In an era of social media, e-mail marketing, and text messages, business owners and marketers frequently forget the value of face-to-face interaction. Corporate executives still strike deals on the golf course and in fancy restaurants - and for good reason. Face time remains essential to the healthy development of a brand.
Humanizing the Brand
Add a real human face to your brand.
Behind every crisp logo and organized corporate identity lies at least one flesh-and-blood human being. The public needs to see faces to connect with the purpose behind the brand, which is why face-to-face communication remains essential for building trust, loyalty, and confidence among clients.
People want to do business with other people - not with websites or machines or mobile apps. They want to know that a person cares about their needs and wants to help solve their problems. The only way to convey this is through personal interaction.
A survey revealed that 67 percent of senior-level executives believe they could increase productivity within their organizations by introducing personal, face-to-face discussions with staff, according to CIO. A similar policy among marketers could also increase productivity and brand awareness during communications with clients and customers.
When people sit in the same room with each other, they can brainstorm ideas or talk through problems without the interruptions of lost signals, disruptive static, or outside distraction. They focus on the topic at hand and feed off each other's emotions as they work toward a common goal. This makes the brand appear more effective and efficient to the outside world.
The combination of action and spoken language results in better retention of information. According to Changing Minds, people remember 90 percent of information when they both say it and take action on it (versus only 10 percent of information gleaned from reading and 30 percent of purely visual data).
When you meet with a prospective customer, you want him or her to absorb the information you present during your presentation and retain it for future reference. If a client forgets everything you said after you hang up the phone, you've failed. Face time increases your chances of converting a prospect into a customer.
People connect on deeper levels when they meet face-to-face.
In-person meetings usually last longer and involve more communication than telephone meetings or e-mail correspondence. You might discuss a new product roll-out or talk about the size of an upcoming order, but you also connect on a more intimate level.
You might discover that you share a fondness for Chinese take-out or a passion for theater. You'll learn the names of each other's spouses and children and find out what you like to do on the weekends.
Relationships drive brand awareness, loyalty, and trust. If you make a positive connection with a client or customer, they become more likely to turn to you when they need a solution to a problem or discover they need a service that you provide, even if it doesn't happen until months or years down the road.
Developing a Give-and-Take Mindset
Conversations sometimes yield surprising results. You might meet with a client in person and discover that, while the client doesn't really need the product or service you got together to discuss, he or she could use something else you provide.
This only happens through give-and-take communication. When people talk face-to-face, they learn things about one another that might not emerge during virtual communication.
While most of your business might occur through the digital world, don't dismiss face time as a convention of the past. Instead, embrace all the avenues of connection available to you and set aside time for in-person interaction.