Volume 17, Issue 6- November/December 2013
The Key to Success
I recently read an article in the New York Times about communication and how it has changed as a result of social media. The story suggests that today’s generation of 20- and 30-year-olds choose social media as their preferred choice of communication over having an “old-fashioned” face-to-face conversation. I agree. I have a niece and nephew in their teen years who prefer to text me rather than pick up the phone and speak to me. I, of course, would much rather hear the inflections in their voices rather than the “ding” notifying me that yet again, they have something to “say” to me.
If recent college graduates prefer to text, Tweet and Facebook, how are they going to succeed in business? Let’s face it; you have to be able to sell your company to your peers verbally.
Calls vs. Email
I sell window film to people all over the country. My territory extends into Canada. It is virtually impossible for me to meet with everyone face-to-face. However, I do pick up the phone and try to have a conversation with everyone. I find that if I have a conversation with the potential client, I close about 50 percent more of those inside sales than those I am only able to email. Try this exercise in your own office. Follow the sales outcomes of your three groups of potential clients: those you were only able to email, those you could not physically meet with but spoke to over the phone and finally, the ones you actually met in person. I think you will be surprised by the end result!
Internet is Your Friend
Finally, building long-term partnerships with industry members is no different. If you believe you are going to find new business partners solely by contacting people through social media, you may be very disappointed in the long run. You, as a business owner, need to participate in industry-related functions. You need to go the extra mile and spend personal time building relationships with owners, architects, automotive sales managers, etc.
Many of you go to a jobsite or job walk, introduce yourselves to the person you are supposed to meet and then complete the task at hand. What if you spent an additional 10-15 minutes walking around and familiarizing yourself with the other contractors? You might find this exercise will lead your company to future business.