Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Communication Overload

I sent you and email.  Perhaps you did send an email but so did 1000 other people in the last 24 hours and the day before, and the day before that and so on.  Can anyone relate to this?  I suspect you can.

A Coaching Client’s Challenge
Last week I met with one of my coaching clients.  He had a lot on his mind but the one topic that stood out was his frustration around his attempts to get to decision makers.  This coaching client sells security technology and security professional services. 

No Magic Bullet
He asked if I had a magic bullet that helped me get calls and emails returned.  I’m just as human as my coaching client so unfortunately, I didn’t and still don’t have the magic bullet he was looking for that day.  But I’ve been selling on the phone for 22.5 years so I had a few ideas to share.

On a daily basis, I interact with CISOs, CSOs, CIOs, General Counsel, HR professionals and a variety of security, risk management, compliance and privacy professionals.  Everybody is busy all the time.  Some of these people are the people my coaching client is calling on so I understand what he is up against.
Different People Prefer Different Ways of Communicating
Rather than having a trick or gimmick to share with my coaching client, I challenged him to think about the ways in which his clients and/or prospective clients might communicate.  Some people will respond to a voice mail significantly faster than they’ll respond to an email.  Some people react to their email a week before they’ll respond to a voice mail. Some people pay attention to Twitter all day while others like myself do not.  Some people will respond to nothing!

My coaching client told me he sometimes does ask his prospective buyer how they prefer to be communicated with.  He told me that one prospective client told him he didn’t have any preferred way of being communicated with.  I asked my client if he had considered the possibility that this person didn’t want to hear from him at all…ever?

LinkedIn InMails
My coaching client asked if he should upgrade his LinkedIn account so he’d have more InMails.  Sure he should if he wants to wait for a week to pass by before he finds out that the person he is attempting to reach doesn’t log in to their LinkedIn account every week.   I’ve been using LinkedIn InMails since 2004 when I first opened up my LinkedIn account.  As recently as the past few days, I’ve used a dozen or so InMails.  Three people have responded out of the dozen and I’m still waiting to figure out if the other 8 people have received my communication or not.  I don’t just sit and wait.  When I send an InMail, I’ll wait a day or two and then follow up with a phone call.  No approach works 100% of the time.  There is no magic bullet.

Learn How Others Communicate
Yes, it is a lot of work to determine how others prefer to communicate and you don’t have to be a sales person for this topic to matter.  If you’ll invest the time to determine how the co-workers you interact with every day in your security job prefer to communicate, you’ll improve your relationships instantly when you start communicating with your peers in their preferred style of communicating.

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