We owe a lot to the technology that allows us to live in the age of convenience. With just a click of a mouse we can summon groceries, prepared meals and nearly every product imaginable delivered right to our front doors. We don’t have to leave our houses or even change out of our pajamas. B-to-B client relations have become fairly similar. Why have meetings in person when you can just call them? Why bother to call your clients when you can just send them an email? Heck, why even bother to write out an individual email when you can just copy and paste the same one to each client with minor differences? See where I’m going here?
While technology is fantastic and allows us to accomplish so many things quickly and more conveniently than before, we forget that quick and convenient isn’t always better when it comes to the service we give our clients. We think clients won’t notice that the email they’re receiving from us is generic and pasted, but they do. Not only that, how useful can a generic email be? Checking in on your clients without providing something useful for their particular needs rarely does anything but waste time.
And, eventually, your clients will begin to ignore your emails.
In the article, “On Cultivating Meaningful Connections With Customers or Why Technology Is The Path To The Dark Side,” Maz Iqbal tells the story of an order he got from Amazon. He had ordered from the website before, but this time he made a purchase from a third-party seller on Amazon. When the package arrived, instead of finding the generic paperwork that normally comes inside an Amazon box that is quickly discarded and not thought of again, he found a simple, hand-written thank you note on a sticker. He notes that this discovery not only delighted him, it compelled him to do his research on the seller who would take the time to write a note and gave him a five star rating on the website. He also notes that he had never felt motivated to rate anything he had gotten directly from Amazon, regardless of the regular emails the company sends out after every purchase.
B-to-B salespeople can learn a lot from a story like this. It highlights the value of human interaction and how rare and pleasant it is in the introverted age of technology. At this point, it doesn’t take much personalization to catch the eye of your clients. The next time you start to send out a mass email, give your clients a call instead. When you close a sale, write your client a thank you note on an actual card. The time you take will be noticed, appreciated and set you apart from the other salespeople bidding for your clients’ attention.