I was recently watching the Ed Sheeran and James Corden Carpool Karaoke when something caught my attention. I have no idea how I missed this announcement in the media, but Ed Sheeran does not have a mobile phone and he quit social media last year! He told James Corden that when people messaged him it was because they always wanted something. Now he only accepts emails. Ed Sheeran wanted to start seeing the world through his eyes and not just a screen. I was seriously impressed.
The world has changed.
We are blaming our smartphones for being connected now more than ever before, but in reality, this digital transition happened at the birth of the internet. I remember days before email, and when we used to wait for the shiny paper to emerge from that funny little machine in the corner called the fax. That was not that long ago. Imagine if we fast forward 10 years from now, what will the world be like then? It is scary to think that my 14 year old daughter will never know of a world where you couldn't connect with someone at the press of a button. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Two books that made me think about “being human”
#1 – Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuck
I re-read “Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuck (Social media guru) in February this year. I rarely read a book more than once, but I found myself reading things that I had not taken much notice of before. One of the chapters is called “How Everything Has Changed, Except Human Nature”
No relationships should be taken for granted. They are what life is all about, the whole point. How we cultivate our relationships is often the greatest determinant of the type of life we get to live. Business is no different. Real business isn’t done in board meetings; it’s done over a half-eaten plate of buffalo wings at the sports bar, or during the intermission of a Broadway show.
The only thing that will never change is human nature. When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like. They’d also rather do business with and buy stuff from people they like.
#2 – Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
I am a Simon Sinek convert! Last month I read his book called “Leaders Eat Last“. He talks about the biology of the human being and the way that we are becoming addicted to technology. The human side of us craves to belong to a group, but we also crave human interaction. If you have not seen his talk on how technology is affecting millennials then I urge you to have a listen. His strong message in his original book (Start with Why) explains that people believe what you believe, which is powerful. However, if you don't understand people, then you will struggle to become successful in business.
To be successful you need to remember that we are all human
After reading the above two books, a little light-bulb went off in my head about the way that I was running my agency. I had also succumbed to the lazy way of doing business. I found that emailing, or messaging clients on Twitter or Facebook was a painless way to communicate. I rarely picked up the phone to actually speak to clients, and visiting clients that we had all over the country was both time-consuming and hard work. It was much easier to have a Skype call.
One of my clients runs a Funding company. I spent some time with him last week at a Recruitment Expo in London and we got talking about the importance of meeting clients face to face. Now this client does go to the extreme. For example, he was in London on Wednesday but was meeting a client for breakfast at 7am in Yorkshire the following day. “That's crazy” I said. “Why?” he replied. “The Yorkshire client is one of our biggest clients. It is easy to take this for granted, but the reality is that you need to look after your clients. If the only time he could meet me for a catch up was 7am, then so be it. It's crazy to not go out of your way for your clients”. How could I argue with that?
We have heard the cliche so many times “people buy from people”, but if we are not authentic, if we do not meet human beings face to face, if we can not see the whites of their eyes and listen to what they have to say then we will never build a solid relationship with the people that we are doing business with. If something else comes along that is more shiny, or cheaper, then you will find that loyalty to you and your brand will diminish if you do not look after people. I have made some changes to the way that both I and my team now do business.
- Meeting clients face to face is essential
- Show that we care (birthday cards, postcards, personal notes in the post – saw this and thought of you).
- Only working with nice people. It's ok to say no.