The value of high touch contact is on my mind. In this day and age we are so technology focused that we appear to have forgotten how to pick up the phone or send a handwritten note. We often follow up with prospective clients or strategic partners using email rather than picking up the telephone and having a conversation or leaving a message. I know everyone is really busy- I’m busy, you’re busy, the person we’re reaching out to is busy. However, I believe email is easy for us to dismiss and disregard where a phone call or a handwritten note is much more likely to get someone’s attention. When we forgo using a high touch method in the process of soliciting business or relationships, we lose opportunities and leave money on the table.
This past month I received several personal emails from known colleagues asking me to participate in a workshop, attend a meeting, or consider purchasing their services. These people were not strangers to me; in fact I like them and would say I hold them in high regard. In addition, I had expressed some interest in what they were selling. In each instance, I realized I wasn’t “that interested” and every one of those emails fell off my radar as they dropped lower and lower in my email inbox. I know the polite thing would’ve been to email them back and say, “Thank you for reaching out to me. I have decided that I am not going to go forward with your offer at this time, but thank you for thinking of me.” But like you, I am busy. If I had received a second personal email, following up on my interest, I likely would have responded. They would have brought their offer back to top of mind and I would notice that they took enough interest in me to make a further effort to connect.
In this same period of time, I received phone messages from known colleagues who were interested in having me attend or follow up or take a next step with them. I noticed that although I didn’t necessarily return the phone call immediately, I took those calls more seriously than the similar emails. And returning those calls landed on my to-do list. I followed up with the people who left me phone messages and I did not follow up with the people who left me emails even though the phone calls and emails were of a similar urgency, had kinds calls to action.
When we rely on email to sell our product or service we move fewer prospects from interest to purchase because we forgo having a conversation (high touch) with the potential client. When we are on the phone or in person, our energy and excitement come through and we are having a live sales conversation where we can address any resistance, concerns or obstacles as well as focus in on the benefits. We are going to have much more impact!
My reason for talking about this is because I think this is a place where we leave a lot of money on the table. And I want that money in your pocket! By taking the shortcut of using email to do our selling, we close fewer sales. Email is not a high touch way to reach out to a potential client. When you pick up the phone and make the call, the prospective client feels appreciated, they feel visible and they are much more likely to return the call, even if they’re not planning to accept your offer or whatever it is that you are asking them for. One way or another, you are given the opportunity to reach out to touch them yet again!
My suggestion is for you evaluate how you make contact with potential clients. I know some of you are shy, scared, or lack confidence and email makes communicating easier. I get that and I am going to recommend that you begin stepping into the discomfort by picking up the phone one in three times and see if there is a difference in the response you get. Others of you are thinking “I have so many prospects to communicate with there is no way I can high touch them all!” This is where knowing your ideal client comes into play. The clearer you are on who is really your best client, the more you can focus your high touch efforts on them.
When you haven’t yet developed a connection and you’re attempting to build a relationship, I know that picking up the phone is going to serve you in accomplishing that goal. Another good option is picking up your pen, buying a nice card and sending them feedback or an invitation or a thank you. As much as we rely on email and texting we also are bombarded and overwhelmed by the volume of communication we receive every day. The upside is it has done wonders for us by allowing us to expand our reach and our communication efforts, but high touch is still necessary when you want someone to do business with you.