Surprise! Your success isn’t determined by the number of devices that connect you to the outside world.

There’s nothing like getting the gang together. Salespeople have great power and energy when we gather in person and share successes, ideas, and information. At conferences, we learn as much through conversations with peers in the hallways as in the sessions. But there’s no “hallway” on the World Wide Web.

At a recent conference, an attendee sat at my table and proceeded to place the following three devices on the table, one at a time:

  1. iPhone
  2. iPad
  3. Laptop

All three. Right in front of her. During a conference presentation. So much for being present.

No Toys at the Table

My conference tablemate worked on all three devices during the entire presentation. Maybe she was tweeting, answering emails, or writing a blog post. I’ll never know for sure. But I do know she couldn’t possibly give her full attention to the speaker. So why did she attend? How was she connecting to the speakers, her fellow tablemates, and other conference attendees?

How hard is it to just unplug? New, fancy technology is alluring. It’s easy to get sucked into the digital universe. But you need to connect person-to-person first if you ever intend to expand your network. The power of connections is infinite—and I’m not talking about computers.

The New Technology Problem

In the article, “Internet Addiction Can Harm Real Relationships” (San Francisco Chronicle; November 15, 2009), Benny Evangelista writes about the signs of technology addiction.

Here are some questions to ask if you think you are addicted to the Internet:

  • Do you spend excessive time online, or more than you intended?
  • Do you feel more depressed or lonely the more time you spend online?
  • Do you have a heightened sense of euphoria while online or using a computer?
  • Is it interfering with your job or school performance?
  • Do family or friends complain about the time and energy you spend online
  • Do you frequently choose spending time online over going out with other people?
  • Do you hide, lie or become defensive about online activities?

More recently, Jim Taylor writes, “Is Technology the New Opiate of the Masses?”:

“The words Internet and addiction have become conjoined and are now a part of our technology lexicon (usually by people who say it dismissively with a smirk as they ingest this drug through their favorite delivery system, whether computer, tablet, or smartphone). A 2010 survey found that 61% of Americans (the number is higher among young people) say they are addicted to the Internet. Another survey reported that “addicted” was the word most commonly used by people to describe their relationship to technology.”

Bring Back Balance

Has our dependence on technology gone a little too far? What’s happened to our ability to talk to people, to share ideas face-to-face, to connect on both a business and personal level? People do business with people. Period.

Connect With Real People… Through Referrals

There’s a saying among salespeople that customers buy with emotion and justify with fact. If people don’t like us or don’t feel comfortable with us, they won’t connect or build relationships with us.

You can wow people with technology know-how now and try to win them over later, once they find out you’re honest and reliable. But the reality is, you need people to start liking you within the first few seconds of your relationship. That’s really all you have to get off on the right foot.

And fancy gizmos won’t make that happen. But a trusted referral and a personal connection will. You make the effort, you win.

What’s Your Greatest Tech Addiction?

What’s your first connection of the day? Saying, “Good morning” to a live person, or checking your email? I guarantee the personal hello makes your day a whole lot better.  Comment here and join the referral-selling, person-to-person conversation.