Mon. Sep 17th, 2018

Technology Stands No Chance Against Personal Connections

To email or not to email, that is the question.

Technology is a great thing and I’m a huge fan of the meme that says: “Before you call me, ask yourself, is this textable?” However, when I read that, I’m relating it to friends and family, not to selling.

Let’s just call a spade a spade – too many media sellers are relying on technology, instead of relationships and conversations, to try and set meetings and close deals and it’s hurting our industry.

Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely times when email and texting can be very convenient and save you a tremendous amount of time. Technology can be your friend and can certainly be a part of the sales process, especially as you strengthen your client relationship. The real issue is that I’m seeing too many people, nowadays, who are completely replacing the phone and face to face meetings with emailing and texting.

We are in a relationship building business. Relationships are best built in person, at lunch, at happy hour, on the golf course or at the game. The personal, one on one connection can’t be replaced, no matter how hard millennials may try.

I’ve talked before about the media sales “playbook,” the six responsibilities we have: prospecting, cold-calling, needs analysis, presenting, closing and servicing. Remember my McDonald’s analogy (have to cook the whole menu to be a cook there)? It applies here, as people are trying to succeed in sales, without doing all the necessary steps. Calling and meeting with people are essential parts of the job. You can’t cheat on those and try to replace them with electronic communication.

The next time you go to email a prospect to set up a meeting, flip the circumstances and ask yourself this: “If I received an email from someone, out of the blue, who wanted to sell me something, what are the chances I’d reply?”  I know what the answer is for me and I bet I know what the answer is for you.

You can’t cheat the system. Picking up the phone and calling to talk with people, as well as, getting out and meeting face to face and talking with people are mandatory job requirements, not optional exercises. Trying to replace those with emailing and texting is not only lazy, it also greatly reduces the chances of you getting your desired outcome.

A study done this year by the Harvard Business Review found face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than email requests. The study also revealed that most people tend to overestimate their power of persuasiveness via text-based communication and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication.

It’s just too easy to say no, or to ignore you, electronically. Additionally, you can’t read body language, dig for objections, or even understand context, over an email or text.  Plus, you lose an opportunity to learn more about your client or prospect by not seeing their office, pictures, co-workers and more.

A huge part of what you’re selling is you and your belief in your presentation or station. You take that mostly out of the equation by not having direct conversations with your prospects during the sales process.

So, if emailing or not emailing is the question, I hope you now have a better idea of the right answer.

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