Merriam-Webster defines a conversationalist as one who converses a great deal or who excels in conversation. While joining in any discourse does not make one a true conversationalist, everyone can benefit from having more productive conversations. Conversationalists should be passionate about the authentic discussions they are having along with the genuine relationships they are building.
Now especially, in the ever-evolving digital world, it is imperative for business professionals to separate themselves from the competition by being agile and engaged conversationalists.
Follow these tips to put conversations at the heart of everything you do.
Each client you work with is at a different place in how they communicate digitally. Make sure you meet them where they’re at. If you’re working with a client who is always on the go, they will appreciate a few quick texts over a lengthy phone call. If a client you’re working with prefers only to be called on their office line, lean into that method. Don’t try to push them into digital conversations if they aren’t ready to take the plunge. For the client that needs a nudge, don’t be afraid to send that follow-up message (and don’t be offended when it takes a few nudges). Try not to limit yourself to one channel of communication, but instead be open to learning as the digital options continue to unravel.
Create 50/50 sharing.
The strongest conversations have an equal amount of sharing on each side. While you should not fear sending a follow-up message, take cues from the client as to when they may be feeling burnt out on communication. On the flip side, listen when the client tells you that they are ready to talk. Today, there are a huge amount of tools in the digital space that allow you to take advantage of 50/50 sharing. Enable a “Stop Sequence” setting in campaigns to halt messages when a client responds or adds a meeting to your calendar. This will show the client you are interested in listening to them, not just talking at them.
Be your (digital) self.
Although a lot of your messages may be automated, they don’t have to sound like it. Bring life into your messages and show your personality the same way you would in person. Add an emoji to a text or a gif into your weekly email newsletter if that’s your style. The idea is to break down any stiff, impersonal sounding correspondence, while still maintaining professionalism. Take advantage of resources like sending test emails. When you get the test email, ask yourself critical questions. Would I be excited to get this email? Does this email make me want to click the links inside it? If it’s a message you might skip over in your own inbox, go back to the drawing board and make it personal.
Show genuine interest.
Just as it’s important to listen to your client, you should also have a genuine interest in who they are and what they do. A client will be able to spot fake interest a mile away so make sure to add personal touches to your outreach. Utilize the notes section of your customer database to leave helpful tidbits about each client. A congratulatory note for a recent award or wishing them a happy anniversary will go a long way. Even asking about their current WFH situation will mean a lot to the client.
Don’t shy away from automation.
Automation can get a bad rep, but there are new offerings in the digital space that can make automation your lifesaver. For example, embrace an Auto-Dial function to make calling your clients simple and efficient. You can also place clients on campaign loops. Maybe the first campaign isn’t the right one for them, with a loop they can be automatically added to another campaign without you having to lift a finger. That next campaign may be just what it takes to prompt a response from even the quietest client. Don’t worry, if they do reply you’ll have that “Stop Sequence” setting enabled.