Here is a cool stat for you from a great infographic from Virgin Entrepreneur:
95% say face to face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.
Now I know we are all virtual professionals, and I’ve done my fair share of hiding behind my computer screen.
‘I don’t do in-person meetings.’
‘I don’t do Skype or Facetime.’
‘Thanks for the invitation to coffee, but I only do phone meetings.’
‘You can only reach me via email. It’s how I work.’
I’ve said these things to my clients and potential clients.
I still say them!
BUT in terms of networking, there are many cases where meeting face to face (either in a small business setting or a large event) can really fast-track your business relationship.
The statistic above is a very interesting take on the perception of business owners.
Trust is built more easily face to face. The whole process is just faster.
So you should be doing more of that in your business.
Now before you panic, you need to consider what we mean by saying face to face.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go somewhere and meet someone in person. You can meet face to face networking easily with your webcam!
Google Hangouts, Zoom Conference, Skype and many other meeting services will allow you to easily meet with people face to face from your own office.
No matter where you meet people you need to have a plan for it to be beneficial for your business, and so that you don’t waste your time (or theirs!)
Here are 7 tips for better face to face networking results:
1. Meet someone with a goal in mind. Know why you are attending the event, or why you took the meeting. What is your objective?
2. Introduce yourself. Don’t be a wallflower! Even if you are shy, be sure to introduce yourself to people. Conversations start with hello!
3. Ask questions. When you are having a conversation with someone, ask them about their business. Ask them how they are doing things now. It’s like a recon mission right in the moment!
4. Be interested and attentive. Don’t get distracted while you talk to someone. If you are looking elsewhere, it’s probably time to walk away and go and start a new conversation.
5. Be prepared to answer questions. Everyone else there is doing the same thing as you. Make sure you know your objective and how to respond to questions to bring the conversation around to that goal.
6. Move around. Don’t stay with one person for the whole event (even if you came together). It’s a crutch and it won’t help you reach your goal by hanging out with the same person the whole time.
7. Follow up. When you leave it’s never the end. More business is done in the follow up than when you meet someone face to face, so develop a plan and stick to it.
Your relationship will be much farther along simply by having a personal connection. Business can be closed so much faster than via social media.
For more tips on networking and follow up, check out my Back to Basics training video here:
Click the picture above to view the training video, or click here.
Let me know what you think!