Here at Vidyard, we’ve seen a sales video or two. Or three. Or honestly, tens of thousands.

With over 23,000 sales reps using Vidyard GoVideo (formerly ViewedIt) around the world, we’ve had a chance to analyze everything about how sales reps record videos. We’ve learned that they’ll record anywhere, from rooftops to cafes to malls, bars, and boats. They’ll record rain or shine, good lighting or bad, despite wind, sleet, hail, janitors vacuuming, or someone peeking into  the conference room to see if it’s free. (It isn’t.)

In the midst of all this, a few top sellers and their videos stand head and shoulders above the rest. We interviewed as many as we could to find out  what makes them so special. Here’s what we discovered:

3 secrets behind top performing sales reps’ videos:

1. They wing it

They what? Yes, that’s right. They forgo the script and simply say what’s on their mind, usually in one take. But for them, the actual performance—the video recording—is only the tip of the iceberg. It conceals an extraordinary amount of preparation.

First and foremost, they heavily research their customers. The whole point of personalized videos is to break out of the spammy, programmatic-sounding mass emails that people are so averse to. These sales reps know that the best way to get noticed is to personalize. They study everything from executives’ tweets to the company’s most recent 10-K.

Top reps also treat their videos like performances and practice endlessly. According to the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu: “An amateur practices until he gets it right. A master practices until he cannot get it wrong.” Top reps go well beyond a few simple test videos and record themselves for hundreds of hours, improving their cadence, eliminating filler words, and honing their craft.

“An amateur practices until he gets it right. A master practices until he cannot get it wrong.” – Lao Tzu

When top reps step up to the webcam, they’re able to ‘wing it’ because everything they need has been internalized. They’re no longer self-conscious and that allows them to come across as breezy, unscripted, and natural. They talk about what they’ve learned about their customer and it’s music to their viewer’s ears.

2. They focus on what customers want

Top reps talk about themselves and their company less often than most salespeople. Like, a lot less. That’s because even while they’re winging it, they’ve deeply internalized the idea that they need to keep things interesting for their viewer.

“Remember that customers don’t care about your product until you prove that you can provide value to them,” wrote Toni Bennett, Vice President of Sales at Terminus, on the Vidyard blog. “The key is to speak to how you can help that person and organization, NOT to simply tell them what you do.”

Terminus boosted sales responses by 3x with video. See how.

Toni’s team has had some groundbreaking success integrating this principle into their training and have found that it has some other benefits. For example, when a video is about helping the customer solve a real problem, they don’t keep it to themselves. Customer-focused videos get circulated throughout buying committees and become an artefact of their discovery process.

By focusing on what customers want, top salespeople earn the title of trusted consultant and give themselves a leg up in the buying process.

3. They use video to prioritize their time

Top sales reps aren’t the best simply because they’re better sellers (though some certainly are), but because they’re masters of prioritization. They know where to spend the least amount of effort for the greatest results. Many use video to optimize their time.

Top sellers only record as much video as they need to. If the marketing or product team has said it better, they snag that pre-recorded clip, add it to a playlist, and then splice in a custom introduction which explains why it’s relevant. Then, rather than waiting for a reply, the turn to the data for insights.

Video analytics are uniquely useful to salespeople because they go much deeper than views. Views only tell you that somebody saw something but provide no insight into what they thought of it. Take emails, for example. Sure, you can get a read receipt that somebody opened it, but did they jump for joy? Did they spit out their coffee, curse, and shut their laptop? You don’t know. With video, however, you at least get a hint.

People watch videos linearly. That means salespeople can track how much of the video prospects watched, where they paused, what they rewatched, how many times they returned to it, and whether they shared it. Sales teams can deduce what value propositions or products resonated most with the prospect based on where they focused their attention.

Top salespeople partner with their operations and marketing teams to write lead scoring rules that incorporate this data. It’s the ultimate insight. Rather than wonder “do they love me, or do they love me not?” salespeople know whether to recycle the lead or hammer the phones, all in real time.

There’s no secret to good old-fashioned effort

Top sellers aren’t out there sending the greatest number of videos, but they are recording it. They’re huddled in conference rooms, honing their craft and studying their customer. When it comes time to film, they talk in terms of “you,” not “I,” and they create just enough video to view the data and prioritize their leads. These sellers are the ones whose videos come across as authentic and genuine and build the human connection that’s so critical to sales. And if you’re looking to close more deals, that’s not a bad place to start.

Want more video selling tips? Visit the Vidyard video selling institute for all the advice you need to become a top video seller!

Chris Gillespie