Why face to face meetings are still important in the 21st century
There are a multitude of software and tools at our disposal to make our working lives more efficient. We can literally communicate with anyone in the world at any given time from the comfort of the office with the help of various VOIP solutions. But sometimes in the world of B2B sales, there is still a need for face to face meetings. Personal relationships with customers through face to face meetings are important to build trust. How can we make use of the tools available to us to prevent us from wasting valuable time and money?
“Customers need to get the feeling that you truly understand their needs.”
Andrew is head of business development at View The Space, a software that helps commercial real estate landlords more efficiently identify opportunities, anticipate exposure and track overall performance Despite having limited resources and tight deadlines, VTS’s goal is for all their sales meetings to be held in person. He feels that it is even more important for VTS as a startup company to meet their customers face to face in contrast to larger corporations.
The goal of these meetings is building trust. “Customers need to see with their own eyes who is behind the actual business and get the feeling that you truly understand their needs.” In the early stages when you can’t rely on contacts and recommendations, it is essential to build a steady customer network. Perhaps VTS has an advantage since the majority of their customers are salespeople themselves. It is always easier to sell to someone who “speaks the same language”. “A demo is usually enough to get the customers attention”, says Andrew. He thinks that this is because of the simplicity of his company’s product as well as the trust that a personal meeting creates.
“Any B2B sales environment is still about the relationship”
Inevitably the time consuming approach of meeting every single customer face to face must take away from some of the effective and flow of a sales process. But it’s all worth it in the end, says Andrew: “The relationship with your customer is still very important for B2B startups. The pros outweigh the cons in the long term.” Face to face relationships takes time and requires a significant amount of effort. To meet your customers personally requires a geographical closeness which doesn’t work well with scaling the company.
Let the tools do the work
This is why startups in the next phase should utilize software and processes. Pipeline your sales process by putting part of your team on finding those perfect meetings that creates opportunities by plowing through up to hundreds of leads per week. There are many tools that are available to help you. Prospecting tools or LinkedIn itself can help you find a lot of similar new clients, but also working on an inbound strategy. The other part of the team should be responsible for networking and creating relationships built on trust and familiarity. Once you have a good product, a good process to find new leads, qualify them and nothing will be able to stop you from growing.
These personal relationships can make all the difference if you manage to find the right people. “The product still needs to be top quality and provide benefit to the customer, but even more important is that your customer trust you as a person and as a business. It is very important that your customer gets a feel for who you are as a company and how you operate beyond the product”, says Andrew.
We are moving towards a world where the tools of the digital age have changed the definition of face to face conversations. Whilst it is still hugely important to make time in your sales process to meet with your customers and create personal relationships, software tools have made it possible to defy geographical boundaries.