“If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place
If you can”
Diana Ross

Making contact is more than smiling sweetly at someone and hoping they will smile back and strike up a conversation. It is more than reaching out and touching someone’s hand, it is more than picking up a telephone and saying ‘hello, how are you’, it’s more than being on social media and ‘liking’ someone’s post.

It’s when two points meet and something happens.

When you learn how to fly a plane, before you insert the key, turn the key and start the engine, one of the first things you learn is to lean out the window and shout CLEAR PROP. Then the key is turned, contact is made and the journey begins.

In doesn’t matter if it is a plane, a bus, a bike, you do something to start it. You flick a switch, turn a dial or push a button. For contact to be made, even in the world of sports, you kick the ball, hit the ball or throw the ball. Nothing will happen without contact of some sort.

And this isn’t just inanimate objects it happens to, but also animate objects – people.

For anything to happen, everything needs to have contact with something or someone. By you reading this article, you are coming in contact with me through my words and you’re thinking ‘hey, that’s me she’s talking to’. You and I have made contact through words on a page.

Think to what gets your attention. What pushes your buttons? What gets you actively engaged?

If you want to contact a buyer and you are constantly calling them or spamming or email blasting them about your product, is that an approach that would flick your switch? Are you even remotely turned on by some Prince of Nigeria emailing you that his sister is sick and needs a cool million dollars transferred into his African bank account?

So how does contact happen with a potential buyer in today’s noisy world?

Just like calling CLEAR PROP to check that it’s all safe and clear around the blades of our propeller before we turn the key and start the engine, we’ve also got to check in with ourselves and make sure it’s all safe and clear before we initiate contact with a potential buyer, especially making sure we have their best interests in our sight.

I believe engaging contact occurs when the propeller blades intersect – namely, the CHANNEL you use to convey your message, the CREDIBILITY of you and your branding and the CLARITY of your message that invokes others to want to make contact with you.
Let’s step back in time for a minute.

What channels did we use in the past to make contact with each other short of sending pigeons, pounding out a message on the talking drums or sending up smoke signals?

The telegraph, telegrams and telephones for starters before revolutionary faxes and the game changing ‘book of face’ came along.

And in business, how did we make contact with our potential buyers?

We door knocked, we sent out bulk mailers (totally focused on us, of course) and we cold called. In most cases we had our checklist of ‘9 different responses to objections’ in our top pocket because chances are we would need to use them.

We advertised on radio, TV and in the Yellow Pages at ridiculous financial cost.

Fast forward to today – and things have really changed.

We have technology to thank for that, but we also have the fact that as a human species we are wired to seek communities and connectedness through people who are like us and who we like. People that have the same interests and values and belief systems that we have. Technology has allowed us to make contact with those people and allowed those people, to also make contact with us, at the press of a button or the click of a mouse.

As a community we are able to share so much more of ourselves and our individual worlds by being the social beings that we have always been. What has amplified everything is a different platform – social media, and it won’t be going away anytime soon.

It is not a fad or a phase. It is a platform for us to make contact and connect. To share stories, case studies, photos, new product launches, social status updates, personal marketing, information portals and even online dating.

Being social in this Connection Economy has allowed us to network in real time though online forums. It’s given us the flexibility to play games with friends, and membership dating sites such as E-Harmony and RSVP, are becoming the norm.

In the old world, making contact with potential buyers was a push mentality. We instigated and drove contact with our potential buyers because if we didn’t, they would never know we existed.

And when we did eventually meet with them, we did so with ease because they were ignorant when it came to knowing what was available to them. They had no way to research us. They trusted us as salespeople and in many cases, that trust was abused by salespeople ‘stitching them up’ or out to ‘just do a deal’ and move onto the next potential contract to sign, with no interest in a win/win collaboration.

What was important in the past was what was said long after we walked out of the room.

Today, what’s important, is what is said long before we even walk into the room.

What channel are you using to make contact with your potential buyer and how are you doing so to provide value so you become attractive?

What is your branding and your reputation that makes you a credible and obvious person of interest to your potential buyer?

What do you bring to the market that is different and worthy of making change happen in your potential buyers world?

Time to shout CLEAR PROP and check what’s in front of us before we wing our next call, conversation or contact attempt.

Be Bold and Brilliant!

Bernadette McClelland - Keynote speaker


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Bernadette McClelland is a keynote speaker, sales leadership consultant, and a sales support team member for companies, in growth-mode, that need to quickly build a bridge between business goals and sales results.

Image courtesy of Eric Kilby

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