Why real meetings matter


Today, we send messages by email, BlackBerry and voicemail almost instinctively, because it lets us get our business done efficiently.

It wasn’t that way 30 years ago. It took longer — and required commitment — to see clients, partners and suppliers, and to pursue business opportunities. It wore out our briefcases and the tires on our cars.

Yes, technology has really simplified our communications. But has it improved them?

I hear this every day in my office: “we communicated it to the client by email”. When I began my career, “communicating” with someone was about more than just words. Effective communication operated on a number of levels — the ability to speak eloquently was paramount, but equally important was to see the reaction to our offer, to watch a client’s elation or distaste, to read their body language and discern from that the best response.

Yes, our gain is speed but our loss is true connection. Ultimately, people buy from people they trust. It is not true that all clients buy “price” but they all buy “value”. Value represents trust, peace of mind and a personal connection.  An emoticon  or an e-mail signature cannot compete with a firm handshake.

And we are not alone in this new era of impersonal communications. The disconnect is becoming more and more pervasive in every industry. But we are marketers, and as such live by the words of the authors Reis and Trout: the very essence of marketing is to be FIRST. So as a company dedicated to leading social change we must seize the opportunity to be different. You can call wanting to make a human connection with clients and partners “old fashioned” if you like — but in the current environment, it can also be quite innovative.

You want to make your offer more valuable? Whenever possible, add face-to-face to your vocabulary.

 

[Image via FreeVector]

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