At the start of the year, I had decided that the theme for me this year was “Transformation“, specifically in 5 different spheres of my life. One of it was to transform my relationship with my son and wife – To spend more time with them with complete attention to them.
In a step to achieve that, I tried to reach home earlier than normal yesterday. I reached home and started spending sometime with my 9 year old son. He has exams starting today at school and I was trying to teach him his Maths. In the middle, my phone beeped and I picked it up to check the email. Once I was done responding to the email, I instinctively checked my twitter feed, then the facebook feed and then the blogs feed that i subscribe to. All the while, giving my son maths sums to solve. All of this without realizing that i was doing this.
Today, I read about a popular hotel in Israel, Abu Ghosh, is offering a 50% discount on its entire menu, provided the guests agreed to switch off their mobile phones. The owner, Jawdat Ibrahim says that smartphones have destroyed the modern dining experience. He hopes the generous discount will bring back a more innocent time when going to a restaurant was about companionship, conversation and appreciating the food, rather than surfing, texting or talking to the office.
I had a meeting today with a salesman trying to sell me an apartment at my office. One of my colleagues whom I had not met since the 31st walked in to wish me the new year. In the few minutes that I was talking to my colleague, I saw that the sales executive had taken out his mobile phone and was checking email or something. For that moment, he was totally disconnected with me. And unfortunately, I could not connect back with him for that conversation.
When I was reflecting back on these three different stories, I realized that i have also been guilty of doing the same mistake, both in my personal life and in my professional life.
By checking our phones, while in the company of our family, friends or customers, we disconnect ourselves from them in the moment and might find it difficult to reconnect. There have been many customers who also do the same with us and with their friends, family and customers.
Even though, these mobile phones have enabled us to connect to the world beyond and stay updated, they have also created a bit of void in personal moments.
As sales professionals, what could we do to balance this constant need to stay connected with being able to give complete attention to whoever we are meeting and wherever we are.
Some suggestions that I intend to follow are as below:
- Have clear time slots to check messages and emails on the phones.
- When I go to meet a customer, will check the phone before I enter the customers office. The moment I enter the customer’s office, the phone will be switched off.
- If I am to wait for sometime before the meeting starts, I shall spend that time to look at the surroundings. Look at what is being shared on the notice board and talk to the receptionist or anyone else who is present there. I remember, pre-mobile days, these were great sources of information that you could not get from the customers and many a times proved valuable to close a deal.
- When I do meet my customer, I shall thank him for meeting me and take out my phone (already switched off) and indicate that the time is very important and would switch off the mobile phone so that there is nothing that could disturb the conversation. Usually, the customers would reciprocate.
- When I come out of the meeting, switch on the phone and use the smart phone to make notes about whatever was discussed and what you found out during your waiting period.
Have you made this mistake as well? If yes, what do you plan to ensure that you don’t do this going forward.
If you have found a way to avoid this mistake, do share the same with us so that we can learn from the same.