Skip to content

Selling With Video Emails Is Just Humane with Ethan Beute

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
22 min read


 Selling With Video Emails Is Just Humane with Ethan Beute:

Full Transcript

Ethan Beute
I certainly the positivity, the sincerity, the gratitude, the enthusiasm that doesn’t come through when you add three exclamation points in a smiley face the same ways when you reach out and say congratulations on your new job, or congratulations to your daughter who made captain of the soccer team or whatever the case may be. In addition, bad news. Bad news is more cognitively heavy, it takes longer to process. And so this idea of making a phone call or jumping on a zoom call and dumping bad news on someone is generally not putting them in their best position because the live nature of that is begging for an in time response when people need to actually process and digest that information. So this ability to reach out with bad news or an apology or similar, right, this extremely positive or extremely negative emotion is difficult to do and type out text because you lose again, that sincerity that sincere concern or that sincere interest, or that sincere regret that’s in the apology or whatever. People can feel that from you in a video in a way that they never will out of text.

Liston Witherill
That’s Ethan Beute, Chief evangelist of Bom Bom, a company dedicated to making email more personal by using one to one video communications. I’m not talking about highly produced videos with cuts and graphics and all those other bells and whistles. Nope. This is all about pulling out your phone or your webcam and just hitting record. The thing is, it’s harder and harder to break through the inbox. Because people get so much spam. I get 10 or so pitches every week just for this podcast. It’s noisy out there. And it’s noisy in the inbox. So it’s critical that you find a way to stand out by showing that your email was written especially for your recipient. personalization, and customization is the key because a good email is compelling to the reader. The more you show people you understand them, and that they actually matter to you imagine that, the more likely you are to get a reply. In fact, the more likely you are to have people even read the email in the first place. Now this matter of personalization is more complicated than it sounds. Ask 100 experts how to personalize and you’ll hear 100 different answers. Hold for the true but useless take that you have to add value. No commenting about a recent blog post or company news isn’t true personalization. It’s much more than that. In today’s episode of modern sales, I talked to Ethan Bute of bom bom about how video can help you personalize your outreach. why it’s so important to spend more time on fewer contacts, and how you can start using video in your email outreach right now. Welcome to modern sales, a podcast to help agency owners and independent consultants win better clients by understanding how people buy. I’m your host, Liston. Witherill, founder of serve, don’t sell and I dig through academic research, interview people inside and outside of sales and nerd out on the psychology, economics and neuroscience to figure out how people make decisions. And I am on a mission to make 100 million people, world class ethical communicators so that buying b2b services can feel just as good as homemade stew on a cold winter morning. Yes, please. If you’re listening on Spotify, hit that follow button so that you don’t miss an episode. And if you’re listening on iTunes or Apple podcasts, please subscribe and leave an honest review. As long as it’s five stars. It helps me get the word out for the show so we can together flip selling on its head and make 100 million people world class ethical communicators Thanks in advance for your help. Now on to the show. The quality of your outreach will have a huge impact on the likelihood you get a response whether it’s to sales prospects for networking for vendors, whatever the video can be an instant differentiator What does it take to use video emails effectively? Find out in my conversation with Ethan Beute right after this short break.

Liston Witherill
Hey, it’s Liston back here with another episode of modern sales. And Today my guest is Ethan beaut from bom, bom. Welcome to the show, Ethan.

Ethan Beute
Thanks so much. I’m glad we’re finally able to connect. We’ve been connected digitally for a while and it’s good to see your face and spend some time in conversation.

Liston Witherill
Exactly. And see you somewhere other than my web browser on LinkedIn. So here we are. So you work at Bom Bom. And you’re the CMO. Did I get that right,

Ethan Beute
Chief evangelist.

Liston Witherill
Chief evangelist.

Liston Witherill
What a great side note. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Guy Kawasaki.

Ethan Beute
I am I interviewed him about his role at Apple and then now he’s also chief evangelist of Canva.

Liston Witherill
Oh, how funny. Yeah, what a step down from Apple. But when I think about Guy Kawasaki, I read his book, I forget which one is the Art of the Start. Maybe in grad school, I read it as part of the technology management program that I did. And I always thought, Chief evangelist, that’s a job tailor made for me, I should just do that. What does it mean to be an evangelist before we get into what we’re covering here?

Ethan Beute
Sure. And I wrote a pretty lengthy blog post about this, because I interviewed four different chief evangelists prior to having the title, success, curious what the title meant. And turns out, it’s the core idea is, you’re selling the problem or creating awareness around the problem, you’re not talking about the product. And so if bom bom comes up in this conversation, cool, but my number one goal is to let people know that they have an opportunity to be more personal and more human throughout their day, and they’re going to get better results, and feel better about the situation as a consequence. And so you generally unplug from deep operations, I don’t know as much about the marketing operation right now, as I sometimes feel like I should, I don’t know enough about the sales operation, like at a deep, deep level, where I’m interested in the numbers and what’s moving and what we’re doing to move something, but so I have to give some of that away, and I spend a lot more time focused outside your organization rather than inside the organization. So the conversations like this one are something I do all the time, it’s a fun, I get to understand how the world sees us the problem that we solve some of the considerations around it through lines of inquiry, and some give and take. And so part of my job too, is to take what I’m learning outside the organization and bring it in, because you can look at all the data and the numbers. But the second you roll a couple stories into that the numbers start to look different, right? Like the interpretation of the numbers can be colored by real human experiences and real stories. And so it’s a privilege for me, it’s an absolute joy I got here, because I’ve been at the company for nine years full time. And I was just very uniquely qualified to take on a role like this, which was another characteristic of all four gentlemen I interviewed for that series, which is they were very, very early. One of the guys was David litski, the chief evangelist for Alexa and echo at Amazon. He was the first invoice at Amazon. He was a developer, but he was very outgoing. And so now he’s this bridge between the developer community, the voice marketing community, and what’s going on inside Amazon specific to voice and so those are some of the characteristics. It’s fun to cool job. I don’t know anything. And

Liston Witherill
Well, a person can only be chief evangelist once in their life unless your Guy Kawasaki, I guess. Right. So video email. So Bom Bom is a company that I know about. Because, to my knowledge, at least, I’m guessing like six or seven years ago, I was first exposed to this platform that allowed you to send video over email. And of course, at the time, I was like, how do you do that? Like, how do you attach an email or a video into an email? It sounds like it would take forever. And here they are a very mature company. And now you have lots of other people doing are lots of other companies as well, providing pieces of the solution? Probably not all of it. How do you guys think about when is a good time to send a video email? Because I think originally when I thought about this topic, Ethan, a lot of people would say things like, how do you do that? What technology Do I need in place? Now we’re in a post remote work world, right? We’re pretty well versed in the technology. I don’t think that’s the question anymore. I think the question is, how do I make this ultra useful? And from a sales perspective, often I hear about video as a way to separate yourself in prospecting. But after that, it just seems like mud. So how do you guys think about timing and some of the uses of video?

Ethan Beute
Yeah, I want to double back on a couple of truths there that you offered. One, of course, is that we are post remote work and the technology isn’t that interesting anymore. But there’s still a big struggle around this. How do I do it? Am I doing it right? Am I good enough? Do I look good enough? Do I sound good enough? Am I when do I use this? And the other one is that you can do it yourself without a specific software solution. But it’s going to take so many steps, that you’re never going to get the reps into either a get good or be continue to iterate based on what you’re learning. For example, there’s a gentleman on our sales team has been with us for years, he sent 18,500 videos, I’ve sent about 11,000 myself, like you don’t do that if you have to go through all these cumbersome steps of recording it, uploading it to YouTube marketing is private because it’s just for those three people. It’s not for my channel, and then all these steps and embedded in blah, blah, blah. So you eliminate all those steps from a solution standpoint. And you’re right, a lot of the conversation is this prospecting, initial touch and that’s a great use case pairing a video here. With a phone call, for example, where you refer to the other in the one kind of just gives two touch points, two channels that people can reengage you on it puts a face to the name. So you’re not this faceless voicemail. We’ve done a bunch of surveys over the years, and people report higher response rates, higher conversion rates, more clicks to your emails, etc. There are a number of benefits, kind of top of funnel. But I think what most people miss is that this is like when you put it in that corner, and you paint it into that corner, it becomes a little bit of a parlor trick or a gimmick, because it’s really about the attention piece of it, when you restrict it to top of funnel use, and it will get you a lot more attention now than what you’re doing today. Because it’s different than what almost everybody is doing today. However, below that is this idea that it’s about trust, rapport relationship, it’s about clearer communication, it’s about human connection, and the unnatural outcome of that is higher conversion. So then, when you take that idea and walk it out a step further, and you start saying, okay, where am I clicking send? When is the machine shooting out messages on my behalf? And would this be a good place to add a more personal and a more human touch. So we’ve seen video, increase appointment set rates, increase appointment held rates, the money, video, email, in my opinion, or it could be a video LinkedIn message or a video in slack or anywhere, by the way, is following up after an appointment. I know a lot of sales folks who will after an appointment or a meeting in this case is typically happening by zoom, right? They take their notes, they clean them up a little bit, and they give them back. And that’s a process right? What we’re seeing a lot of people doing now is a lot less of this text based work, where they’re just recording a video. And they’re doing things like giving the person’s language back to them giving their emotion back to them. Are they coming to you out of fear and desperation? Are they coming to you out of excitement about this big door that opened or window that opened right and so you can meet them where they are and continue to emotionally walk them by emoting back to them, what they need to feel and what they need to see. In addition to restating objections, and readdressing them, letting them know this is good, deep fundamental part of is just letting them know that they were heard, because you’re giving them that back to them. And now you’ve given them something that is easily forwarded to other decision makers that you may not even know about. So I’ve only gone up to the appointment part pretty much across the entire customer lifecycle, including post sale, you have opportunities to use video to be more clear and to be more human.

Liston Witherill
So kind of a technical question for you. For those of you who are not familiar with inserting video, into your emails, essentially, the way it works, is you record the video and then either a image or a gift gets inserted into the email itself. And then the video is hosted on a landing page elsewhere. So when someone clicks on it to watch the video, it takes them to another page, does inserting those images affect my deliverability and therefore hurt my prospecting?

Ethan Beute
First of all, very important question. Good question. It is essentially a very lightweight GIF, and a link to another page. When you think about your email signature, how many pictures are in there, and how many different places that link. So as long as your provider is diligent about managing the domain reputations, and some of that just basic behind the scenes, trust, security verification stuff that these tools do on our behalf, including our inboxes. As long as your provider manages that, in a basically responsible way, it should not dramatically hurt your prospecting. Now, if you sent 100 of these video emails, where we turn it into a little animated GIF, which allows you to do something fun or interesting or highly personalized in the first three seconds, whether it’s holding up a book that they wrote, or writing their name on a whiteboard, or holding up their business card in the case that you’re following up in a post COVID world after a trade show or a conference is something I’ve done before as they collect cards, and then I send personal videos and they know in the first three seconds before they ever hit play that it’s just for them. So if you send 100 video emails, which are gifts with links to a website, versus 100 text based emails, no, the delivery is not going to be the same. But it’s not going to be dramatically worse. Either. You’re just adding an image and adding a link to your email, which we all tend to do. Anyway, I can’t tell you that I’ve received an email that I remember that didn’t have a single link or a single image in it. And really, that’s all this is because every signature has images and links in it. And most certainly from a prospecting standpoint, you want to drop a link in a because it’s trackable behavior and it shows intent. Generally, you want them to self Select and Move deeper to learn something or register for something or whatever the link is designed to do. And so it’s not going to be dramatically different but I went the long way around that answer.

Liston Witherill
One of the things that I really like about using videos, the best To share my screen, I do a lot of coaching and record courses. And I’m showing people something as I’m describing it often. And I think that video is really good with that it’s a really great way to sort of engage people’s other senses. So now, it almost feels tactile as if like they can reach out and touch it, it’s more tangible. Is that something that you guys encourage your customers to do? I know it doesn’t work in every situation, it depends on the purpose of the outreach. But how important is it to show rather than just tell over email? Fantastic, I

Ethan Beute
love the question. And I’m also going to double back to your first question with a little three part framework here. Because a, it’s practical, and B, it speaks to the power of screen recording, yes, we absolutely encourage it, our screen recording button is basically everywhere that you can record a video with bom, bom, or upload a video, you can also screen record as an option. And I do like this idea of showing and telling. And even from a gift standpoint, this idea that you can instead of starting it with you, or writing a name on a whiteboard, or something else to show that this is just for you Listen, I could also go to your website, or I could go to your LinkedIn profile. Or I could go to a podcast that you guessed it on where your images in the featured image, I want you to know that this video is just for you. And I’m talking about you. And so a using screen recording just in that way allows you to say this is about you in a very specific way. But the three part framework I want to offer that’s going to tie these answers back to the first one is anytime you want to build personal connection have people feel like they know you before they meet you put a face with the name or remind someone what it’s like to work with you because maybe you haven’t seen him in a while but you have met them before. That’s a key element to add a video. The second one is bad news or good news. Certainly the positivity, the sincerity, the gratitude, the enthusiasm that doesn’t come through when you add three exclamation points in a smiley face the same ways when you reach out and say congratulations on your new job, or congratulations to your daughter who made captain of the soccer team or whatever the case may be. In addition, bad news. Bad news is more cognitively heavy, it takes longer to process. And so this idea of making a phone call or jumping on a zoom call and dumping bad news on someone is generally not putting them in their best position because the live nature of that is begging for an in time response when people need to actually process and digest that information. So this ability to reach out with bad news or an apology or similar, right, this extremely positive or extremely negative emotion is difficult to do and type out text because you lose again, that sincerity that sincere concern or that sincere interest, or that sincere regret that’s in the apology or whatever. People can feel that from you in a video in a way that they never will out of text. And so bad news. Good news is those extreme human emotions are much better done in video. And then the third one is detail or complexity, this idea that it’s going to be easier for me to show you where to go in the software, or it’s going to be easier for me to show you clause three in the contract. Because I know that people typically have questions around this, I’m going to show and tell the contract with a screen recording as I present it, so that I can show that we did negotiate that point into the deal on your behalf. Or this is what this means. And people tend to ask me about us, we’re gonna preemptively explain it away. Or I’m going to show you the report while I talk about it. Because it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about the interpretation of the numbers. And so this detailed complexity component that you’re talking about this ability to show and tell to give the information that they need, but also use your expertise, lean into your analysis or explanation. capitalize on the trust and rapport you already have. So that they’re starting to understand the information from your perspective, rather than either be confused or misunderstand it. There’s so many benefits there in screen recording in particular helps with that detail or complexity. And that’s the third of those three times that I encourage people to consider video.

Liston Witherill
So one of the things that I don’t see a lot of but I’ve seen more of it recently is getting what’s obviously a one to many email with a video that starts out feigning personalization, it’ll always open like, hey, it’s been a while, just wanted to check in with you something like that, right? So it feels very personal. And this reminds me of like Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message, they’re relying on my expectation that the video is for me, but then essentially lying to me once I open it. And so sort of the analogy that I would think about, we think about, or at least traditionally have thought about voice, phone in particular, as a place where we connect synchronously and talk to people that matter to us. And now there’s tools that will go straight to voicemail and leave a fake voicemail recording. Do you see this or other abuses of video having negative impacts on the user Users have maybe not bom bom but video in general.

Ethan Beute
Yeah, I can’t. we’ve long said marketers ruin everything. I agree. Yeah, because we take channels and take opportunities and just debase them. And frankly, when I say that, of course, it’s fun because it’s easy to pile on, because it’s true. But what we’re really talking about is, when we treat people like numbers, that’s it. No human wants to be treated as a number, it doesn’t feel good, we can all smell it a mile away. When you’re in a new channel like this, you have a little bit of a window where it hasn’t quite been ruined yet. And I would add to marketers ruin everything. We’re now at the dawn of sales, people ruin everything. Because the marketing automation tools are now sales automation tools, you have these, a salesperson with generally much less time because that’s not their job, a marketers job is often to set up the systems and these communication flows and etc. That’s their job, a salesperson getting tools just as powerful. That’s not even their job that’s just helping them do their actual real jobs. They’re not spending as much thought or care or time on it. And so I do see the opportunity for fake spam, abuse, mistreatment, ineffective, right, like I think just because I put this message in a video, it’s automatically going to be better. But I’ve given no extra thought care, targeting attention, whatever. So yes, I can absolutely see that happening. But the interesting thing is, this is just a typical, totally generic, and I don’t mean these values this heavily because it’s a lot more gray than this. But you know, the Battle of good and evil is everywhere. And in general, if you want to recognize it, it often feels like good as losing most of the time, but you have to hold out hope that good can win. And so when I think about using video in the spirit in which we intended to be used, which is to be more personal, to be more human, to be more clear, to get better consequences, to breathe meaningful messages into real life, not just be intellectual, and pack them into the keyboard and send them off and hope someone feels us on that. That just as a channel or a medium or an opportunity gets ruined by misuse, abuse, overuse, that humans will become attuned to that, and learn to tune it out, which is what we will do. It’s why when a market ruin something, it’s because we’ve tuned it out so much that it’s no longer effective. The novelty is gone, the like, whatever the trickery was before we’ve collectively become immune to that’s how ruin it and our ability to detect what is good in real and honest, this person is actually here in my inbox or here in LinkedIn to help me I can feel that it becomes more clear. So I think there are challenges to constant ebb and flow. But I ultimately have hoped that to the degree something gets ruined, that effective use just becomes more obvious.

Liston Witherill
So you talked about a three part framework for how to use video build personal connection, bad news, or good news detail or complexity. And the first part, I think, is where I see kind of the biggest opportunity for selling remotely and selling remotely is something I’ve covered in depth. I had Jeff Cohen on the podcast recently who talked about it, I’ll be having someone else soon to talk about remote selling. I’m just curious on this idea of building personal connection or rapport. We’re sort of bridging that gap of absence of like a shared space, what do you see are the differences between people who do that really well, and sort of mediocrity or just average users of video,

Ethan Beute
two key things. One is repetition. Some people are pretty good right out of the gate, but most people aren’t. And so I see too many people quit before they ever start in earnest, before they get 510 of these under their belt and they start to get comfortable with it. Because if you are a good seller, for all that means you can be a good virtual seller, you can be a good remote seller. And this means that you can be good communicating over a zoom call because you are good at communicating in person, there is a little bit of a nuance or difference in this idea of recording these in person moments and sending them to other people. We see ourselves differently than a live zoom call or a live meeting. Like we can play ourselves back and that trips a lot of people out.

Liston Witherill
I usually recommend not to do that just right.

Ethan Beute
And I would too. I would also say start with family, friends, close people and just reach out with some Thanks. Good job. Congratulations. I’ve been thinking about you and get comfortable with this process. And then you can start to turn it outward and you’ll be much more comfortable and natural. The other thing I would say is that video is very, very revealing. So I think what separates the good from the bad The very effective versus moderately effective, is basically people who care. If you believe in what you’re selling the opportunity the solution to the problem, whatever it is, if you believe in it, and you believe that you’re reaching out to approximately the right people, I know you’re gonna reach out to people that aren’t interested, but you’re doing your best video is going to be great for you. If you are sincere about the opportunity video is going to be great for you, if you are indifferent, and highly, highly transactional, and no one sees themselves this way. So I guess I’m not speaking to anyone who’s actually listening to a podcast, like you’re listening to this podcast, you’re looking to learn and grow. And you’re probably pretty competent at what you’re doing, you’re looking to go from, I’m at a 92. And I want to get to a 95. So I’m reading books and listen to good podcasts. So I’m not really speaking to your listener here. But if you’re insincere, if you don’t really believe in what you’re doing, do not use video because that will also be revealed. And I don’t just mean in like that FBI profiler, or the interrogator who reads micro expressions and finds the discrepancy between the facial tic and the word that you’re saying, or the phrases that you’re using, or the feigned emotion behind what you’re offering and detecting that gap. But I will say to people who aren’t as highly attuned as those professionals, all humans do that we have millennia of brain training and just in detecting discrepancies between word and intent, body language in the actual words that we’re using. And we’ve done it for survival. So it is happening all of the time, most of us are not conscious of it. Those who are exceptional additive, simply studied it and gotten a lot more clear and deep at it, but all humans do it. And so, generically, we would call that a BS detector. And we use it in a variety of circumstances, because we don’t have the time or energy to deal with as much crap as we face every day, including sales people. And so we can detect that right away. So if you’ve got a little bit of practice under your belt, if you’re sincere about what you’re doing, if you are operating and aboveboard business where you can be proud of the work that you’re doing, and the way that you’re doing it, video is going to be fantastic for you. Because immediately you’re a cut above a lot of the attention seeking people in your prospects lives,

Liston Witherill
we have to end I think, on some tech tips, because I know some people are thinking about them. I have a pretty strong opinion about what I think is a minimum setup. And the way I always think about this as some people are like, how important is it that I have a great video camera? How important is it that my sound is great. And I always think of the Financial Thought Leader Dave Ramsey, who says it’s rude to die without a will. And I always think about like, How rude it is for someone to show up. Knowing that video or remote selling is an important part of their job, and they’ve spent zero time thinking about facilitating a better experience for the other person. So with that in mind, what do you think is kind of the minimum tech setup to just make your presence a lot better, but not necessarily the best?

Ethan Beute
Yeah, we’ll forgive bad video before we forget bad sound. So be close to your microphone, I do recommend a USB mic. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on it. You can get away with your built in for a while, but I would recommend getting a separate microphone, I would say turn on more lights rather than fewer. Typically, if there are any audio, any audio video lag issues or any choppy video or graininess. It’s because there are not enough lights on in the room. I would say a clean and tidy background is helpful. That way we can keep the attention where it belongs, which is eye contact, we want people looking at our faces, and our we’re speaking with our body, not just to our voice. And so we want that to kind of stand out I do sometimes like personal effects. I don’t have that here because I’m not in my own home or in my own office right now. But tidy background. It’s okay to have things like things that characterize who you are, I think it creates some opportunity for people to ask questions that aren’t related to the immediate issue at hand. I’ve seen a guy who’s examples I teach from has a couple of golf trophies on his desk behind him. And it gives people something to talk about or to ignore. If you care about golf. You might ask him about golf. The next thing you know you’re fast friends, and you might be out on a golf course, safely distance or whatever. And so I don’t mind some personal effects, but I think it needs to be tidy. A head and shoulders shot. Don’t put yourself too tight. It’s awkward for you and the viewer. I like head and shoulders shot that does allow you to talk a little bit with your hands even if you’re not a big hand talker and make regular eye contact with a camera.

Liston Witherill
Yeah, that’s a hard one for a lot of people I find

Ethan Beute
it’s less of an issue but in a video email or a video LinkedIn message, right? You definitely want to make 60 to 70% eye contact. You don’t have to stare it down but you want to make 60 70% eye contact Which is about what we do for across the table over coffee or lunch.

Liston Witherill
Excellent thank you so much for being here if and if people want to find out more about you or bom bom what should they do?

Ethan Beute
I am Ethan Beute last name is spelled B-E-U-T-E and pretty much every social network LinkedIn is obviously a really good one. I do spend a lot more time there than I did say 24 months ago. You can email me directly ethan@bombom.com. We’re bom bom on all the social networks and bombom.com.

Liston Witherill
Excellent. Thanks for being here.

Ethan Beute
Yeah. Thank you so much.

Modern Sales Podcast