Feb 22 2013
I read a report recently – and no, I cannot provide you with a link, because I can’t find it, which is fairly typical, when one needs something - that suggested we are having less than 10% of human interactions than we had ten years ago.
What they are/were suggesting is that our preference is for online dialogue rather than face-face communication, and I can believe that, although it may not be a preference, but rather a necessity.
I know – and I expect you do too – lots of people who, although they are working in adjacent offices, prefer to email each other rather than getting off their backsides and engaging in some good old-fashioned conversation.
The reality is that we are all rapidly losing the art of talking, debating, discussing, arguing, and even writing – yes, even writing hand written notes is a task too far for most of us - because so much of our life is online, and there is no way back now. Even our children, who, in years past would spend most of their waking hours outside playing and interacting, now shut themselves away, unknowingly and unwittingly becoming addicted to their newest IT companions. Best friends that were once flesh and blood, have been replaced by emotionless chips, encased in metal.
However, this post is not designed to try and roll back the years - far from it. We have what we have, and we are what we have become, so let’s get on with it. Rather, this is a post about making the most of the limited time that we now have to communicate with our clients, prospects and customers, and it is about being “succinct”
I rather like this definition: Succinct - “Characterized by clear, precise expression in few words; briefly giving the gist of something.”
You can interpret that as meaning “getting to the point, and avoiding waffle” And that is precisely what our incredibly time constrained clients/prospects/customers want us to be – more so today than ever.
Have you ever wondered why Twitter insist that we precis our posts down to 140 characters? Obviously they identified that a high percentage of what most people have to say is unnecessary, and so they have forced us to be …. well, succinct.
You will have read so many articles, blog posts, and even books, telling us that unless we can bring value, or incremental commercial advantages, or something unique to our business conversations with those clients/prospects/customers, we will continually find ourselves shut-out – not welcome at the party, and certainly not at the top-table. And this is more true today than it ever was.
I am a living example of a modern CEO (yes, I do have a day job!) and as you can imagine, I am inundated daily with a barrage of requests for my time, particularly from companies wanting to sell me something. Of course, I am very sympathetic, because professional front-line selling is what I write about; talk about and even evangelize about. Even so, I have a standard response which I reply with, and it goes something like this …
“Thank you for your message (I am such a polite old-fashioned Englishman) I am assuming that prior to contacting me you did your homework, and were able to justify – to yourself at least – that I would gain incremental value from buying your product/solution/services. Therefore, before I agree to meet with you, could you please share that intelligence with me, and additionally confirm if your product/solution/services can guarantee me improvements, gains, savings, reductions or increases in any area of my business - if yes, which ones?”
That usually weeds out around 95% of approaches. Of the remaining 5%, half of those don’t understand my message, and decide to go for it anyway (not a great strategy with me, as they discover) So we are usually left with about 2 1/2% that have some relevance, and I am delighted to meet with them. I am also naturally “drawn” to those who are direct, concise, and … succinct!
So the next time you communicate with (assuming that your approach was relevant, and you were able to confidently suggest that you could bring incremental value: improvements/gains/savings/reductions/increases) time-strapped buyers, be sure to be succinct. You don’t want them thinking, “One of us could die whilst having this conversation!”
Watch out for an announcement shortly regarding the brand new Top Sales Anti-Prevarication Club (Just kidding – well actually ..)
We not only announce last week’s superb Top 10 Blog Posts over at Top Sales World, but also the week’s brilliant top post – HERE
Do look out for a couple of very interesting guest posts over the weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday: Off to enjoy more of this very spring-like weather – I really do love Paris in the spring time! I feel a song coming on.
Bon w/e a tous!