businesslunchSales and marketing expert Anthony Iannarino shares his “letter to digital natives”

When a 27-year-old told me, “There’s nothing like meeting face to face,” I was stunned. We’ve all heard that Millennials are tethered to their devices. But that meeting (like so many meetings I’ve had) proved once again that in-person communication enables us to connect in ways that just aren’t possible via email, text, or tweets. We share stories, see facial expressions, use hand gestures, exchange ideas, laugh, and connect on a personal, visceral level. Even a 20-something—who’s probably owned a cell phone since middle school—understands that technology has its limitations.

Every generation impacts the world, but technology has given Millennials tools to make an impact faster than any generation before them. To steal a line from Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. For Millennials that means leading us into the digital age, without losing touch with what makes us human.

Anthony Iannarino writes about these responsibilities in his brilliant post, “An Open Letter to Digital Natives”—which he agreed to share in this week’s No More Cold Calling guest post.

Read on …

“Dear Digital Native,

How fortunate that you were born with all these technologies—technologies that we could have only imagined before your time. The Internet—and the devices you use to reach it and communicate—have changed the world like nothing else in the last century or more, and we are just getting started.

Let’s outline a few responsibilities you have as a condition of being born in this time, and some of the challenges you face.

Go Create: You have access to tools that creators in the past could have only dreamed about. The Beatles didn’t have access to the recording equipment you can buy for a few thousand dollars. Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese couldn’t capture video as cheaply or as easily as you do now. Lorne Michaels didn’t have the ability to shoot sketch comedy as easily as you can. There is nothing stopping you from creating. There is nothing stopping you from expressing yourself in whatever way works best for you.

Market Yourself: No one before you had greater access to the global marketplace at such a low cost. You can sell whatever you decide to offer to anyone anywhere on earth. Because you can so easily communicate with people from around the world, you can offer services to people who live in faraway places, creating value for exactly the people who need you. To succeed in business, you must learn to capture the attention of the people who would benefit from your offering, and you’ll need to learn to sell.

Develop Real Human Relationships: You have already spent too much time behind screens. While you were communicating with people through your online gaming platform, older generations spent their childhoods playing in the street with our friends from the time the sun came up until our parents forced us to come inside. For us, there was nothing to do indoors. For you, there is nothing to do outdoors. The difference is that we developed deep human relationships and people skills, and you haven’t developed these skills at the same level. You aren’t as comfortable in your own skin. You don’t look people in the eyes. You aren’t as confident when dealing with difficult people. You will have to come out from behind the screen and get uncomfortable until you have some chops.

Be a Force for Good: You can use the tools that have been here since your birth to do good. You can use them to help people, to build them up, to make a difference. Many of the people born before you believe these tools are a way to spread fear and hate. They believe social networks are places to share their political opinions. They people fail to recognize that they are not making a difference, and that their energies directed in some other way could produce real change. You have a chance to do good. Do it.

Create Real Wealth: You are growing up in an age where people have a strong misunderstanding about building a business. There are many, especially in the technology space, who believe that you create a business so investors can fund a project that you will flip for billions of dollars. In your lifetime, you will hear more than a few stories where this will be true. But you don’t start a business to gain investments from venture capital firms or angel investors, and you don’t start a business just to flip it. The real path to wealth is to create a business that serves customers well, so you can grow that business over time. Build something you will be proud of, and don’t dabble around the edges.

You were given the tools and the opportunity to make a difference. Take this opportunity and do good work.”

(Read the original version of this post on Anthony’s website.)

AnthonyNMCCAbout the Author
Anthony Iannarino is a B2B sales and marketing executive and sales coach—with an emphasis on entrepreneurial companies that wish to achieve better results through their direct sales forces, and individual sales professionals who wish to improve their sales performance. He teaches sales professionals how to establish and install an effective sales process, set activity objectives, manage sales pipeline, improve close ratios, and improve overall client acquisition. He is also president and chief sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University School of Management and Leadership.