Guest Blog: Pick Up the Damn Phone!: It's People, Not Technology, That Seal the Deal

5 min read

By Joanne Black The digital world is alluring, exciting, and a powerful business-development tool in many ways. But it also threatens our ability to build personal connections and maintain the kind of relationships that are like gold for salespeople. Even with whisper-light computing power and immediate, 140-character Twitter posts, our species thrives on interpersonal communication, face-to-face contact, and being in the presence of like-minded individuals. Email, texting, marketing automation, CRM, and social networking all have a place in sales. But while these technological innovations are great for quick, to-the-point communication, they do not build real connections. Real relationships are built and nurtured with in-person communication, handshakes, shared meals, and valuable conversations—not with social-media posts and impersonal emails. Has technology changed the way we sell? Yes and no. It has certainly changed the way we gather information about prospects. It’s also changed how they learn about us, as well as their expectations of us. And let’s face it: If you’re not active on social media, you’re about five steps behind. But at the end of the day, people still buy the same way—one person to another. Technology Traps Technology makes our lives (and work) more exciting and, in many ways, more efficient. But it can also wreak havoc on our relationships and ability to function in the real world. Before we know it, the technology that was supposed to make our lives easier is running our lives. We can’t sleep without our smart phones within reaching distance. Even on vacation, we bring work with us (or at the very least, clients can reach us). We can’t even get through a business meeting without showing off some sort of tech savvy. Technology addiction is a very real phenomenon, and while the need to be hyper-connected isn’t healthy for anyone, it’s particularly dangerous for salespeople, whose careers depend on the ability to nurture relationships with clients and referral sources. The Power of a Handshake Even in our technology-driven world, nothing replaces a handshake and in-person interaction for both building and maintaining business relationships. In fact, 95 percent of business people agree that face-to-face contact is the key to building long-term relationships, according to Harvard Business Review. Executives are busy people. Most don’t have “meet with salesperson” at the top of their to-do lists. Our job is to quickly and effectively prove that we deliver real value. And technology won’t do that for us, nor will it give us a huge advantage over our competitors, who are using the same gadgets, gizmos, and applications. What will give you an edge is a well-connected, well-nurtured network of people who are ready and willing to refer you. While you’re meeting with decision-makers, your competition will still be fooling around with technology. To succeed in sales, we must make connections that matter. And those connections are cemented with face-to-face meetings or phone calls, not with status updates. That’s right—it’s still people, not technology, that seal the deal. About the Author Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. As the founder of No More Cold Calling, Joanne helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners build their referral networks, attract more business, decrease operating costs, and ace out the competition. She is the author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit, email, or call 415-461-8763.