Technology makes it easy to speed through (and around) sincerity.
Be warned, I can tell when I am just number 345 on your database – even though you begin your email with my first name: “Hi Mike!”
Please don’t get me wrong. I have purchased all the toys and I love playing with them. I am the first one to check my emails while exiting an airplane and sending the latest gizmo whammy by FTP up to my website. But after reading this article again, I also think that I am going to sit right down and write somebody a letter, with a pen… on paper, and stick it in an envelope… and write from my heart… and lick the stamp myself.
I bet that it will take more time than I am used to taking, but I am also betting that I will feel good sticking it in a mailbox knowing that some live human being, with a mail bag slung over their shoulder, will be delivering my message in person.
As I question the balance between high tech and high touch, I am probably going to show my age. To end the guessing game right from the giddy-up, I will give you a hint. On the year I was born, a gallon of gas cost 17 cents and the Dow Jones Average was a whopping 179. Average income was $2,959 and the price of a new car was $1,420. Perhaps a more poignant reference is the fact that I remember the days when to change television stations (there were six of them in the NYC area) required getting up off the couch.
But before you place me on the wrong side of the argument, I am one of the savvier techno quasi-geeks in the business. Sure, there are many who know more, but there are lots more out there who know and understand less.
I have a question for you: When was the last time you had trouble reading a handwritten letter? I am betting that you cannot remember. Not that this adds or subtracts to the message in this article. I was just wondering; do you even remember what the word penmanship means? Rumor has it that schools stopped teaching this technique years ago.
I have always preached the importance of keeping things real. I like to believe that I live a reality-based life. And today’s reality is built on bits and bytes, movement and change, ups and downs, ins and outs, and I hesitate to report… yings and yangs. I am not suggesting that we live in yesterday’s world. Life today is what it is, fast and totally dependent upon technology. The scary part is that those in the know have bluntly stated that we have not seen anything yet. Now this, in and of itself, is a spooky thought.
How did we survive without email? Or the cell phone? Or autoresponders? Call forwarding? Voice mail? Beepers? The Internet? iPods? Cable TV? XM Radio? Smart Phones? Wireless Hot Spots? Game Boys? Or on-line dating services? All fun stuff. Did I forget to mention GPS? (How did you ever find your cousin’s house without it?)
Slowly but surely, we have fallen into the technology trap. We may be getting our communications out fast and furious, but at the high price of failing to actually communicate. Have we sacrificed meaning for speed? Thanks to the wonders of technology, we may be multi-tasking ourselves right out of business. And this is not what we should be striving for.
So, in the interest of delivering a timely message, I want to caution you and ask you to slow down long enough to think what you are doing as far as technology goes. How is your grasp of bits and bytes affecting your relationships with your customers and prospects? Are they embracing and cherishing the relationship? Or are you simply screaming at your customer, “Hey, I’m talking to you. I am techno-savvy, and way ahead of the curve!”
I am reminded of a very simple analogy. Most people give credit to dogs believing that a dog can actually tell when a human is frightened of it. I believe this as well. But what most people fail to realize is that most people have developed over time the same built in capability when it comes to reading other people. I know when I am important to you and when I have your attention. I can tell when your words ring true and your efforts are sincere. I can tell when you and I are on the same page. I can tell. Think about it!
Doesn’t it make sense for us to finally heed the message Paul Simon shared with us back in 1967 when he sang: “Slow down. You’re moving too fast. You’ve got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobblestones … looking for fun and feeling groovy.”
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.