Attention Sales Community... When You Hide Behind Technology It Stunts The Conversational Competency With Your Clients!Jun 06, 2022
"Conversational competence is the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and each other through screens, but rarely do they have an opportunity to hone their interpersonal communications skills…… Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?"
EDUCATOR PAUL BARNWELL
This quote crosses the generational divide.
Are you having coherent and confident conversations with your clients?
When it comes to prospecting for new business, are your conversations full of conversational competence or conversational uncertainty?
What would happen to conversational competency if salespeople focused more on client centric conversations as opposed to keyboard driven conversations?
Let's all stop for a moment and reflect upon this question...
Are we living in an anti-depth world?
Has technology killed our ability to truly converse with people?
Facetime, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and virtual platforms have allowed us to converse quickly and easily, helping all of us to bridge distances, time zones and countries. Heck, we can talk to Alexa, Cortana or Siri, and ask them to play songs, tell us the weather forecast, or even the score to our favorite sporting event.
Quite often, these ways of communicating reduce the need to speak to another human being.
All of this has led to conversational snippets of our daily lives now taking place mainly via technological devices.
Has our dependence on technology stunted empathy and engagement?
Tech stacks, automation, cadences, mouse clicks and templates are robbing salespeople of true connection.
The phrase "People buy from people" continues to be used and will forever be used within the sales world, yet I question... Are we dehumanizing sales in our quest to "scale and automate"?
Have these words become corporate buzz soup of today?
What would happen to conversations and connections if we replaced the scaling mentality with a serving mentality?
Our ability to connect with people around the world has exploded. It has never been as easy as it is right now to connect with people. Within the sales world this has exposed monumental gaps around one's ability to truly connect with meaning, substance and sincerity.
Technology has threatened and 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.
It's unfortunate, but how many times are unpleasant situations delivered over text or email as opposed to being delivered through human conversation?
Sherry Turkle, an MIT Science and Society professor and author of the book, "Reclaiming Conversation"... Devices interfere with conversations, empathy, imagination, patience, resilience, inner life and mental health.
She goes on to say,
“When we speak through machines, [we] forget how essential face-to-face conversation is to our relationships, our creativity, and our capacity for empathy”. But then “we take a further step and speak not just through machines but to machines”.
We can all agree that our everyday lives now involve a blend of face-to-face and technology-driven forms of communication.
Technology supplements conversation.
Professor Mike Tomasello, A developmental, comparative psychologist, and linguist. He is a professor of psychology from Duke University.
He reminds us,
"Though we share 99 percent of our genetic makeup with the apes, humans are ultra-social. We thrive on connecting with others. And we use our sophisticated social acumen to figure out just what a person meant irrespective of what she said or did. These features of connectedness are built upon a foundation of human interaction."
Think of all the things you miss out on, the breakdowns in conversational timing and the lack of meaningful interaction taking place when you hide behind technology stacks, cadences and keyboards.
Real conversations do not take place through automation or technology stacks!
Has device and technology dependency within the sales world stunted one's ability to build a human client connection?
Why are we feeling less connected than ever during the digital age?
We are more connected, but why are we so alone?
How many of your clients are feeling alone?
How many of you are connecting the human dots instead of using bots?
How many of your clients are feeling lonely and neglected? Would you even know?
“Communication is merely an exchange of information, but connection is an exchange of our humanity.”
IS TECHNOLOGY DEPENDENCE BUILDING SUPERFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS?
Has technology hijacked our ability to competently converse with people?
Technology is forever engrained into what we do, however, it is stunting our relational growth.
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, that is the key in talking about what a superficial relationship is lacking.
Salespeople, you will struggle to build meaningful relationships with your clients unless you talk about real issues and share real problems. And this cannot be done leaning through technology.
I ask all of you... Think about the relationships (however you define them) with your clients, are they superficial relationships or meaningful relationships based upon true human conversation? I will leave that up to you to decide.
We as humans crave and value relationships. Do you believe your clients feel the same way?
Relationships are a part of human nature. It's wired in our DNA.
True connection requires curiosity, compassion and conversation... something that technology will struggle to mirror.
Are you investing in building meaningful client relationships?
How much do you REALLY know about your clients?
How much do you REALLY know about their career aspirations?
What are their values?
What makes them angry?
You see, technology stacks, cadences, templates and automation... They do not have heartbeats. In fact, they act as a vacuum and suck the life out of your clients.
Are you digging below the relational surface or are you allowing technology to replace your voice?
FOCUS ON HUMANIZING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
You must find a way to connect with your clients and show them why you’re unique, why you're different.
It becomes easy to hide behind technology stacks, automation and inhumane cadences, however; integrating compassion, caring and real conversations becomes jet fuel for strengthening client relationships.
Developing conversational competency requires discipline and determination.
You must be driven by a personal mission to make your clients' business world better. This cannot be done through tech stacking them to death.
- You must care intensely about your clients.
- You must have compassion for your clients.
- You must drive meaningful conversations with your clients.
Your clients deserve a world full of rich conversations. To give them that gift, you need to look into their eyes and value their contribution to the conversation.
The time is now to reclaim conversations with your clients. Celebrate the very core of what it means to be human with your clients.
Allow me to take you back to a portion of the quote courtesy of Educator Paul Barnwell,
"Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?"
Do not allow all the advancements in technology to replace deep meaningful conversations with your clients.