Ignore the Paradigm Shift; at your peril

Old Style Sales and Marketing

**Rules have Changed**

How do you get information? Where you look up answers to trivia? Do you open an encyclopedia to pull up information on history? Do you still get a Yellow Pages delivered to look up a phone number?

Some information is used multiple places, because as an entrepreneur …you’ve probably already started to skim, and all these tools are interconnected.

Eight reasons digital communication changed the world (use them)

One: Many people and locations can connect and communicate at the same time. Every voice involved in a discussion can engage simultaneously without meeting in the same physical location. Group emails, webcast, and video conferencing (all free) allow all participants to speak face-to-face (screen-to-screen), edit documents, and even sign legal contracts from any computer—anywhere in the world… drop the Mic!

Two: 24/7 availability to address and respond to a question. We engage a topic when we choose. This leisure of communication means that others answer us when they want to as well. Selfish pressing of a potential client to give you their business on your timeline will typically push them away. Old sales tricks involved timing (when to interrupt a conversation), or stopping in the office at five o’clock to get a contract signature (once the secretary had left for the day). Now, if you send me an email with a contract attachment; I will respond when it is best for me to address it. If I review the contract at 2am, I can set my email to be delivered in the morning (so I don’t seem desperate by working at 2am). I can also send a team update email at 2:05am that’s written at 4:20pm to appear to be the most industrious person in the company. We control our timing.

Three: Confirm accuracy and expertise before giving a response. If you don’t know the answer, you don’t have to respond immediately. Look it up. Find an expert who knows more than you on the topic (even if that expert is an internet search). Confirm the right answer so that when you do respond it is a verified fact—rather than your best guess. The person waiting for your answer doesn’t have to know whether you were delayed due to an unexpected phone call, or if you were researching the question. The client’s experience is; you were the expert that provided the insight they can trust with their next need.

Four: Communicate a complete response without interruption. Few conversations are more annoying than those that involve someone asking for information who won’t shut up long enough to listen to the answer. Electronic communication allows deliberate intentionality—up to the point it is sent. Easily share paperwork, illustrations, client endorsements, or almost anything you desire in validating your point and perspective; positioning you as the right expert to trust.

Five: Ignore unwanted advances without a “break-up” talk. At times polite engagement is interpreted as an open door to pushy sales. On behalf of all sales people… I’m sorry. Overly aggressive sales people usually lack the conversational skills that include “appropriate” awareness. This resolution is becoming a cliché; unwanted advances can be filtered to a junk mail folder… permanently (without ever needing to address the offending party) … so be careful to not annoy.

Six: Keep a written record of every step in the sales cycle. Unfulfilled expectations can’t be ignored. Separating actual promises made from unspoken expectations offers clarity and freedom. When a customer complaint arises (it happens to all of us) – our communication history will clearly expose the depth of compromise that you will offer in satisfying the customer. A simple email chain can record every step in the negotiation process… if you record every step of the sales process with confirmation emails.

Seven: Abrupt changes in the trajectory of the conversation are simple and direct and identifiable. There is no longer an uncomfortable group silence when you give “no” for an answer. If a new vendor or partner joins the negotiation; simply forward the pertinent emails. All parties involved are caught up with minimal investment of time. This system carries an intrinsic security against a “biased rewording of the current status” (an old school sales trick that needs exterminated).

Understanding, mural by Robert Lewis Reid. Second Floor, North Corridor. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Caption underneath reads: WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPAL THING THEREFORE GET WISDOM AND WITH ALL THY GETTING GET UNDERSTANDING.

Eight: You don’t have to think quick to reply with wisdom. I wish more people took advantage of this feature. Allowing emotions to subside before responding to an offensive statement is always better than a heartfelt apology afterward. When you are provoked, don’t answer immediately. Watch a video of your children, go for a walk, or do whatever alters the chemicals racing through your system that create the confrontational emotional feeling—and manipulate yourself into a better mood. Once you are chemically balanced… then return and reply with wisdom. Through this entire process, you never leave the conversation – you just leave your self-sabotaging actions and words in the realm of “might have been”.

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