The Virtual Experiment
We’ve been living in an unregulated social experiment. This experiment is communicating in the virtual world. In some ways, it has been tremendously beneficial. Things are more convenient, it’s faster, you have more access to people across different time zones, and a myriad of other benefits. However, it is no secret that the connection is just not the same in a virtual space as in the real world. You don’t get the nod, the smile, or the show of understanding. Humans are anxious by nature, and we tend to think of the worst-case scenario when we don’t have evidence of the contrary. This negative bias means that when we don’t have the nod, the smile, the understanding, etc., we fill that missing information with our worst fears. This means that we have to work harder to communicate so that we leave people with all the information they need to understand the message.
Keeping Up in the Virtual World
Selling has moved into the virtual world. In fact, it has now become the preferred method of doing business for both the seller and buyer. Selling through video meetings, phone calls, even emails, has provided a great convince for everyone involved, but just like with everything in the virtual world, it lacks some of the connection and nonverbal communication that is present in the non-virtual world. This means that sellers have to be savvier and more intentional about their communication in order to keep up.
Building Trust on the Phone
One of the ways that sellers have to alter their communication is in trust-building. In the real world, trust is something that humans can establish very quickly because we get social cues and a gut sense about the person in front of us. Building trust is not so easy in the virtual world, however, and must be substituted for consistency on the part of the salesperson. If a salesperson can be consistent in mode, tone, and style, this says to the buyer that a person is genuine, and therefore trustworthy.
Being Crystal Clear
When communicating within the online space, you have to be very clear so that your intent is understood by the other person. This means being very intentional and thoughtful about the way that you communicate and what message you are trying to get across. You also have to be a much better listener, and going the extra mile to understand what the other person is thinking and saying, and then communicating that you understand that. You have to work much harder at all of these things, because in the online space, it’s not as easy as in person, and you’re going to get it wrong much more often.