Believe me…I am a believer in using social media, blogs & websites and other technology tools to market a business. However, I have to emphasize that these tools are meant to support your relationships. Despite the growing popularity of digital tools, face-to-face interactions are extremely valuable and essential to building long-term, loyal business relationships.
A white paper I recently came across, “The Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face,” found three reasons why live meetings continue to be an essential part of the marketing mix. In-person meetings accomplish the following:
- Captures an individual’s attention and focuses it on your business at hand for a defined period of time.
- Inspires positive emotions through a human connection.
- Builds solid networks and relationships.
These points sound like common sense, but the paper was based on a scientific study conducted jointly between Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and a sales and marketing services company. It is a fascinating study that when you boil it down, makes a great case for keeping it real.
Think about it…in a virtual environment, people try to ‘multi-task’, resulting in a diluted interaction. We allow the human connection to be interrupted by technology. We eliminate the ability to read body language, create an emotional link to an other person and disconnect the natural pull of a compelling relationship. This research confirms that relationships are more easily built (and are ultimately stronger) when forged in person. Deep trust is built through repeated in-person encounters, not conference calls and linked in posts.
We have all heard the term “doing business on the golf course.” Whether seeing someone on the course, in the coffee shop, over lunch or at the gym, build face-to-face time into your marketing and business development initiatives and continue to use technology tools as support to the relationships you take the time to invest in.