An in-person or face-to-face meeting is no longer an absolute necessity. We know this and we have to thank the digital world we live in. Moreover in the current economic conditions and budgetary constraints, one cannot always opt for travel dollars for in-person meetings. We use phone, social media, email, and video conferencing to communicate across distances and to maintain connections, but even then, messages get diluted or misinterpreted and a sense of personal connection is never truly established. In-person meetings can promote trust and lead to solid, long-term partnerships — some of the most important ingredients to growing any business.
While I am a strong believer of cold-call marketing, I cannot ignore the fact that in-person meetings are still vital for establishing deep connections with important clientele. In a recent study conducted by Forbes, executives expressed an overwhelming preference for in-person meetings, with more than eight out of ten saying they like in-person contact more than virtual. Asked why, those that prefer in-person meetings cited how they build stronger, more meaningful relationships (85%), the ability to “read” another person (77%), and greater social interaction (75%). Those who favored virtual meetings took more of a bottom-line approach, saying they saved them time (92%) and money (88%), or offered greater location flexibility (76%).
Below are some of the many advantages of in-person meetings in achieving your sales objectives.
Listen to the Body Language: Body language is a kind of nonverbal communication that plays a major part in our daily communication. It is not just how you say something, but also your facial expressions, hand gestures, and body posture can be mirror to your emotions and inner thoughts. That is why when we write, we tend to attach emoticons like a smiley face, frowny face, or capitalize words to express our emotions. There is no doubt that in-person meetings can allow for spontaneous reactions to such emotions.
Reaching Negotiated Agreements: Face-to-face or in-person meetings can be conducive to fostering certain business action or outcome and can improve the quality of a decision that is based on complex information, requiring the kind of give-and-take.
Smarter Engagement: Scheduling in-person meeting shows that you are making a sincere effort to develop a relationship and makes the other person appreciate that you are willing to take the extra step – a clear winner over rest of the competition.
Builds the Trust: When engaging a software development firm, while it is important to determine their technical capabilities, it is even more important to determine if their leadership team’s values and viewpoints are aligned with your company’s. An in-person meeting gives the company the opportunity to evaluate and service provider the opportunity to establish trust and confidence. That initial bond then sets the foundation for trust upon which a lasting business relationship is built.
In conclusion, make your face-to-face time count by meeting when your goal is to inspire or pitching something new. Most other times a phone call or an email will be just fine.
Always remind yourself to “Make a Customer, Not a Sale” and develop that long-lasting partnerships.