Busyness is the enemy of relationships. And I am seeing an increasing trend in salespeople sending emails and texts to customers, often on a topic that could and should be covered with a 10-or 15-minute phone call. Salespeople are confusing contacting a customer with connecting with a customer. They forget that being efficient doesn’t always translate to being effective.
Sales managers stress to their teams the importance of customer focus and the value of strong relationships. The salesperson will nod in agreement, return to her desk, and the busyness of life hits. She defaults to electronic communication because it’s quick and easy.
It’s kind of puzzling. Why aren’t salespeople picking up the phone to connect with their best customers, the very people that write their commission check?
The answer isn’t good or logical: They are afraid they might actually reach a live human being, and that conversation takes time! It takes only two minutes to craft an email so they resort to efficient behavior, not effective behavior.
Apply reality testing at your sales organization. Did your salesperson contact 20 customers or did your salesperson connect with 20 customers? Contacting falls in the sales-activity bucket. Connecting falls in the relationship-building bucket. Which approach ensures sustainable growth for your company?
Sherry Turkel is the author of the great book, “Reclaiming Conversation. The Power of Talk in the information Age.” She shares the story of a law firm that got curious about the power of conversations in this digital age.
Upon investigation, the evidence was clear. Lawyers that invested more time with clients in face-to-face conversations brought in the most business. They were connecting with customers rather than just contacting them.
I work with a very successful vice president of sales and he has applied the conversation principle for years. He integrates electronic communication with ‘live’ communication by sending sends a quick email asking his client for a short phone conversation. The bottom-line results: He’s been a top producer for more than 20 years.
So here is your challenge for 2016. Start small. Once a day, instead of shooting an email to a valued client, pick up the phone. Start connecting instead of just contacting customers.
It’s time to pick up the phone. Will you?