Few can dispute the influence technology has had and continues to have to improve our lives and our businesses. Who would have ever thought these changes would occur with such lightning speed. The funny thing about change is that it is sometimes hard to anticipate the additional adjustments we may need to make to fully capitalize on the benefits of technological advancements. How are you responding to those additional adjustments and are you getting the results you desire?
If you have been around for any length of time you have probably noticed the influence technology is having on our ability to communicate. Texting has added a whole new option to getting more immediate responses or connecting with your customers without your message getting lost in a sea of email. Email is also a much more frequent form of communication due to its availability on our smart phones. It seems in business, few people even talk on a phone these days. How does an over reliance on the “text” forms of communicating impact the results you want to get with the people you are trying to influence? When we rely solely on the technology of email and text how can we be sure our “message” is getting through?
A recent experience got me thinking about how much revenue we may be missing out on as sales organizations, or the costly disconnects as leaders and teams, when we fail to understand how to include people in communication versus pushing communication out to them. I recently met someone who we will call Dan, who wanted to share more about his business in hopes of securing me as a customer and/or a referral source. After a nice introductory coffee meeting, I reached out to set up a more substantial in person discussion. What I received instead was an appointment invite for Dan to give me his presentation through some sort of computer share program. The challenge I had was that my laptop was out for repair. I called Dan and explained this to him and tried to set up a face to face meeting or even a phone call but he was insistent that I had to sit through his computer share presentation. As the conversation continued, it occurred to me that Dan, number one, was not listening to the fact that my computer was out for repair, and number 2, did not seem the least bit interested in what type of presentation I would respond best to; it was his way or no way.
I felt like I was in the twilight zone at times during the conversation. Here I was, a potential customer asking for a meeting only to be told that it had to occur through the computer, and we are both located in the same community! Given my experience in sales and as a sales trainer, I was fascinated to be on the receiving end of someone having no inkling of the damage they were doing to their prospects by being so tuned out to what works best for their potential clients. How often is this happening in your business? This was not Dan’s first rodeo. I kept thinking to myself during and after the conversation, was Dan’s approach due to a lack of awareness, an ignorance of a better skill set, or was he just relying too heavily on technology for his results?
My role as a performance improvement specialist gives me a unique perspective of seeing how people get in their own way of the results they desire to achieve. Technology can certainly enhance our performance, but at the end of the day, we need to connect with the human on the other end of the interaction. Does relying solely on technology accomplish that? The recent story of the Notre Dame Football player, Manti Te’o, who was “catfished” is a prime example of the cost of relying too heavily on text forms of communication. The experience I shared above felt very impersonal. What I desired to get out of the interaction was not even considered. Yet Dan had some expectation that he could “wow” me through technology in spite of my asking him repeatedly for a face to face interaction. When I did not comply with Dan’s approach, he responded by email saying he would send me a video clip to understand more about his business; that video has yet to arrive in my email. Given my experience with Dan, how likely do you think it is that I will put him in front of others I know?
The old adage holds true today that people buy from people they like and people they trust. The same goes for leadership and team work. We respond best to people whom we believe have a genuine interest in helping us achieve our objectives. If we leave it to technology to establish the connection we need with the people we want to influence, how do we know if we are being effective? The amount of unspoken information that we can gather in a phone call or face to face meeting can make the difference between success and starting over. Clearly, texting and email are here to stay and for good reasons. Capitalize on the value of body language and non-verbal behavior as a means to help you gauge if you are on track with the people with whom you want to influence. What can you do to re-personalize your communication this year and improve your results?
Let us know how we can support you in achieving more of the success you and your organization desire in 2013 at www.suekenfield.com/contact.
Watch this story to see the other consequences of text only communications – oops video