“We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.”
Are we living in an anti-depth world?
What has happened to conversational competence?
We live and operate in a hyper-connected society. Our ability to connect with people around the world has exploded. It’s never been as easy as it is right now to connect with people.
What’s become more prevalent is how difficult it is to truly connect with meaning, any kind of substance and with sincerity.
Technology has supplanted face-to-face intimacy. With devices in hand or fingers on a keyboard, we can avoid human exchange and any potential awkwardness, fear or anxiety.
We are more connected than ever before through our smartphone, the internet, instant messaging and social media.
We pay more attention to the alerts on our phone than the person right in front of us.
Technology was supposed to connect us, bringing us closer together, however; in many instances it seems to be having the reverse effect.
We are becoming a society of disconnection as opposed to connection.
To my sales community… Are you more connected or less connected to your clients? I will let you think about that one for a moment.
According to MIT professor and researcher Sherry Turkle, author of the book Reclaiming Conversation, devices interfere with conversations, empathy, imagination, patience, resilience, inner life and mental health. Studies show that empathy is decreasing rapidly in rising generations.
Device dependency is stunting one’s opportunity to build a human connection
Unfortunately, many are obsessed with quantity over quality, no width and no depth. I believe connecting has become shallow, superficial and ineffective.
Are you engaging in transformational conversations as opposed to transactional connections.
To my sales community, it’s about connecting in the right way, a heartfelt way. It’s about engaging in two-way conversations by sharing meaningful value with each other.
It’s about immersing yourself in conversations with your clients through the giving and receiving of ideas and insights, with no limits on the range and depth of conversation.
You never will know where one conversation will lead you
Brené Brown goes onto say,
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
If relationships are important to you, please follow along with me, whether you are a sales leader or a salesperson, I ask you to simmer on this for a moment… How many of your clients are feeling alone? How many of your clients feel heard or even valued?
How many of you are truly connecting the human dots? How many of you are neglecting your clients? Would you even know?
Yes, this is heavy stuff, however; if your desire is long term sustainability in sales then start truly connecting and creating client sustainability.
“Communication is merely an exchange of information, but connection is an exchange of our humanity.”
At this point, some of you might be asking yourself, where do I begin? Well, consider the following as a start.
DITCH THE SUPERFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS
According to The Oxford Dictionary, superficial is defined as “existing or occurring at or on the surface; not thorough, deep, or complete; lacking depth of character or understanding.” Let’s pause on the last word, understanding is the key in talking about what a superficial relationship is lacking.
You will struggle to build upon and nurture a meaningful client relationship until you’re willing to talk about real issues, sharing real problems.
How many of you are real, relevant or even relatable within your client relationships?
Building meaningful relationships and truly connecting with your clients is mission critical to your success. We as humans crave and value relationships.
Relationships are a part of human nature. It’s wired in our DNA.
“The more you give to your clients, the more you will receive from your clients.”
The time is now to pull back the covers and dig below the relationship surface.
Grab a sheet of paper and something to write with, as you read each question, I would like for you to honestly answer…
- Are you personally engaging with your clients?
- Are you authentically investing in building meaningful relationships?
- What do you really know about your clients?
- Do you know what their career aspirations are?
- Do you know or have a sense of what’s important to them?
- What are their values?
- What makes them angry?
So, tell me, what did you uncover?
If you struggle to connect with yourself, you will struggle to connect with your clients.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME VULNERABLE
Genuine connection is what we crave in our personal lives but why does this become so difficult in our professional lives?
“Connection and vulnerability are our constant reminders that we are all here for a reason. Our time here is short but our impacts are great.”
In a sales world where trust is at an all-time low, where many believe those in sales are full of B.S., it’s those who are willing to love, cherish, care and show compassion for their clients that will reap the relational benefits.
You must be willing to overcome fear, angst, uncertainty and insecurities. You must be willing to accept the gift of vulnerability, as vulnerability will set you relationally free.
How well are you connected to your authentic self?
It’s hard to become vulnerable with your clients if you fail to become vulnerable with yourself!
It’s the bravado, brash and braggadocious mentalities that set up the perception of how we should act, what we should say and ultimately how we should feel. It’s seemingly risky to throw caution to the wind and share our authentic self.
Melissa Joyce nails it,
“We must be willing to completely reveal layers of ourselves in order to reach an authentic, tangible connection with another soul. Vulnerability is in actuality connection in its invisible form.”
BECOME MORE HUMAN AND LESS SALESY
You must find a way to connect with your clients, showing them why you’re unique. In a business world full of empty suits, ho-hum experiences and mediocrity, why should they continue to work with you, your products or service?
It’s about humanness not “sales-isms”, “salesyness” or “sales crapola”.
Become more human by:
- Having a personal conversation about what’s important to your clients, leaving them feeling listened to and understood.
- Helping your clients out of unconditional goodwill, not with how much commission can I make.
- Offering sincere gratitude to your clients.
- Sharing a personal experience with your clients involving laughter, or tear that leads to a hug.
If you hunger to achieve true sales excellence, it can’t just be about you. It must be bigger than you. You must be driven by a personal mission to make your clients business world better.
Your success is not just about closing more deals, where you sit on the sales totem pole, or the size of your last commission check; it’s about how well you connect, care and have sincere compassion for clients.
Without true connection relationships will never fully blossom.
Originally published on Larry Levine’s LinkedIn.