By Terry Minion

Digital-schmigital. Digital vs. Analog. 1750 vs. 2021. If you build it, they will come. If you display it, they will buy it. When I was a sales manager and trainer in the car business, all the salespeople wanted to know was how to close more sales. They wanted the prospect to be a buyer and do as buyers are supposed to do—buy. Good luck with that! All it is and all it ever was and all it will ever be is simply communication. Verbal communication. Visual communication. Feeling communication. And, the key in all sales is learning how to communicate more with our ears and less with our mouth.

Of course, the ideal is personal interaction. In the unique environment we find ourselves in within a global pandemic of a highly communicable virus and trying to keep everyone and ourselves as safe as can be, we are avoiding personal interaction.

If this were the last century, we would communicate via telephone which then was the closest thing to being in front of a person exchanging words and feeling. Later, we found the telephone reinvented into a mobile device that could be carried anywhere. As the technology advanced, that device allowed visual and audible communication. And in 2021 we find Zoom and other services that allow us to communicate with video and voice, even with many at a time. Those who cannot physically go to the office or other work location can work from home via the Internet. There is a whole new job classification of ‘remote work’. It is still communication. Some in words, as in text and email, and some visually, with video, websites, social media and more. It’s a brave new world from this perspective, but it is still simply communication.

Which communication tools currently available to us are the most powerful? Number one will always be personal interaction. Next would be group interaction. Next would be video interaction (Zoom, Social media, etc.). Next would be vocal communication such as the telephone, cellphone. Next would be recorded video. Next would be written words via email, text, and other writing.

How do you have a trade show when people cannot come to the show? VIDEO. Bring it to them. It may even be more effective. I’ve often very much disliked required meetings because I thought they could have recorded it on video and sent via email and allow us to digest more effectively. Sometimes we do things just because that is the way we have always done them. But look around – obviously we are flexible enough to adapt to a new environment.

I would suggest making use of all tools as appropriate. Here’s an important thought from my perspective, and that is to ask the people you want to communicate with how they would best like to be communicated with. I text, but generally, I am not so much a fan of texting except in very short bursts. I’m in my email all day long. If you wanted to communicate with me, I would prefer the phone for interaction first, then written words, then video interaction, and recorded video. Everyone is different and it is a really valuable thing to learn which are your prospect’s or customer’s preferences.

Digital. Analog. Who cares? It is simply and exquisitely communication with other human beings toward building or expanding mutually beneficial relationships.