With greater access to communications channels, we often communicate is reactive mode - that is, in response to someone else's urgency. This isn't always bad, but when it becomes the practice, rather than the exception, it interferes with your ability to plan your work and work your plan.
You would think this would make us more cautious and conservative with the volume of information we produce and consume. However, just the opposite is happening. We just can't help it.
In this episode of Myths of Selling to Government, host Rick Wimberly talks about the three elements that must be present for us to communicate effectively with our prospects and, well, everyone - relevance, timeliness and reliability.
Before podcasting and sales guru’ing, I was a standard corporate type. It seems there were times it seemed as if our whole day was spent simply responding to unplanned urgent email, voicemail, Slack requests, office pop ins, phone calls, whatever the popular communication method of the day was. It was as if our entire work schedule was dictated by what popped up… as opposed to us “planning the work, and working the plan.”
You can probably relate. With greater accessibility and an exponential increase in communications options and devices, we often communicate in reactive mode—that is in response to someone else’s urgency. It’s not always a bad thing, but it can lead to communication shortcuts and heightened frustrations that inhibit meaningful interactions and collaborations.
With all this crazyness, you would think each of us would be cautious and conservative with the volume of information we produce and consume. However, just the opposite is happening. We’ve become addicted to information as a society, having an insatiable lust for more.
Meantime, the written word is preferred over verbal interactions - “put it in writing” as opposed to popping off at the mouth willy-nilly.
That’s not why we do it, though. We don’t think through our messages carefully before we send them. We send them because, we just can’t help it.
This can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications…as clues such as voice inflection, facial expressions are not a part of the communication stream.
It is a mistake to think these misunderstandings only happen with close friends and co-workers. Interchanges with prospects and partners are just as susceptible.
So, given the challenges of communicating in today’s world, how do we create outstanding interpersonal connections with prospects in order to enhance our relationship? There are many factors. However, we believe there are three main components that must exist before solid communications can occur: relevance, timeliness and reliability.
One, Be Relevant. Simply providing information to prospects is not, within itself, enough to enhance communications and further the relationship. The information exchanged must be perceived as being relevant. This is even more important in today’s world where information overload is reaching SPAMdemic proportions.
As salespeople, we must be selective on the information we attempt to push to prospects. Approaching each and every outreach, we should ask ourselves, “Will this information truly and uniquely answer a prospect question or help solve a prospect problem?” If not, you’re likely wasting your time and making little headway cultivating a deeper relationship. If so, it can be a thing of beauty.
Secondly, Be Timely. The timing of the information exchange is critical to its impact on relationship development. Really good outreach efforts at a really bad time will at best, be ignored, and at worst, create a perception that you are self-serving and insensitive. Many times, it’s impossible to know whether or not your communication efforts are coming at a good time or not. So ask. Simple courtesies such as asking, “Is this a good time to talk about this?” or, “Would this information be helpful to you?” will be appreciated.
And, third, Be Reliable. This piece of the communications pie can only be illustrated over time. Great communication doesn’t happen overnight, but instead improves as interactions occur over time as information exchanges are proven accurate and dependable. While we may not be able to remember details of each of these interactions, our minds appear to be able to store assessments of these various touch points. Thus, we develop overall feelings about certain people and whether or not their word can be trusted.
While it’s impossible to do justice to the topic of communications in the context of this podcast, the simple practice of focusing on relevant, timely and reliable communications methods will help overcome barriers to personal interaction and improve overall relationship commitment and trust.
Considering their need for information and documentation that will not get them in trouble down the road, government buyers are particularly appreciative of reliable information.