All hail the new Renaissance in communication! We are truly in a wondrous age when it comes to reaching out to our fellow human beings. Never have so many been able to communicate with so many others on a variety of mind numbing topics that bear little consequence in the lives of others!
I can use my phone to video record a hamster balancing a toothpick on his nose. Upload that quaint little video up to You Tube and sit back while four million of my closest friends view this rodent superstar claim his fifteen minutes of fame! The next thing you know, Snowball’s acrobatic feat is being mentioned as a side bar on CNN!
Going out to Facebook (which I have yet to do), I can see that my dear friend in Botswana is having a “blue day.” Forget the fact that we became connected yesterday and that I know absolutely nothing about her or her life. She has posted her dilemma on my electronic “wailing wall” and I must give her words of encouragement. I leave behind my “carpe diem” comment, along with the sentiments of 5,000 plus other people that she has never even met!
I visit Linked In, where along with my 3,200 or so “connections” I make a shameless commercial plug for my business. Of course I have learned the game, and mask my sales pitch in a thinly veiled shroud of innocence by posting it as a business question. I will allow people to render their opinions for about a week and then will pounce on them with the only available answer to the question; my company’s products and services!
If you read my latest book “Announcing a Flight Delay; Horror Stories from a Road Warrior,” you will see that I am a global businessman. (Memo to myself: veil the sales pitch for my book in a slightly more opaque fabric next time! Okay to mention that it is available on Lulu and Amazon!) I have conducted business in over seventy countries and in five languages. The companies that I have led as a CEO have offered very high-end products and services; leading to incredibly long sales cycles and expensive purchases.
I have yet to Skype any of my prospective or existing customers. I have never used an Internet-based conferencing service to present or demonstrate my products and services! In fact, I resent that oftentimes I need to communicate with my prospects via email or telephone! It is all too impersonal for my taste!
Having logged over one million air miles in my career; you can guess what my preference is. I want to see the glimmer in that other person’s eyes as they realize that what I have to offer is critical to their business success. I want to feel that firm handshake as the deal is consummated. I want to sit across the table from my prospect, break bread with them, sip some of the local wine, and learn all about their children.
Yes, my approach makes no sense in today’s bottom line driven world. Surely my cost of sales is higher than most people’s. I am certain that I could make better use of my time by not spending fourteen hours in the air between San Francisco and Sydney. However, I have no doubt that my “sales closure rate” is well above the norm.
So do we play the numbers game and let technology access more prospective customers in a shorter period of time? Or do we take the prehistoric approach of personally calling on prospective customers, knowing that we are limited by the number of hours in the day? Let’s put it this way; each of my customers can truly call me their friend! I can think of no better definition of “business success!”