There is cause and effect in the world. It’s undeniable. So we say things like “it’s a numbers game.” Let me go on record and say that it’s true — your success can be distilled down to numbers and the story those numbers tell. But there is a paradox here.

  • To say communication with potential clients is a numbers game rips the soul out of our art -- our connection. What could have been a rich and meaningful exchange between souls, instead becomes a cold and transactional obligation to the numbers game that gets doctored up to look and sound like it has personality.
  • We just need enough people to register on our site or buy enough leads so that our automated follow-up campaigns produce the number of appointments we need to sell what we need to sell to hit our goals.
  • But if we all began to use a better autoresponders, ones that acknowledge that we don't know the clients but would like to on their level, maybe we could change the numbers game into a conversation.

There is cause and effect in the world. It’s undeniable. So we say things like, “It’s a numbers game.”

Let me go on record and say that it’s true — your success can be distilled down to numbers and the story those numbers tell.

But there is a paradox here.

To say it’s a numbers game rips the soul out of our art — our connection. What could have been a rich and meaningful exchange between souls instead becomes a cold and transactional obligation to the numbers game that gets doctored up to look and sound like it has personality.

Here’s an example:

“I just want you to know there’s a real person behind this website. Blah blah. Monologue. Monologue. Something about customer service. More monologue.”

That is a common autoresponder to a lead who has registered on a site. It’s cooked up to sound like we care or to attempt to add a human element.

But the consumer now sees it for what it is: a ruse written to save us time in our follow-up and communicate our commitment to this person we’ve never met, but it’s void of soul, meaning and truth.

From the context of this being a numbers game, we just need enough people to register on our site or buy enough leads so that our automated follow-up campaigns produce the number of appointments we need to sell what we need to sell to hit our goals.

Cause and effect

The challenge with this approach is that most of us desire real connection, and we do want to help people. We know the autoresponder doesn’t quite sound like us. But we don’t know what else to say. So we fall back on old advice and console ourselves with the notion that it’s just a numbers game.

Our marketing and follow-up tactics over the past decade have established a pattern of groupthink that has made the consumer skeptical and guarded to these types of contact.

But because it’s a numbers game, we follow suit until both sides — agent and consumer — are frustrated by their interactions online.

What if it wasn’t a numbers game? Or what if the numbers game we’re playing was more about meaningful connections than just registrations on our site?

A different approach

Here’s a better response for when someone registers on your site:

“Hi. I know we’ve never met. So I won’t presume I know how best to serve you yet. Would you tell me what some of your biggest questions are as you prepare to buy your next home?”

Signed  (your name here)

P.S. Here are some common questions others have had as they take on buying their next home. (Link to site with questions.)

This message has all the efficiency of an autoresponder, but it invites dialogue. The potential clients might not respond, as is their right. But the ones that do will have accepted your invitation for a real connection.

In responding to your questions, these souls have transcended the status of “lead,” and they are now someone who is opening up to you.

The future

The lament of “Internet leads are bad leads” will start to fade away because we will have found an authentic way to connect digitally. We will have figured out a way to engage the consumer in such a way that we feel helpful, and they feel helped.

And while numbers can be extracted from the background of these exchanges, what will make the difference — in the relationship and the experience — is the humanity brought to the exchange rather than the numbers that pass through our circuitry.

Chris Angell is an author, speaker and coach; his company is Groundswell Business Consulting. You can find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thechrisangell or Twitter at @chrisangell.

Email Chris Angell.

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