Taking Time to Connect
How are you doing when it comes to connecting? Is your signal weak? Are you talking with people or talking at them? Are you able to truly communicate? Sending emails and email marketing campaigns doesn’t mean you’re connecting.
Think about it…why do you use technology? So you can tweet what you ate for breakfast or so you can connect with people? As a confessed technology addict, here are eight steps to connecting and recovery!
Step 1: Use Technology to Stay in the Loop
Recently, I had a client say, “I don’t do emails well.” That is simply unacceptable in business today. That is no different than saying that you don’t have a website. If you don’t have a smart phone or something equivalent, you are losing business. If you are technophobic, then hire a consultant that can help you overcome your fears
Step 2: Set Boundaries
However, just because you have access to your emails doesn’t mean you need to respond to a customer inquiry at 3 a.m. Set boundaries and guidelines and remember that responding within 48 hours is perfectly acceptable. Just because we live in a drive-thru society doesn’t mean we need to be that fast all the time.
Step 3: Recognize When You Need to Delegate
If you feel like you have to check your emails when you wake up to get a glass of water in the middle of the night, you may need to teach yourself to step away from the phone and begin delegating “who responds to what” within your company. The CEO can’t do it all and be it all. A good leader knows when to delegate.
Step 4: Have Technology Etiquette and Teach Your Employees to Do the Same
Recently, I was at a meeting and one of the team members looked down and started checking her email during the middle of the meeting. I wanted to say, “Am I boring you that much?” Nothing should be so important that you can’t leave your phone tucked away for 45 minutes and give your undivided attention to the people you’re with. If you are waiting for something, then apologize in advance and excuse yourself from the table before reaching for your phone.
Step 5: Pick Up the Phone
At least once a day, when you have a question, need an answer, or need to follow up with someone, resist the urge to email them. Instead, pick up the phone and connect. It doesn’t take that much time, but is imperative in building interpersonal skills with people
Step 6: Step Back from Email Marketing
Email marketing software like Icontact, Constant Contact and Mail Chimp are all awesome and important in your business. But even I will admit, I get tons each day I just delete. People don’t want to be sold. People will buy from people they like and read information from emails that are bringing them direct value. Remember, they have to connect with you to like you. Email software will help you avoid anti-spam violations, but you won’t soar to success if it is your main way of communicating with your customers.
Step 7: Expand your Brand
Never forget the power of branding via print, billboard ads or direct mail. Electronic marketing can be less expensive than traditional media however, branding your business in all forms of marketing is crucial to standing out and shining above your competition. Successful businesses have the budget to expand their brand.
Step 8: Cross-train
Train everyone, from the top to the bottom, on how to promote your company. Know that an automated phone system might make your company look bigger, but become smaller. Nobody likes to press a bunch of buttons and everyone wants to talk to someone who can help them. Everyone that works at your company is a salesperson; the receptionist is the most important one!
Yes, all of the above steps take more time, energy, and effort. In today’s society, people have learned to depend on technology because it is faster and easier. But working these 8 steps actually teaches your customers that it is worth your time, energy and effort because you care about them. That is the key to personally connecting. Do what is better for your client – not what is easier for your company.
Remember, the people who take the time to go the extra mile actually get to the top a lot faster.
Kathleen Hawkins is the president and founder of WOAMTEC (WOAMTEC.com), a premier business building organization for professional women.