Published27. Sep. 2019
Why Are Face-To-Face Meetings Still Important?
Stronger connection, enhanced trust, live feedback - these are just some advantages of face-to-face meetings with clients. Read on to see why in-person networking is still vital in this digital era.
In the age of digital communication, where teleconferences through Skype and messages via e-mail are the norm, one would think that face-to-face meetings with clients have gone obsolete.
Well, we at Management Events beg to differ.
Research has shown that, even with all the advances in communication technologies, there is no substitute for interacting with your client in person, and here are the reasons why!
What Are The Benefits Of Face-To-Face Meetings?
1. Build Strong Relationships
“85% of people believe face-to-face meetings contribute to stronger, more meaningful business relationships.” – Great Business Schools
Meeting your customer in person not only demonstrates that you value their time and business. It also shows the effort you are putting into the meeting – that they are important to you and that the topic of discussion is worth their time and yours.
As in-person meetings feel more personal, the client will leave the meeting feeling that they were able to connect with you as a real person, something that rarely happens through emails or video calls.
Your personal attention towards your customer also shows that you are actively listening to them, solidifying the relationship into a stronger connection. This increases their willingness to listen to what you have to offer.
Value: Strengthen business relationships by getting to know your client in person.
2. Enhance Credibility and Trust
“Having a personal connection builds trust and minimizes misinterpretation and misunderstanding.” – Ulrich Kellerer
Clients want to buy from people that they know and trust, and the impression you give during the meeting is a key deciding factor on their confidence towards you. From your dressing and tone of voice to the firmness of your handshake, all these and more provide an authentic way for your client to get to know you.
Face-to-face meetings also allow clearer communication, especially if your client’s main language is not the same as yours. They are able to clarify information and watch your genuine reaction, which lends credibility when your client sees how your words align with your actions.
Value: Establish trust and credibility through open face-to-face communication.
3. Read Non-Verbal Cues
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker
It’s easier to gauge your customer’s interest in your discussion when you are able to read their body language. In fact, psychologist Jonathan Taylor noted that in a 10-minute conversation, people can show up to 150 positive or negative micro-behaviors in facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, and body postures.
These non-verbal signals are useful to determine the engagement level of your client, and to adjust your meeting if it’s clear that you are losing their attention. For example, if the customer is checking their watch, then it’s a sign that you need to re-capture their attention with a more exciting tone of voice or words.
So, while video and texting may be more convenient, it is easy to misinterpret or miss subconscious messages, especially when meeting a client for the first time.
Value: Read your clients through their behavior, expressions and body language.
4. Demonstrate Products
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
Although videos can showcase how a product or service works, nothing beats feeling and using the actual product. The most effective way to sell a prospect on your product is to show exactly what the product can do and how it can solve their pain points.
Conducting a demo through video calls also prevents you from assessing your client’s true reaction towards the product. In face-to-face meetings, small interchanges and body behavior you may miss on Skype are more noticeable, enabling you to address any worries or hurdles as they arise.
Having a conversation while going over the product also has more impact, and will leave a memorable impression on the client while gaining you valuable feedback.
Value: Build product visibility and awareness by connecting in-person with clients.
The ‘personal touch’ of a face-to-face business meeting can be a determining factor in forging strong business relationships. In-person networking shouldn’t be excluded simply because of the emergence of digital technology.
As written in an article on Steve Jobs and the importance of face-to-face meetings, “[E]mail, apps and instant messaging are all great, but they’re no substitute for in-person networking,” which is why Management Events encourages one-on-one meetings at all our events.
Find out how you can maximize your face-to-face meetings with C-suites and decision makers here!