The world of sales today seems to be shouting a message that virtual is the way of the future. Brick and mortar are out, and online is the way to go. Although it’s true that technology affords a lot of conveniences and has added efficiency (We love Amazon!!), it is essential for most of the business world (and the world in general) to connect with others. Furthermore, it’s not just connecting that’s important. Authentic, meaningful connections are what drives success.
THE CHALLENGES WITH VIRTUAL
Let’s talk about Amazon. They are certainly not having a challenge being virtual. They have transformed the shopping experience and managed to add a great deal of excellent customer service. I’m literally addicted to Amazon and use it every week to make convenient purchases. However, although I’m willing to buy hand soap and vitamins through Amazon, I’m not going to buy a house or a car online. I certainly don’t feel a connection with Amazon. Why not? The answer lies in the problems with virtual. Here are just a couple.
One of the main challenges with virtual lies in the difficulty of earning trust. There’s not a whole lot of need for confidence in the sales process of buying household goods, for example. If I purchased Cascade once, buying it online just doesn’t feel risky. For other purchases, a greater amount of trust is required. That trust is more easily built face to face than with a computer screen. I can’t honestly feel a connection when I don’t have trust.
You really can’t compare a virtual environment to a face to face interaction when it comes to feeling personal. There just isn’t an effective way to consistently connect with people when you aren’t ever spending face time with them. Connection implies personal.
Virtual communication can be really tough. Ever had a conversation that should have taken about five minutes total but it took three days? That would happen when a company only communicates via email. Also, communication loses its depth when it never happens face to face. In person, communication allows for interaction with body language and facial expressions. How can someone truly connect without great communication?
AUTHENTIC, GENUINE CONNECTION
People were designed for relationship. The best way to foster a relationship is when the time is spent together. This is true for both your personal life and your business. If your business requires that you work with people, you should be very intentional about spending time with them. Here are a few examples of how you can connect better and therefore, boost your business.
You want the people you work with to help you and bring you value whether that means bringing you business or working well with you so that you can succeed. Make sure you are spending time with them to bring them value. What can you do to build their business? How can you help them excel in their position? Spend time talking with them to discover the different ways you can add value and then follow through.
Spend Time with Them
People are lonely! There’s research that says that almost half of Americans are lonely. You have great odds that you are filling someone’s need just by inviting them out for coffee or do something fun. Find out their interests and delight them with the right invitation. Spending time will deepen your relationship, and people want to do business with people they like.
I would venture to say that most people don’t receive (and don’t give) excellent communication. The best communication is on the phone or face to face. When you spend the time and effort to ask the right questions and respond appropriately, people feel appreciated. Appreciated people will enjoy doing business with you.
Are you spending enough time with people? Do yourself a favor. Get face to face with people more often. Not only will it help your business, but you’ll also be blessed personally as well.