Last week, I attended the Association of Briefing Program Managers (ABPM) Fall Workshop Series in Chapel Hill, NC. While there, Tim Larson of Downstream led a session on “cool tools,” where he shared what he believes will be the impact of big data and the Internet of Things on customer-facing communications.
The stats were mindblowing.
By 2020, 212 billion “things” will be networked and 5 billion people will have access to the Internet – that’s 40 times more devices than people. This Internet of Things is expected to generate $14.4 billion of value over the next decade. A recent post in the HBR Blog Network, The Internet of Things Will Change Your Company, Not Just Your Products, detailed some of the emerging challenges for companies competing in the Internet of Things marketplace.
At ABPM, Tim talked specifically about the array of smart, responsive environments, and digital presentation tools that are showing up in corporate headquarters and meeting rooms around the world. Everything, it seems, is becoming an “interface.”
What effect will cool tools have on how you talk with your customers?
How will they change the way you plan for your customer engagements or briefings? I’m reminded of an adage from my youth: “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
Whether you’re using a large touch-screen video wall or an interactive smart room, the technology is a means to an end. It may be an entertaining, easier, or more interactive way for you to highlight information that’s relevant to your listeners. While it’s important to develop a level of comfort using these new tools, the tools shouldn’t change the substance of your conversation with customers – nor should they substitute for substance.
Remember: the “cool tool” is not the presentation. It’s just that – a tool.
While cool tools are captivating and can help to convey relevance and credibility, they don’t change the fundamentals. The most important element of any customer interaction is still the customer!
Do your research. Know your audience. Find out what’s important to them before they come to visit. Think through and prioritize 2-3 key points that you want to share.
When you’re with your customers, whether interacting via large screen video or in person, focus your attention on them. Listen. Watch their body language. Engage in conversation, and let the customer take you where they want to go.
Encourage them to interact with you and with the technology. Keep it simple. Map your capabilities to the business needs of your customer. Your goal is to give them the information they need to advocate for your solution when they return to Kalamazoo.
Don’t forget to ask.
When your time with the customer has come to an end, don’t forget to ask for the next step. Whether it’s engaging in a Proof of Concept or talking with another satisfied customer who’s solved similar business challenges with your solutions, invite the customer to continue the conversation.
This will not only strengthen your credibility and relationship with the customer, it will also help move the sales cycle forward.
New technology is exciting. By all means, use it.
Just be wary of getting so caught up in the newness of things that you lose sight of time-proven principles of customer engagement.
Would customers say that you understand their business needs and engage them in a dialogue based on their interests? Maybe? Not sure?
Browse Mandel’s Corporate Training Workshops. Or, contact us today to discuss how Mandel can help you develop your people into professionals who possess the conversation and presentation skills needed to win the customer’s confidence and business.
Conducting a hybrid meeting, one where some of those attending are in the room and others are virtual, is a lot harder than many think—and it’s quickly becoming the new norm.
Focusing on a few key aspects of your delivery can help you take advantage of this new meeting mode.
With remote jobs increasing in 71% in 2020, many leaders continue to manage remote workers as if they were managing a co-located team.
Yet, fifty three percent of leaders we surveyed at a recent webinar said that they had NOT received any training on leading a virtual team.
Under normal circumstances, staying present and being able to fully commit to listening is difficult. However, in this new reality of digital interaction and mental fatigue, listening has a new set of challenges.There’s good news. We can make listening easier in our virtual meetings, improving the experience of our participants! Here are a few tips.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
With the beginning of the New Year, it’s the perfect time to address the virtual communication mistakes that have become common with so many of us working virtually this past year.
Here are 3 of the most common mistakes when communicating virtually, and what you can do to overcome them.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much?
Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
People in communities across the globe are adjusting to communicating while wearing masks. As we’re all experiencing, masks present both verbal and non-verbal communication challenges.Given this, we’ve prepared 5 tips for effective communications while wearing a mask, and compiled several insightful articles from leading publications on additional best practices.
In every virtual training workshop that Mandel delivers, we dedicate a Virtual Meeting Producer (or moderator or facilitator) to act as the Trainer’s co-pilot.
A Virtual Producer manages the meeting platform functions and mitigates any technical challenges, allowing the Trainer to focus exclusively on the learning and development of the workshop participants.
As someone who wears a virtual producer hat, here are 5 best practices to help you create engaging virtual meetings.
- 7 Tips for Leading Zoom Panel Discussions
- Why Listening Is Key to Onboarding New Hires—Especially If They’re Virtual
- Welcome to the Future of Sales (Hint: It’s Virtual)
- Listen Closely: Your Company Culture Depends On It
- How to Deliver Impactful, Engaging Hybrid Meetings
- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
- 4 Listening Tips for Improving Your Virtual Meetings
- The Irresistible Power of Stories in Virtual Selling
- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!