We know creating a customer is different now than 10 years ago.
93% of all B2B purchases start with an Internet search
70% of the buying process is over before a buyer talks to a salesperson
And if you believe this article most sales jobs will be gone in the near future.
But there are still many reasons why you need to get face to face communication time with clients as often as possible and not just rely on technology like GoTo, Skype, e-mail, and social media to make your connections.
You can be personal and not hide behind an auto responder or a voice mail tree (select #2 if….blech!) - remember, people buy from people they like and is way easier to be liked when you can interact face to face. Alan Weiss says, "email is one dimensional, phone calls are two dimensional, and face-to-face is three dimensional". Exactly!
It is easier to be nice in person than over the phone. The phone, as does email and especially social media, construct a wall that allows people to throw verbal bombs that have little perceived risk in being returned. Ever see the difference when someone is flaming you on email and then you meet them face-to-face? Most times the tension is relieved quickly and common ground can be sought. Hiding behind email and the phone allow people to keep the walls up and stay stuck where they are.
See body language – you are active listening and can judge their attention and adjust accordingly. My policy is to use email for information only. Anything that is emotional (praise and criticism fall in this bucket) I do over the phone or better yet face-to-face.
Everyone is focused and not as easily distracted - have you checked e-mail during a web conference...I thought so. Tougher to check your phone when someone is standing in front of you, though I have seen it more and more.
Everyone seems to slow down a little and is not as hurried
Deeper connections on a personal and business level. Face-to-face allows us to connect and those connections help when there is rough spot or something goes wrong.
You can observe the environment looking for clues to the culture and current state of the target client
It is easier to ask for a referral or personal recommendation - and get it - if you have delivered value and made the effort to be face to face.
Making the effort to be there in person will make it easier to influence them to make the changes you as an expert think they should make.
And most importantly, you may be the only one making an effort to show up face to face with your prospect or customer so you will stand out in the crowd. I am a huge believer in Inbound Marketing, especially for the up front lead generation and awareness part of the buyer journey. Add value added, helpful, face-to-face interactions at appropriate times and you will multiply your chances of establishing a long term relationship.
Technology gives us the option to stay home and be less personal but there is no substitute for looking someone in the eye, a firm handshake, and delivering kindness in person.
You may be interested in these other posts on communication and selling strategy: