In the age of electronic communication how do I stay relevant? It wasn’t that long ago that we conducted ourselves in a completely different manner. Flashback to 2005; Facebook was unknown to most of us, my email traffic was less than 25 to 30 messages a day, I carried a flip-phone, and while working as a distribution sales rep I received the majority of my purchase orders by fax, and spent about three hours a day on the phone. Ah the good old days… Maybe, maybe not.
Today it’s not uncommon to receive over 100 emails per day. We communicate with others via social media, text message, and various other impersonal methods, but that seems to be the “in” thing. The “relationship” sale is much more challenging in this environment however not impossible. There are some simple but important things you should consider when dealing with your customers in today’s climate.
Response time is critical. Since the public at large are smart phone users and have access to email at any time and place, the expectation for a quick response is high. Often, if you don’t respond quickly, your competitor will. Schedule face to face meetings when appropriate, as this is still the best form of communication and the easiest way for you to understand your customer’s needs and read their expressions. Remember Birthdays and other important personal events of your regular customers. Social media sites like LinkedIn can help you remember these dates.
A simple thing like including a headshot photo in your email signature can help to personalize the message and help the customer feel more engaged and of course proof read your messages before they are sent. Customers will likely be put off by spelling or grammatical errors since they can reflect on you and your company.
Nine emails just came in while writing this, so I better get back to work…