Whilst reading The Globotics Upheaval by Richard Baldwin I was reminded of just how important it is for agency new business people and heads to resist the simplicity and convenience of the conference call. In chapter 9, Globotics Resolution: A More Human, More Local Future, he explores the jobs that neither telecommuters nor AI will readily take over from humans; one of the sources he extrapolates data from is “A Future That Works: Automation, Employment and Productivity” published by McKinsey Global Institute in January 2017.
In the section called WHEN IS BEING LOCAL AN EDGE (page 252) he explores the jobs that will naturally sheltered and the reasons why, one of which (arguably the most important) are those roles where face-to-face communication matters. A short quote from his text …
Communication is more than just words. When people are face to face in the same room, psychological experiments suggest that less than 30 percent of the information exchanged stems from the words spoken – some communication researchers put the number as low as 7 percent. The rest is nonverbal.
Having just read this book I then had a meeting (naturally face-to-face!) with a new business prospect who was using one of our competitors; two things they were doing immediately struck me as wrong.
- They were mass emailing thousands of potential clients each week and then following up with a telephone call only those who ‘clicked on the email’.
- Once they spoke to these ‘hot leads’ (as they were referred to) they would arrange a telephone call for the agency MD with the prospect; not a physical meeting.
Leaving the first point to one side for now (to be addressed in another post) let’s consider the reason for having a conversation with a new business prospect in the first place; the reason is to gain their trust and empathy; to get to know them; to build rapport and even maybe a degree of friendship. In short, to begin a relationship that will lead to the prospective client trusting you with their business problems and listening to your ideas on how you can help them solve those problems.
You are never going to build such relationships over the telephone, so, no matter the distance, no matter the inconvenience, visit your prospective new clients if their situation reveals them to be a qualified lead; and if your new business agency can’t be trusted to qualify your leads to that degree, consider changing partner.