The digital tools we use are augmentation, not a replacement for better communication mediums, ones that indicate caring.
The fact that you have the ability to use email to communicate with your prospective client does not make that the right choice for many of your client communications. If there were no email, would regular mail through the post office be the right medium for that communication? Would you choose to communicate using an asynchronous medium, or would an asynchronous medium, like the phone or a face-to-face meeting better serve your outcomes?
Tools like Zoom.us, Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts allow you to video conference. This medium is synchronous, so it is much better than an asynchronous communication (even though sending asynchronous video is worth your time and attention). The test as to whether this is the right choice comes down to the intention behind using it. Is it because you can’t be face-to-face? Or is it because you don’t really want to be inconvenienced?
Digital is generally more transactional in nature. Human to human communication is more strategic, and of greater value and efficacy. Real life relationships need to be augmented by the digital tools, not reduced to them. This makes your physical presence a strategic initiative and a way to create a preference.
If you show up when no one else does, you have demonstrated that the relationship means more to you than it does to the person who sent an email. When you go out of your way to visit your client at their location, you create a competitive mismatch with the people who have never stepped foot in your dream client’s building, who haven’t met the people who work there, and who haven’t taken the time to sit across from the person who is trying to decide who they want as a partner.
Presence is a strategic advantage. Showing up, for many of us, is how we compete and win. The digital tools and digital channels dominate the attention of sales organizations and many sales leaders now, often as a way to reduce the costs of selling. But there is still nothing more expensive than losing, and when winning matters, it’s best to show up.
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