The digital revolution is innovative, inspiring, and even pervasive. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time, and many of the things we take for granted now weren’t even in the realm of possibility a few decades ago. As impressive as they are, the reach and impact of electronics when it comes to communication can have detrimental effects. Below, I identify three important elements that should always be involved in business relationships, no matter how advanced technology becomes.
1. Face-to-Face Interaction
With e-mail, text messaging, and web conferencing technologies, working remotely has never been easier. One moment you can be on a call with a client two time zones away, and the next you’re sending a document to a team member in another country. These radical changes in the way we conduct business have allowed us to surpass an incredible number of problems. However, in our urgency to complete transactions faster, cheaper, and with greater ease, we have begun to develop another problem. The personal touch that was included with every deal that ended in a handshake is no longer apparent in many of our business negotiations today, which is harming relationships and hindering personal connection.
This isn’t just an old man rambling about the “good ole’ days,” either. According to research done by Virgin, 95% of marketers indicate that face-to-face communication is essential for long-term business relationships.
2. Custom Approach
Another pitfall in the selling landscape that’s caused by reliance on technology, is the lack of customization in consumer planning. Too often, sellers try to expedite their results by automating steps in their sales process. This is leading to commoditized products and cookie-cutter solutions to complex problems.
When the right solution is substituted with the easiest solution, a client’s well-being is compromised, and their best interests are no longer top of mind. This oversight of values in pursuit of eliminating work on the sellers’ end will lead directly to loss of clientele and will likely remove any chance of gaining business through referrals, which we all know is the optimal way to improve a selling practice. It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running or products you’re selling – if a situation calls for a custom approach, ensure that the proper planning and consideration goes into developing the service set that best suits your client.
3. The Human Element
In addition to all the wonderful technological advances the digital age has brought us, it has also delivered an opportunity to stand out by doing things the “old fashioned” way. Whether that means hand writing a note or delivering a gift basket to your clients to show appreciation, going above and beyond the modern-day norm will allow you to stand out, and only requires minimal effort on your end.
Involving yourself more thoroughly in the process, taking the time to know your clients on a personal level, and understanding the importance of looking your client or prospect in the eye when possible will allow you to make great strides in your career. But don’t just take my word for it. According to HubSpot, in-person meetings between seller and client have over a 40% close rate, and for each dollar a company invests in travel, it receives $12.50 in return. I’d take those numbers over the ease of automation any day.
Technology and the digital revolution allows businesses and individuals to prosper to incredible heights. Harnessing the power of the digital age is important for everyone in the industry, but if you want to run the best practice without compromise, there are some important elements of the past to keep in mind. By holding face-to face meetings, always considering your clients’ individual needs before making a recommendation, and maintaining a personal touch, you’re sure to have the best of both worlds – utilizing technology to the fullest while keeping communication personal and authentic.