The technological tools often make it easy to trade down to more impersonal, more transactional mediums. But you don’t have to trade down; you can just as easily trade up to more personal, more value-creating mediums. And by doing so, you can differentiate yourself and create deeper relationships.
- Email to Phone: Trade the next email you are going to send for a phone call. Instead of writing a note that is going to get lost in a sea of distractions, pick up the phone and make it personal. As small as this might seem, it is a major upgrade in communication. You can engage in a dialogue, and you can listen to your client.
- Phone to Face-to-Face: Trade the next phone call you are going to make for a face-to-face visit with your dream client. Instead of discussing whatever it is you need to discuss over the phone, have that discussion in person. Make your presence felt. Showing up demonstrates a greater commitment on your part. It says that you believe your client is worth the investment of time.
- Face-to-Face to Lunch: Trade the next face-to-face visit you are going to have for a working lunch or dinner. Go offsite, get away from the distractions, and spend time getting to know the person you are working with. Make it even more personal. The less formal the meeting, the more you can allow your client to open up and share more about themselves and their needs. This deepens your understanding, it deepens your relationship.
- Lunch to Working Group Meeting: Trade the next lunch you are going to have for a working lunch session for your team and your client’s team. You bring the food, and with it bring three or four big issues you can whiteboard together with your teams. Create greater value by working on big issues and problems. The time you spend working on issues together strengthens the bonds between your teams, and it helps demonstrate your commitment to making improvements.
When the outcome you need is important (and if you are communicating with your client or dream client, it is), trade up to the most effective communication medium available.