Authenticity, emotional connection, and embracing partnerships as learning experiences: those were the main themes discussed on a recent Ponderings from the Perch Podcast featuring our very own VP of Client Development, AJ Keirans and podcast host, Priscilla McKinney.

In an effort to gain powerful and candid answers to real business challenges, McKinney centered the conversation around creating genuine professional connections during unpredictable times. AJ emphasized the importance of human-level connection, noting, “We’re all doing business together, but at the end of the day, we’re people choosing to work with other people.”

AJ has been in the industry for almost twenty years and prefers to take a holistic approach to business. Opening up about DISQO’s journey to bring richer insights to the industry, he stated, “our panelists are joining because they actively want to participate in research and let their opinions be heard. There’s full transparency for our members that goes beyond just surveys.” Our behavioral data set is ethically-sourced and in turn, more valuable to industry partners.

McKinney continued by explaining the issues with self-reported behaviors within market research: “It’s not a lack of honesty. It’s a lack of brain recall.” That’s why DISQO uses passive behavioral datasets, to verify the paths to purchase that actually occur, rather than relying on what’s remembered. (To learn more about human recall and its implications for market researchers, check out our study Assessing Human Recall.)

Working at a company that’s built on honesty and authenticity, AJ enjoys applying the same approach when it comes to creating connections with others.

Here are the top tips AJ shared to better adapt to the current landscape:

  • Be sensitive and authentic. If you’re reaching out to a potential client or partner, don’t be afraid to address the current circumstances. Ask how they’re doing and if it’s still an appropriate time to meet. The person on the receiving end will notice your authenticity and appreciate that you’re looking to do more than just give a pitch. It’s a simple technique that AJ has used all along: “be a good human.”
  • Personalize your messaging. When people are concerned about their jobs or safety of their family, a long, impersonal message isn’t the way to go. Personalize your messaging and build a more human-level of engagement. People will remember how you treat them during these difficult times, which will help you build lifelong relationships — even with someone you’ve never met before.
  • Be a good listener. A conversation is a two-way street, and so building a connection requires you to listen to the other side. Spend time learning about their story, their needs, and their goals before jumping into your side of the dialogue.
  • Keep conversations going. Comment on LinkedIn threads, ask questions, and keep the conversations flowing. If you’re not open to hearing different perspectives and engaging actively with others online, you may miss out on a lot of great connections.

According to McKinney, “In sales, there are memorable triggers that help us connect with people on an emotional level”. It is thus more essential than ever to make a lasting impression on those around us. Embracing virtual channels of interaction and allowing our real, human selves to come through is how we can all take steps towards an even brighter future.

Listen to AJ on the Ponderings from the Perch podcast here.

About the Podcast

Conversations with Priscilla McKinney, founder and President of Little Bird Marketing, an award-winning agency specializing in content marketing, lead generation, branding and design. As a CEO and serial entrepreneur, Priscilla’s topics range from marketing best practices, the “stunning discomfort” of entrepreneurship, market research, her love of the autoharp, and other marketing oddities.