Would it ever be possible to think that face-to-face meetings could ever be replaced. No, I don’t think so either.
There is no other way to build a strong, lasting relationship with customers and prospects like being right in front of them listening to their concerns and reading their body language.
And like I’ve mentioned previously, communication tools such as email has replaced more effective tools like a face-to-face meetings which is a shame.
As a sales pro it is within your power to stop this from happening. You can take control of your activities and reduce your reliance on emails and phone calls.
By simply taking the time to meet with your current customers you will be able to build longer, stronger relationships.
A capability that wouldn’t be possible with other forms of communication such as emails, phone calls, or even handwritten letters.
Benefits Of Face-To-Face Meetings
For any experienced sales professional the benefits of a face-to-face meeting are without question.
But as I’ve always mentioned this site is intended for the non-experienced sales person and experienced alike.
So some of the peculiarities of face-to-face sales meetings may not be readily apparent. Which is fine. And something I too faced when I first started in sales.
Which is where this post comes in. To showcase some of the smaller details that should not be overlooked when pushing yourself or your sales team towards face-to-face meetings over emails or calls.
It is said that 70-80% of what you say is not in the words you use. Your message is a culmination of your words, your movements, the pitch and tone of your voice, and even your eye contact.
The same is true for your customer or prospect.
This message is not something that is possible to read over the phone or through an email. The only way…face-to-face meetings.
Subtleties such as a customer leaning in when you mention a certain product.
Or the way they ask questions when you talk about your new initiatives.
Body language is often my favorite aspect of a sales meeting. I was recently meeting with a client talking about various changes that we’ve implemented to better serve them, and I was having a hard time getting them to open up.
Not until I struck a cord, based on their body language, and jumped on that opportunity did the meeting start to go my way.
This sales skill is something that takes time to develop. And don’t forget it takes time to develop this skill. So don’t worry if you don’t immediately notice slight changes in body language.
Work on it and you’ll see the small things in no time.
There’s no doubt that face-to-face meetings create that “little something extra” when it comes to personal interaction.
For obvious reasons a stronger bond is created when you’re face-to-face with a customer.
Again, this is something that is impossible over email or phone.
To Gauge Reactions
This could be a subset of body language however I believe that what they say, how they say it, is different then how they react to what you say.
Although you should always go into a meeting with a clearly defined agenda, it’s important to allow for some flexibility within the conversation.
When I meet with customers and prospects interested in property management software I am often ready to highlight our newest features that I think would make their lives easier (not all of them are a fit as much as I wish they were). But I gauge my presentation on how the conversation is going.
If they aren’t showing interest in where the conversation is going, I am ready to adjust as needed. A skill that has served me well but something that took a lot of time to develop.
And one I am still working on.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net