Today’s article was spark by a group conversation in Jeff Bajorek‘s new membership group Rethink The Way You Sell. Members were talking about how checking your mobile phone can a disruption and a sign of disrespect when you’re meeting with clients, which is absolutely true most of the time… BUT… I had a different point of view (don’t I always?)
Your Phone is an effective tool — if you’re using it correctly.
I’m going to challenge your assumptions here (it’s kind of “my thang”). I actually use my phone to augment my conversations with people — and my friends and customers alike have now come to expect it from me.
When I am in a conversation (it works especially well in groups of 3 or more) and someone references an interesting article, or is trying to think of an author or an actor (you know… that guy from that thing. The one with the girl…) instead of people wracking their brains and having the conversation stall out while they sift through their memories, I simply pick up my phone and Google the answer. Once I find what I am looking for, I share the result with the group and the conversation continues.
I was in a sales meeting a few weeks ago and the guy leading the discussion was talking about the burgeoning industry ripe for development by the sales team. He was trying to instill a roomful of salespeople with some curiosity and hunger to explore the the possibilities of this new business category and it wasn’t have the effect he wanted.
While he was trying to cajole and tempt them into buying into the concept, I Googled up some stats on how much the industry was projected to rake in, how many new stores and locations were scheduled to open in the coming year, how much the major corporate product manufacturers were valued at, etc.
As I shared each sexy stat (reading it directly from my phone) you could see the sales team begin to perk up based on the research I found via my mobile phone.
Once the sales team began to buy into the premise, the conversation turned to what companies they should reach out to, and who they should contact within those companies, etc. While they unintentionally began to place hurdles in their own path, I continued Googling and scanning articles, and company Press pages, and LinkedIn profiles. I began naming potential points of contact and email addresses, and the sales team scribbled them down so they could get right to work at the conclusion of the meeting.
I was meeting one-to-one in a brainstorm session with a personal trainer in town who needed ideas for expanding her business. I came up with the idea she should sell a personalized piece of training equipment unique to her personalized program. A quick bit of Google research showed there was no results for anyone else selling a product like it, as well as some resources I uncovered for having the items customized within just a few miles of the coffeeshop in which we were meeting.
Reaching for the phone
Reaching for the phone during these meetings saves time, adds value for my clients and co-workers, and shortens the ramp up time need to transition from taking notes in a meeting to taking meaningful action. They don’t have to leave the meeting in order to do research or to schedule another meeting to discuss that research.
An important thing to note is that I originally had to “train” people in the context of me accessing my phone.
Friends and clients were used to people picking up a phone to mindless check a social feed and see if they had email. They needed to know I was picking up my phone to bring greater depth and value to the conversation we were having. Now they all fully expect me to chime in with the obscure fact, answer to the trivia question, or to hear their text alert to DING when I’ve forwarded them pertinent links or information.
I’ve been on phone calls where another person will say “Don’s probably looking that up right now…” (and they’re right!)