In our technology obsessed world, we regularly hear new words and phrases—ones that someone made up and then created the definition for, words that are overused and mostly unexplained.

Here are a few, just for starters: “Gamification,” “Web 3.0,” “Sales 2.0,” “Facipulate,” “Word of Mouse” (give me a break…).

Get e-quainted. I love Southwest Airlines and I love reading Spirit magazine. Here is the Spirit lexicon entry #9,824:

“e-quaintancee’kwanten(t)snoun

  1. An electronic acquaintance
  2. A casual contact one interacts with only through online communication
  3. Akin to an Interweb friend

Usage: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites have created a wide realm in which to make e-quaintances, who are often corralled to spread information or confided in to glean advice. In business, some seemingly insignificant cyber contacts can translate into real-world job prospects, or even (gasp!) an actual face-to-face meeting.”

It can be overwhelming. Here’s how to attract sales prospects in a tech-focused world.

Get connected, get informed. Yes, you meet people online. Yes, buyers are well informed before they ever talk to you. Yes, people do business without ever speaking. Yes, some buyers tell you they never want to talk to you. (Are they afraid of a sleazy sales pitch?)

Here’s how the real world really works: It’s great to begin an online conversation and make e-quaintances. However, nothing beats a personal conversation. Why? You can ask great questions and uncover hidden issues. You may learn that what prospects thought they needed is not in fact what they need. (If you sell software or financial services, you know exactly what I mean.) Selling is about paying attention throughout the entire sales process.

Being e-quainted with prospects can take you only so far along the sales path. Make the offline connection to ensure you don’t end the sale before it even begins.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.