Pick Up the Darn Phone
Stephanie Haydn, Director Business Development People AK

ith all of the disruption and changes to how we communicate, it is more challenging than ever for teams to pick up the phone. The pandemic certainly put us on a fast track to remote work, cloud migration, chatting, and emailing. However, there is still and always will be a need for conversations. Time and time again, I have asked a team member if they’ve responded to a client, and too often the answer is, “I emailed them last week.” I respond with, “So, have we confirmed a resolution or decision?” “I am not sure; they did not answer.” PICK UP THE DARN PHONE!

Technology has glitches, emails get buried, and people infer tone and meaning in chats. Simply calling a client, a prospective employer, or a sales lead is polite and develops a deeper relationship.

It is a new year, there are new opportunities, and we are all maneuvering new techniques for creating meaningful relationships with our clients, candidates, and even coworkers. We continue to read headlines about unemployment alongside the lack of available talent. There is truth to both. So to get the most out of the employees and clients you have, it is more important than ever to build meaningful relationships. Relationships are built on trust that is developed over time. It is hard to build trust in an email or chat application. Most of us need verbal communication that engages us emotionally to connect authentically.

Authentic communication and relationships build trust that results in loyalty. This is not industry-specific. Loyal employees outperform, and loyal clients do not shop for the next deal. It is essential that managers check in on their teams, ask them how they are, or let them know you appreciate them and mean it. Let your tone convey your sincere desire to be supportive. If you call on a client, express a genuine desire to solve a need and spend time maintaining rapport. Maintaining rapport requires not only occasional conversations but also consistent, meaningful, and routine check-ins.

Gallup studies human potential and behaviors. At the center of their work, you will find that creating authentic loyal teams will increase revenue and attract more talent.

Employees and clients alike are watching for new opportunities. We must engage them in meaningful ways and develop meaningful relationships grounded in trust. To do so, you should have “Stay Conversations.” Gallup defines the term:

“Stay conversations are one-on-one conversations designed to learn more about the employee, including their passions and career goals, what they value in life, and what they need to be more successful in their role.”

This example is aimed at employee retention but is easily adjusted to address client retention. If we take the time to have consistent conversations and listen to our teams and clients, they will tell us what we need to do to meet their needs. What you hear and learn will not be conveyed in a text or email. Authentic conversations unveil as much in what is not spoken as in what is said.

A few final thoughts to consider:

  1. Text is informal and should only be used when appropriate to the relationship
  2. Business chat applications are for internal direction and tasking
  3. Emails are transactional and suitable for confirmation of actions or commitments
  4. When an email is on its third round of confirmations – call for clarity
  5. If you did not receive a response, do not assume it was received – call for confirmation
  6. When at all possible, resolve interpersonal conflicts in person
Stephanie Haydn, Business Development Director

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Stephanie Haydn
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