There was a time when marketing men were like politicians. They had to shake hands and kiss babies, take district reps out for a lunch meeting and have dinner with the guy who could open up new territory but those days have gone the way of the piano lounge in the airplane. Now, we video conference with the reps, connect with customers by email and Facebook and use Linkedin to network with the guy who can help you open a store in Kansas.
Yeah for the internet! But Renee Huang of The Globe and Mail says that the internet is a poor substitute for the old fashioned meet and greet.
“Research in the business-to-business world suggests the No. 1 reason for selection of a supplier is the personality of the sales team or seller. This is above the technical specs, marketing form, anything else.”
Huang goes on to talk to several small business owners who say that face time with potential clients and customers was key to their success.
Now, I’ll admit that as a collective, we’ve gotten overly dependent on the internet. My friend recently lost her home connection for two days and you would have thought she was living without food and water. I’m not mocking, believe me, I feel the same way. I work and play online. I’ve never met 99% of the people I do business with, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing business and doing it well.
My husband, on the other hand, is a face-to-face guy. When ever I’m frustrated over a communication breakdown with a client he starts in with, “why don’t you try picking up the phone instead of this ridiculous emailing back and forth!”
Ah! Texting! That’s the answer!
I guess the biggest advantage to a meet and greet is that it’s harder to say no to a person’s face than to their Facebook. And I suppose that some people will reward the effort if you show up at their office with a box of cupcakes (even if you’re not selling cupcakes.) But when it comes to you, to your business, do you really think that your business would be better off if you could travel the country and pitch your wares one-on-one?
Face time, if you can get it, is a good thing, I’m sure. But when I count up how many business emails I get after midnight and on weekends, I doubt that anyone has time for a leisurely lunch to discuss the sale of a new product. That is, unless you don’t mind meeting at an all-night diner.
What are your thoughts on face time versus connecting via the internet?