THE POWER OF MAKING A CONNECTION
Many years of corporate leadership has seen several styles of communication come and go in an attempt to establish a connection with clients. From daily interactions to seal deals, to popular advertisements to attract clients, to corporate and entrepreneurial businesseses, the aim has always been to go beyond awareness of a brand or business to making long-lasting connections.
It was not long ago that leadership in corporate and business spaces was measured by rational influence. It still is, but how effective is this power tactic in establishing a connection with corporate and business clientele? Informational/rational appeals focus on the consumers’ practical, functional, or utilitarian need for the product or service and emphasize features of a product or service and/or the benefits or reasons for owning or using a particular brand (Belch and Belch, 2004). The tool of rational influence, although pragmatic in many ways, is usually a one-sided affair where someone who is an expert in their field bases their conversation solely on logic, facts and evidence to influence others. A great example of this is a doctor. They are experts in what they do, and when they tell us we have to lose weight or have to quit smoking, they are doing it from a rational, expert position (study.com).
Beyond simply spilling out facts and approaching corporate and business deals with rational ideas, what more can be done to establish a powerful connection with our buyers? Significant research has shown a rapid increase in client response to conversations with an emotional appeal. Today’s client does not respond to talk first. They respond to emotional appealing conversations that yield sales and business development success for the bottom line.
On-going discoveries in psychology and neuroscience increasingly support the notion that human reasoning is rife with emotion. In fact, our preexisting beliefs often have far more influence over our logical conclusions than facts or hard data. Turns out that despite our neocortex and higher level reasoning abilities, we are not so rational after all, especially when it comes to ideas or information that threatens our deeply held views of the world (Forbes 2014).
With a steady rise in the relevance of online media, the narrative for selling a brand or product has gradually shifted from selling hard facts to selling stories. Storytelling has become pertinent because it gets the attention of the client and influences them to listen to you. To tell a story, you should appreciate the true and full character of your business and brand. Merely telling a story may come off as a false one without the authenticity and original expression of the person behind it. The Ted talk “Storytelling, Psychology and Neuroscience” by Amanda D’Annucci, supports this idea about storytelling enhancing the listener’s memory of the story. She discusses how storytelling engages the entire brain including the amygdala, the memory centre of the brain. So it makes perfect sense then, that companies leverage storytelling to make an emotional and psychological impact to keep consumers remembering a story, and therefore their brand. According to OneSpot, 92% of consumers want brands to make their ads feels like a story.
What are you selling with your story and how are you selling with your story? The difference between two smart people, whether a corporate leader or an entrepreneur, making a business presentation an elevator pitch sometimes boils down to their storytelling abilities. The essence of an authentic brand story is the emotion it evokes in you before the information your attention is drawn to. A strong part of influence and making connections is being able to tie in people’s emotions with your vision. Your storytelling should always answer WHY your niche should believe in your vision, buy into it and be loyal followers of your brand. To sell with your story, seek to capture attention or listening, provoke the need for action, build rapport, follow through with pragmatic facts and hard data, sell the part of the story that makes you memorable and finish with transforming minds.
In communication, emotional intelligence (EI) comes to play a significant role in establishing powerful connections. EI is a factor that strongly influences human behaviour, response to situations and decision-making. Salovey and Mayer first introduced the concept of EI as a type of social intelligence, separable from general intelligence. According to them, EI is the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Turner demonstrates the importance of Emotional Intelligence when he cites that emotional quotient (EQ), which is the ability to understand oneself and interact with people, contributes 80% to the success of most corporations. EQ is critical to effective leadership. (NCBI, 2014). Being emotionally intelligent makes you aware that to sell, people first have to like you, respect you and want to listen to you before making a connection with you. Being emotionally intelligent means you understand your market, the experiences of the people that make it, their struggles and beliefs, all of which are important in making real conversations to make a connection. Emotional intelligence is a tool that must not be taken for granted. It is valuable in helping corporate and business leaders understand what their consumers expect of them – details one cannot simply gather from logical conclusions.
The success of any corporate leadership or business is one that solves problems and takes up opportunities to create value. In doing so, both corporate leaders and entrepreneurs need to pursue emotional connections as both a science and tactic. Here are 4 simple ways of making powerful connections.
- Sending your message long before the visual conversation
In today’s electronic world, there are various ways in which people communicate with us. Even before a physical meeting or an electronic connection, there must be a touch point in place which will get the person excited to meet you. The touch point covers both online and offline contact – every communication, branding or marketing initiative a potential client comes in contact with your brand before, during, or after they purchase something from you. Each and every touch point they connect with us must reflect the influential message we want to send; it must make an emotional connection. The sale always starts with that initial touch point that awakens emotions from the person.
- A clear representation of the positioning
As defined by Management Study Guide, a moment of truth is usually defined as an instance wherein the client and the organization come into contact with one another in a manner that gives the client an opportunity to either form or change an impression about the firm.
The positioning you gave in the pre-presence and the actual presence must align.To have a compelling physical presence, the key is not in the cost of your look. It is in the representation of your message. So do not cost your message, represent your message. Be recognised on sight for who you said you were in the pre-connection or the pre-presence mode. Properly representing your message is crucial in creating the moment of truth for your client.
- Body language, Verbal Communication and Deliberate Engagement
Everything in every conversation has to do with what you do not say. People read people. When people meet people, they stop reading about them and start reading them. The body language must land an experience that the person can never forget. Aim to not just make a moment but to make a memory. Research has shown that for long-term client engagement experiences, the concept of the body language is key. The entire tool package of communication must be incorporated into the conversation i.e. not just body language, but verbal communication and deliberate engagement. These three hooks help to latch you onto your client and make a lasting memory.
- What you do after matters
Emotional connections do not end with the physical or visual meeting. It does not matter whether it is a social conversation, business conversation or a selling conversation. We know that marketing is everything you do to make the client a prospect and sales is what you do after the client becomes a prospect. What drives the emotions of a person are their needs. So, you must continue to spend time in understanding the needs of the person after you have met them. Your goal should be to bring value through nurturing the person’s needs to exceed expectations and making sure they feel your effort to nurture their needs. Nurturing requires you to understand the psychographics, demographics and any other measurement that will allow you to understand the person’s mind.
The pre-presence, the physical presence, the conversation during communication and the post presence must be a whole spectrum of connection. These days, it is not about communication that makes the connection. It is about the conversation that makes the connection. Pay attention to your touch point. It must always carry authenticity. During your conversation with the individual, do not shift from your touch point story. The power of making a connection relies on the power of your consistency throughout the process.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.