Paul tackles the frustrating issue of relating to a generation that communicates primarily through social media.
DO NOT emphasize their youth!
“We have to connect with them the way that they want to connect because….”
Acts of consideration build relationships.
Take time every day to get to know your customers through social media.
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How do I build a relationship with a generation that only relates to a screen?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today, we are going to answer a question that is coming from the website. This is coming from Beth. Actually, Beth is in the banking industry. We’ve had a lot of requests come in from the banking industry lately. There must be some going on in banking. But anyway, Beth, thank you for submitting the question. And here’s Beth’s question: “How do you create a personal relationship with a generation that only relates to a screen?” What a great question. And I know this is something that frustrates salespeople in all generations, so we’re going to address that question on today’s show.
Before we get into that though, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea, over at The Creative Impostor Studios. I just found out we now have been downloaded in over 66 countries. So the podcast continues to grow. The audience is widening. There’s just a hunger for this message—being able to answer questions that salespeople have. So a lot of the credit goes to Andrea and her team for just helping get this podcast started, helping it continue, and also encouraging, offering some advice and consulting. So if you have a podcast, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, reach out to Andrea and her team. They do an absolutely wonderful job. We’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also in Value-Added Selling, we have an entire chapter dedicated to relationship building. I would encourage you to pick up a copy, have it available, read through it. What’s funny, speaking about relationships, a lot of sales pundits out there talk about relationship selling being dead and that, and our research shows something quite contrary to that. In fact, relationships matter. They matter in all aspects of business, especially in sales. So pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling. It’s available on Amazon or wherever you get your books.
All right, Beth, let’s get back to that question. The question once again, “How do you create a personal relationship with a generation that relates only to a screen?” So a little background. This individual is in the banking industry and they say that the younger generation prefers to communicate through technology versus face-to-face. So, Beth, we’re going to answer your question and it’s not just in the banking industry. I hear this from other salespeople that I work with when I interact with them, they basically tell me, “Look, how do I communicate? How do I get a relationship going with a person that does not want to meet face-to-face?” So we’re going to tackle that today.
So here are a couple of tips. First of all, we’re going to go with a couple of ideas, just some things to think about, Beth, as you’re trying to build these relationships. One thing I would stop doing, first of all, stop viewing them as the younger generation. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve spoken with young salespeople, young customers, old salespeople and old customers, and one thing that the younger generation is getting sick and tired of is being referred to as the, the younger generation, or the Millennials, or the Gen Z or whatever it may be. And I get it. I mean, I’m kind of teetering on the edge of being a Millennial and Gen X-er. I’m like right on the cusp. I think I’m called a cusper. I think that’s the technical term. So kind of in the middle of both.
But here’s the reason why, Beth. Let’s think about our attitude for a moment— our attitude as we are attempting to build relationships. And we have an attitude that tells us, “Oh the younger generation, they only want to meet screen to screen or phone to phone. They don’t want to meet with us face-to-face.” If that’s our mindset, that’s going to come off in our presentation. Our attitude will drive our behavior. And every time we try to reach out to a younger customer, and they prefer to just text us or email us, we’re going to just think, “Oh, well, that’s just them being them. That’s the young people being the young people. They don’t want to meet face-to-face.” We’ve got to get our attitude right. That’s just the reality of it. And it’s not that they’re the younger generation, it’s the fact that they’re your customer. They are first and foremost a customer and their age is really secondary. So we’ve got to view them as the customer. Let’s get our attitude right in that regard. View them as the customer.
And then the second part to that means we have to connect with them the way that they want to connect, because they are the customer. I know that that may be challenging. If they don’t want to connect with us face-to-face then we better figure out a way to connect with them in other ways. Through social networking, whatever media we want to use, we have to find a way to connect with them because they are the customer, and we need to do business the way the customer does business. So keep those two things in mind, Beth.
And that means we’re going to have to connect with them on a personal level using some of these social-media sites. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. I mean, there is countless social-media platforms to keep up with these days. But we need to get involved, we need to get acclimated with those sites and we need to reach out to our prospects and our customers on those sites. We need to get to know them at a personal level. We can build a relationship with them over that social networking site. And once we do that, eventually we’re going to get an opportunity to meet with them face-to-face.
I think it’s funny. I think we can learn some lessons here from an old bank robber. Beth, I know you’re in the banking industry, but I think we can draw an analogy to a famous bank robber. Willie Sutton, the old famous bank robber, when he was asked, “Why do you rob banks,” he said, “Because that’s where the money is.” So if we could play on that a little bit and say, “Okay, why should we go on social-media sites and connect with our customers?” Because that’s where the customers are. We have to go where they are. We have to get comfortable using these platforms.
Now, as you’re doing that, as you’re getting to know them, it’s okay to be personal with them. Be authentic, be yourself, get to know them. Comment on what they’re sharing and learn more about them at a deeper level. I think what you’ll notice, as you connect with them and you get to know the person behind the screen, you’re going to build a relationship with them. It’s naturally going to happen. Relationship building by its very nature is not a simple process. It happens over a long period of time. And as we get to know our customers, we build those stronger relationships. So connecting with them socially is, first and foremost, going to help you build that stronger relationship.
Now, another thing to build on that. So we talked about having the right attitude is the first piece. We talked about getting personal with them, connecting socially on sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, you name them, Twitter, all that stuff. Get to know them personally. Another thing we can do is perform acts of consideration. Once we get to know the customer and we get to know what they’re into, what they’re interested in, then we can perform acts of consideration.
We had a salesperson in one of our training seminars, and this salesperson was talking about connecting with their customers, just on LinkedIn, various sites, things like that. And he learned that his customer was getting ready to take a trip over to Europe. And so the salesperson actually purchased a book on Amazon on how to tour Europe. Basically, it’s like one of the most popular tour books. And so he sent that book to his customer with a note saying, “Hey, enjoy your trip. I just saw that you were going over to Europe. You should have a blast. Hey, maybe this will help guide you.” That’s an act of consideration that is going to help build that relationship. So we want to make sure we’re performing those acts of consideration. Just doing nice things, sharing relevant content, relevant information with your customer electronically screen-to-screen or virtually, that’s going to help build that relationship.
And then finally, this is going to be the other piece, we have to be consistent. So that’s the final tip is be consistent in your relationship-building approach. Building a relationship with someone screen-to-screen, it might be new, especially to someone in the banking industry, which is very much a relationship-driven industry. It might be new trying some of these things, you just have to be consistent in your approach. The more consistent you are in your approach, the more impact you’re going to make in the long run. You’re going to be able to create those stronger relationships. So I would recommend dedicating a certain amount of time every single day to know your prospects or your customers in an online setting on some of those social networking sites.
If you’re not allowed to do that during the business day, or if you’re not supposed to be doing that kind of stuff, I get it. That’s fine. Just carve out some time in the morning or in the evening and just get a little more active on these social sites. Again, it might be uncomfortable at first, but hey, that uncomfortable feeling you have is a sign of growth. That means you’re getting better. So hang in there, be consistent.
So just to recap. Number one: stop viewing them as the younger generation. That means we’ve got to look at our own attitude and realize they are the customer first and we’ve got to connect with them the way they want to connect. Number two: we need to be personal with them. Connect with them on these social networking sites. Really get to know the person behind the purchase. And then number three: we want to perform acts of consideration for them. Just do nice things, things that you would appreciate. Being able to do those things is going to build that relationship. And finally, we’ve got to be consistent in our approach.
Make it a big day.