What can we learn from our ancestors about connecting with prospects and clients?
A 27-year-old told me, “There’s nothing like meeting face to face.” I was stunned, because we’ve all heard that Millennials are tethered to their devices. But my meeting with him (like so many meetings I’ve had) proved that when we’re in another person’s physical presence, we connect in ways that just aren’t possible when we communicate via email, text, or Tweets. We share stories, see facial expressions, use hand gestures, exchange ideas, laugh, and connect on a personal, visceral level.
During a trip to Europe, I had meals with two colleagues I’d only spoken to on the phone. Both relationships shifted instantly. We were no longer just colleagues; we became friends. I felt comfortable asking for and giving feedback, and challenging (without hesitation) a direction one of them was considering. After all, you can tell your friends the truth.
Meeting face to face and “breaking bread” together shifts a relationship. The origin of the term is biblical, but it’s come to mean sharing and unity. There’s something unspoken that binds us together when we break bread—something old, primitive, and very powerful.
A Tale as Old as Time
Our ancestors used body language before they could speak, and according to Andy Rudin’s LinkedIn post—“Will the Caveman Principle Save Face-to-Face Selling?”—there’s both a biological and competitive advantage for being in another person’s presence.
Turns out, for about 1,000 centuries, we humans have been pretty set in our ways.
“Our wants, dreams, personalities, and desires have probably not changed much in 100,000 years. We probably still think like our caveman ancestors,” writes physicist Michio Kaku, author of a popular new book, The Future of the Mind. “The point is: whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time. That’s the Cave Man [or Cave Woman] Principle.”
If you’re placing your strategic bets on face-to-face selling excellence, this is where things get interesting. “By watching people up close, we feel a common bond and can also read their subtle body language to find out what thoughts are racing through their heads. This is because our apelike ancestors, many thousands of years before they developed speech, used body language almost exclusively to convey their thoughts and emotions,” Kaku says. (Read the rest of the article.)
Embrace Your Inner Caveman
Human beings instinctively know how to connect with others. We haven’t rewired ourselves just because the world has gone wireless. We’ve simply forgotten what we know to be true: Face-to-face cannot be replaced—not in life, and certainly not in sales.
In sales, your relationships are your meal ticket. So embrace your inner caveman (or cavewoman), and start connecting with people the old-fashioned way—in person.