The Power Of "Hello" In The COVID-19 World
It’s mid-January 2020 and you’re standing in your favourite coffee shop. The morning traffic jam into the office is greeted with yet another one: the dozen-deep crammed line-up for your daily cup of Joe. People brush past you with awkward, excuse me’s as they try to meander away from the jammed counter, coffee in-hand. In the distance, you hear the faint conversation of a strange virus somewhere overseas, turning cities into ghost-towns. You shake your head and think “nah…”.
Fast forward to mid-March and Canada officially goes into self-isolation and lockdown in an effort to combat COVID-19. Your world - the entire world - has drastically changed overnight.
We’ve been witness to a massive shift of priorities. As non-essential businesses were put on hold, some of us have struggled with our “new normal”. Part of the challenge is the lack of control; many of us feel that we have no control in our lives or over what has happened. And that itself is not true: we do have control. Life is not happening to us, but for us, and even in a global pandemic, small actions we take can have a big impact.
Pick any name from your contacts - a client, a prospect, a supplier - and give them a call. You will find that a few, genuine words like, “Hello, just calling to see how you are doing” have never been more powerful of a gesture. If you’re like me, and countless of others at home, you’ll enjoy reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. As a senior sales professional, I have spoken to thousands of people (clients, contacts, and co-workers) throughout my career - and I have never had the quality of conversations that I am having, and enjoying, since our lockdown began. People want to talk; they want to share; they need to share their thoughts and hear a familiar voice on the other end of the line. People have time to talk and listen.
Talking with someone creates a shared sense of community - even though, right now, our own communities have been turned upside down. Every day, I make a point to call at least one person, just to talk, “Hey, how are you doing?”; a simple yet powerful gesture of kindness that goes well beyond the handshake of a bygone era. It’s easier than one thinks: start off by calling people you haven’t spoken with in awhile, and work your way from there. Take the “sales” out; all one is really doing is calling to say, “Hello”. And remember to listen. Turn-off all distractions and find a quiet place. If you can only do one call a day, even if you get a voicemail, leave a message. Be up-beat! Look for the positive - share some of your experience - or even just a feel-good story. You’ll discover the person on the other end of the line is just as human as you, seeking a connection in a world seeking understanding.
As John C. Maxwell once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”