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Whether you’re are visiting customers, suppliers or business peers at a networking event. The question “Why Face to Face Business is Important” is often not fully appreciated. Face to Face contact is way more valuable than email or telephone or other forms of direct marketing.

If we take a networking event all to often small inexperienced organisations take a bunch of business cards and push them out in the hope of getting business. Or which I find hugely amusing is the:
“Hi, my name is John Doe”
“Nice to meet you, John. I’m Jane Doe.” They shake hands. “What do you do?”
“I work with xyz as an xyz. What about you?”
“Oh, that’s cool.” John’s field isn’t of interest to Jane. “I work at xyz. Good luck to you! Let’s keep in touch!” Walks off.

This is not an efficient use of a network has virtually zero chance of success, WHY, the hint is in the name, NETWORK. Defined as “a group or system of interconnected people or things”. This type of network will not make you money or garner any friends, but can be used to glean information on market trends or the such like, possibly build contacts for future services you will need. I accept that the same is the same for others if you are a service provider. But if you are a manufacturer of industrial lasers, it unlikely that you will meet anybody remotely in your field. However, if I was to say, the best take away from a network event. CONFIDENCE.

A high proportion of new businesses are terrified talking to other people about their business, sure a few of us who are more long in the tooth don’t find it a problem but for the most its a BIG PROBLEM. It is simply just another hurdle that you will have to overcome in business, and with the right or of approach it can be done. Network events are a great stepping stone. Another maybe to have a business mentor or coach if you will. If you have the money you can employ such experts but as a small business I’m quite confident in saying that your funds could be better spent, so use network events to build that confidence. It will also give you the experience to give the elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is when you can pitch everything about your business concisely in 2 minutes or roughly the time it takes for an elevator ride, hence the term “Elevator Pitch”.

Having just spent the past two weeks in the Middle East having face to face meetings with current and potential clients, I have to admit that after many years, it still astonishes me the amount of business intelligence you can obtain with face to face meetings. It also goes much deeper because you may not have met the individuals before however within a couple of minutes you can start to build a relationship with that individual or group. Remember people buy from people, and while most of us in the developed areas of the planet, have bought something from Amazon or Ebay or whatever the equivalent is in your country. These are transactional sales, devolved of emotion and cold. As the digital age advances, these sort of business interactions will continue to grow, but I rile against this trend, it is so important to connect with people on a personal level. This sort of 1 on 1 interaction is not restricted to the Middle East, its very common in Asia in what the call guanxi (pronounced: gwan ji), a type of relationship currency and is built on professional qualities of integrity, honour, values & work ethic. Unlike us Europeans and North Americans where we can get stuck in the “transactional” no mans land. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Asian countries are dong so well?

Looking to the future, the young have a screen world where everything revolves round a device and it’s breaking the bonds of interaction between people and it is so important for the future of business we as business people don’t let it happen. Don’t become operational silos as this is not the way to build a long term sustainable business. You might be saying but that is how business done now. It doesn’t have to be, if you are a parent I bet you read to your children, that’s face to face communication folks. Still not convinced? Let me give you an example, in 1998 Oklahoma passed a law providing all four year olds free access to prekindergarten. The children ended up about half a tear ahead of where they would have been otherwise, having made sharp gains in pre-reading, pre-writing & pre-arithmetic skills. So what is this got to do with business I hear you ask. It’s people skills is face to face communication which we just can’t ever let go.

Developing relationships whether in business or not will give you the ability to meet new people, build that confidence where you can talk about your industry, you might even make some lasting friendships, I know I have. And when sometimes business gets sticky, those connections can help un-jam situations even many years down the line all because you made the effort to have face to face meetings.

On a final note, the obituary of Dr Clifford Nass in 2013, a professor at Stanford University who was doing pioneering research on the effect of “screen-saturated, multitasking modern world”… “ We’ve got to make face to face time sacred”. Which at is essence is what this episode is all about.

it’s not easy, but is rewarding in more ways than you would expect.

I hope that this episode has been of interest and maybe eve peaked your interest to have a further discussion. Just drop me a mail and let connect.

Contributing Source: Paul Munro & Celery Ellen Blog
Mentions in this Podcast:
Wild Haggis – Helping You Get Stuff Done
Celery Ellen Blog

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