InternetSocialMediaReal conversations don’t happen in 140 characters or less.

Everyone loves a good shortcut. We live in microwave time—tapping our fingers because 15 or 30 seconds is just too slow. But while there’s much to be said for efficiency, we should not be taking shortcuts when it comes to conversations.

Are Your Conversation Skills Getting Rusty?

“It’s not 140 characters; it’s you.” That’s the intro to my new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal.

The art of conversation is your competitive advantage. Conversation is the key to problem-solving and relationship-building, which couldn’t be more important in sales. It’s also become a unique skill set.

The digital world, as great as it is, threatens our ability to have real conversations. Text messages with truncated words or 140-character Twitter posts are not the kind of meaningful, effective dialogue that increases sales conversions or gets you referrals.

Are You Short-Changing Your Clients?

Clients want our expertise. They want to exchange ideas, discuss problems, and debate various solutions. In other words, they want to hear our thoughts on their businesses, industries, and challenges. And they expect us to put some actual thought into it.

In “When More Is More,” Linda Richardson explains exactly why 140 characters isn’t enough to deliver this kind of value to clients:

The idea behind Twitter was that Internet could serve as a knowledge-sharing Utopia … But there’s a natural limit to the kind of knowledge that can come in 140 characters or less?

According to a new McKinsely study (Frundt) clients want expertise.  Teaching is the new selling.  What does it take for salespeople to be expert teachers—and learners?  Can it be accomplished with a “less is more mind-set”?  Are we being conditioned that if something appears too long or too slow to just skip it and quickly move on?  Are we doing ourselves a disservice by believing we can develop deep expertise with a click and a few sentences? 

Read the rest of the article.

Bottom line: We’re all busy, but when it comes to conversations, take your time. While your competitors are wasting time tweeting, you’ll be talking to people who matter, increasing sales referrals, and sealing deals.

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