Why Face-to-Face is a Winning Strategy – Even in a Digital World
Unless you’re a service-based business that must get “up close and personal” with clients, it’s likely that your business depends almost entirely on digital tools for most of your communications and interactions.
AT&T found that 66 percent of small businesses would fail without wireless technology, while 41% of business owners have plans to increase technology spending. While technology increases efficiency and even time management and productivity there is still a need for face-to-face interaction for successful business.
The Value of One-on-One.
In-person meetings can cost time and money, but it’s a small price to pay for that personal connection that’s critical to the success of any business. Consider a recent study in Harvard Business Review that found face-to-face requests are 34 times more likely to garner positive response over email. Cvent reports that 96% of small businesses surveyed said in-person meetings yield a return on investment. Inc. Magazine reports that 46% of professionals say they’ve lost a client or contract because they didn’t allow for enough face time and that 69% of people surveyed admit to browsing social media to pass the time on audio-only conference calls.
Also consider that a personal connection builds trust and allows you to read body language and facial expresses, which can reduce misunderstandings. Since approximately 93% of communication is non-verbal, meeting in person provides the full picture.
It’s common to think “meetings” when you think “face-to-face.” But there’s a world of opportunities outside the office. Hosting your clients, donors, centers of influence and prospects at your own events can make a big impact. In fact, it provides a unique opportunity to catch-up with long-time connections and build relationships with those getting to know you and your business.
At Capital Bank, while we’re tech forward and digitally focused, we’ve also found hosting in-person symposiums with thought leaders and panels offers unique value to our clients, providing information they can use to inspire and change their day-to-day. Investing in events offers unique insight, and that sets us apart from other firms. More laid-back events have also proven to be a great way to get together with our clients in a more relaxed atmosphere, building personal relationships and getting the insight we might not have otherwise gotten in a traditional office setting.
Do your clients host dinners, networking events or galas? Show up for them. Nothing can be more valuable than supporting your clients in person. It gives you the opportunity to network, yet even more importantly, lets your client know you’re there for them and believe in them.
If a business has three or 300 employees, leaders should invest in time with their teams. At Capital Bank, for instance, while we enjoy events together throughout the year, we also have an annual in-person road show and town hall meeting. These events offer the opportunity for employees to go one-on-one time with the executive team, meet one another, hear details about the bank’s progress and have their questions and concerns heard. As I mentioned in a previous post, retaining is recruiting. You should be engaging, interacting and recruiting your own employees every day by challenging them to grow and succeed at work while supporting them in their personal lives.
Whether it’s with employees or clients, the human element can help give you the competitive edge in this age of email and text exchanges.