured contact may have had with a pivotal personality.

All these could lend themselves neatly to the ‘8min’ angle.

Remember for each though, that this is not merely a phone call done over video.

You will have visual contact. Perhaps best for one-on-one (but can schedule in a third or even fourth attendee) but in a position where you need to see the whites of the eyes.

And how many competitors will request such a specific slot? You’ll certainly be distinguishing yourself even further from them.

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