How can your sales team sell if they’re “not there?”
“There’s nothing like meeting people in person.” That’s definitely my belief, but I was stunned to hear these words uttered by a Millennial. We’ve all heard they are tethered to their devices. But my meeting with him (like so many meetings I’ve had) proved that when we’re in another person’s physical presence, we connect in ways that just aren’t possible via email, text, or tweets.
Human beings instinctively know how to connect with others. We share stories, read facial expressions, use hand gestures, exchange ideas, laugh, and connect on a personal, visceral level.
We haven’t rewired ourselves just because the world has gone wireless. We’ve simply forgotten what we know to be true: Face-to-face cannot be replaced for relationship-building. And when it comes to effective sales strategies, relationships are key to closing deals and getting referrals.
Proving the Power of Face-to-Face
This isn’t just my opinion. Social scientists have long studied how people make connections, and why in-person interaction is necessary.
Laura Vanderkam’s article, “The Science of When You Need In-Person Communication,” sums up research about why face-to-face communication trumps the digital variety. A few of her key points:
- Touch Builds Trust … An experiment done by researchers at the University of Chicago and Harvard found that negotiators who shook hands were more open and honest, and reached better outcomes. Shaking hands causes the centers of the brain associated with rewards to activate. You are literally conveying warmth.
- You Pick Up Hidden Messages … Albert Mehrabian, a major figure in the study of non-verbal communication, introduced an equation about contradictory feedback in his 1971 book Silent Messages: “Total feeling = 7% verbal feeling + 38% vocal feeling + 55% facial feeling.” In other words, “the degree of liking conveyed by the facial expression will dominate and determine the impact of the total message.”
- You Mirror Emotions … Italian neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti (and colleagues) developed the idea of “mirror neurons“—when you see a person take some action, your brain fires up the neurons associated with the same action. When your conversation partner smiles, a part of your brain smiles too.
(Read the rest of Vanderkam’s article.)
You Are the Ultimate Sales Technology
Marketing automation, CRM, social media, and other technology tools empower us to sell more efficiently and cost-effectively. But the most effective sales strategies begin and end with relationships.
If you think back over the most successful business deals your sales team has closed, I bet face-to-face, person-to-person, high-touch communication—a phone call, a video conference, or (best of all) an in-person meeting—accelerated your sales process time and time again.
Even in the Sales 2.0 world, the most powerful tool in your sales toolbox is still a human being!
Learn more about how to strike the right balance between technology and relationships in my book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal.