Face-to-face meetings are more important than ever before. There is no doubt that we are living in the era of technology. A recent survey taken by the United Nations Telecommunications Agency showed 6.8 billion cell phone lines were active, the world population at that time was 7 billion. Obviously many people carry multiple lines for business and personal use, but no matter how you look at it, we are a planet addicted to technology. Facebook has over 1.3 billion users and is the 2nd most visited site under Google. We are addicted to text messages, emails and the internet. What ever happened to picking up the phone or better yet having a face-to-face meeting with a potential customer. Yes, social media and digital marketing are critical today for every business, but here is some food for thought: According to Forbes, 40% of prospects turned into a buying customer after a face-to-face meeting. Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to get your new product to market or a seasoned outside salesman with a large corporation, it’s time to get out and see your prospects face-to-face. Below are the 5 reasons to make face-to-face marketing part of your weekly routine.
Face-to-Face Meetings in a Tech World
Your Competition Is Not Meeting Face-To-Face
I spent more than a decade as a salesman in the construction industry. When I started my career I was young and dumb, I didn’t know how young I looked or how inadequate my knowledge was on the trade I was selling. This actually worked to my advantage. About 1 year into my sales career in the industry, I took a job with a company who sold finish trades for residential homes in Southern California. It was 2005 and the market was going crazy. I typed up a marketing letter, added it to a package of materials on the company and hit the streets. Over the next two weeks I walked into the offices of over 30 home builders in the area. About 2 weeks after my walk-ins I got a call from a builder in the Palm Springs area, they asked me to come back in for a meeting. By the end of the meeting I had landed a master-planned community project consisting of over 1,000 homes. Again being young and dumb, I asked the customer, “Why did you decide to go with my company?”, he replied, “Because of all the companies we considered you were the only one that showed up”. The point is, the chances that your competition is showing up and doing any face-to-face meetings with your potential clients are slim, do this and it will set you apart from the rest of your industry.
You Give Them Something To Hold On To
Everyone’s email inbox is flooded with spam emails, newsletters from hotels they have visited, and marketing blasts. If you want to be ignored like the rest of this junk, send your potential client an email. If you want to stand out, show up to their office. This is especially useful when you are turning in your proposal or displaying the product you are trying to sell. I used to go over the top, I would turn in a project bid in a 3-ring binder. On the cover of the 3-ring binder, I would create a cover page with the customers logo and the logo of the company whom I worked for. I am not sure if this created a subliminal message in the customers head by displaying our logos together, however a lot of the time we ended up working together, as a team. Inside the binder I would include a company history, similar project references as well as a detailed proposal with pictures from the project. 9 out of 10 times I got the response from the customer, “You didn’t have to do all this”. This is because all my competitors were emailing in their proposal, which was lost between the rest of the unimportant messages. There were times I followed-up in person and I would see my binder still sitting on the corner of their desk. I would walk out of their office with a smile on my face, knowing that my logo was staring them in the face all day and that they would call me when the time came to award the project.
You Gain Your Customer’s Full Attention
How many calls have you taken on the road or while you are in the middle of working on a project? You continue to work on what you are doing and listen just enough to see if the person on the other side of the line has anything to say which is of benefit to you. On the other hand by meeting your customer face-to-face you command their full attention, you will usually be invited into their office or conference room for a meeting. Now you have their undivided attention. They are not reading over emails, looking at their GPS for directions or pulling their phone away from their ear to see who is calling in on the other line. The chances of your message getting across clearly and being remembered by your customer are increased substantially. When conducting a follow-up call, tell the customer you were right down the street at a current project or with a current client, so you decided to stop by. Even if you just drove 30 minutes out of your way, don’t let the customer know this, people like to work with successful people.
When You Meet Face-to-Face You Get Personal
Meeting with your potential customer face-to-face gives you a personal look into their world, you will gain insights that you would never get access over the phone. For starters, meeting face-to-face helps the customer remember you. You become more than another voice on the other side of the phone. You will be able to read their body language and facial expressions as you present your business to them, which will give you insights into how they really feel about your product or service. If the customer invites you into their office, you have just been equipped with insights into their personal world. Take a look around their office, you will see photos of their loved ones, places they have been to, hobbies they enjoy and other things they are passionate about. Pick something in their office that you have a relation to and ask them about it. If you are single and 24 do not comment on the photo of their kids, instead look further, for something you will have a common bond with your customer on. Creating this personal bond with your customer will take their mind off that fact that you are trying to sell them something and give them something more to remember you by. Anytime you can get your customer talking more about something they love, the more they will like you.
Face-To-Face Meetings Increase Customer Retention
In the world of sales you are only as good as your last sale. It’s also a fact that it is much easier to land a second sale with an exiting customer than it is to gain a new customer though cold calls. A recent study showed that 28% of existing clients were lost because of no face-to-face meetings.
For all the reasons above, the most important being building the personal relationship with your customer, face-to-face time is key in customer retention, and making a FaceTime call does not count. If you have never met any of your existing customers, it’s time to reach out and schedule a face-to-face meeting with them. Sure there will be some customers you will work with for years and never meet, but to increase your retention rate, hit the streets.
Here are some final tips as we wrap up the importance of face-to-face marketing:
- If you are cold calling, send your customer a marketing package ahead of time, this gives you a reason to show up. Always bring a second duplicate package with you in-case it never made it to their desk.
- Always dress the part. If you over dress you may scare your customer as you walk in the door, if you under dress you may not be taken seriously or leave a bad impression.
- Remember to look for something you have a common bond on with the customer, don’t bring up something you have no interest or knowledge on, the customer will pick up on this and it will come off as phony.
- Stack multiple face-to-face meetings in the same day, if you have any fears with face-to-face meetings by your 3rd or 4th meeting of the day your fears will be gone.
- Plan your agenda for the meeting in advance, the last thing you want to do is waste your customers’ time and leave them wondering what the point was for you stopping in.
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