News & Research Archive

Keeping up with the Joneses

May 11, 2012

As salespeople today, we are constantly being bombarded with new tools and services that we are told are necessary to remain competitive. Most seminars have a class titled "don't miss out on this or you may become insignificant". As a trainer myself and one that needs the latest gadget, I have introduced salespeople to many technology products: from the first cell phone to the first PDA to the first laptop, these are now mainstream and essential tools in today's workplace. Now, I am focusing on teaching salespeople the power of social networking. Funnily enough, I am now getting to the point where 'Keeping up with the Joneses' is not necessarily the right answer when it comes to all of these new services and certainly not the right answer for everyone.

Today more than ever we are witnessing a fundamental shift in how we communicate with one and another. Texting is replacing emailing that replaced letter writing that replaced the act of talking to one another. We have lost our full language in favor of mistyped words in a non-sentence format. While it is true that we can communicate with more people than ever, we have to ask who exactly are these people we want to join up with?

It used to be said that to have one or two real friends and several close acquaintances made a person extremely lucky. Today, many people have 500 first connections on LinkedIn but, of those 500, how many are trustworthy enough to do business with?

We have developed a new generation that thinks a date consists of texting other friends while having dinner another person. Relationships and conversations are built on texting two or three words at a time; 'LOL' is a great example of this and I still cannot remember what it means.

As salespeople today, we need to re think how we build relationships and remember first and foremost the basics of what makes us successful. The days when a firm handshake and eye contact gave the first signal of a person's character are slowly dwindling due to an increase in communication through social media platforms and gadgets. Don't underestimate the usefulness of being able to scan a room and gather as much information as you can about that new prospect you are trying to sell to.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that social networking is happening and participation is necessary because it is a useful tool for getting and making business. However, as professionals we must first have the core principles of communications in place; the true meet and greet techniques that stand above all else. It is possible to generate business by posting a craigslist ad but without meeting a potential client in person to learn about them and vice versa, how likely is it that you will gain their loyalty and trust? Without a solid client relationship in place, it is unrealistic to expect your client to stick by when another salesperson knocks at that door with a cheaper alternative: leaving you in the dust when your client moves on before giving you the chance to tell them why your product and services are worth them staying.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 27 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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