In this world of emails, texts, webinars and FaceTime, it’s critical to carve out actual face time with clients. Of course, we speak with our clients by phone and have dedicated calls with them on a regular basis, but nothing replaces the interaction and discussions that happen when everyone is together in the same room.
While the current landscape has made it possible to conduct business without ever meeting in-person with clients or even colleagues in certain cases, it doesn’t mean we should forget about the value such interaction adds to any working relationship.
I was fortunate enough to finally meet with a longtime client last week. Having the Atlantic Ocean between us means traveling to either side of the pond happens infrequently. She was in New York for a trade show, so we scheduled a meeting in our office. It was the first time this entire team was around the same conference table without someone on speaker. This particular meeting was much more dynamic than our standard catch-up call. Seeing facial expressions, hand gestures and sharing laughs and frustrations real-time helped to connect us all. For me personally, I have a pleasant relationship with this contact and believe that meeting only helped to enhance our rapport.
In our industry, much of what we do day-in and day-out is done with the help of a laptop and WiFi connection. I’d be lost without email and even though I’m not a fan of the way I look on webcam, it’s a wonderful option to connect. But technology is cold and relationships need to be nurtured. Though it may sound obvious, communicating non-pixilated face to non-pixilated face is still relevant.
Who cares about your matches on Match or Tinder unless you actually make a date to see if you connect in real life? The same goes for the workplace. Technology enables us to link up with more people faster than ever before. It’s important not to lose sight of how we can best cultivate those relationships.
At RoseComm, we’re mindful of making face-to-face contact part of our overall strategy for all clients. After the client leaves, or on the car ride or flight home, the conversation undoubtedly turns to how beneficial it is to meet in-person. A spontaneous brainstorming session or side conversation can uncover so much—from a previously unexplored angle for a pitch to new business developments. It’s beneficial to just engage in conversation instead of sticking bullet by bullet to an agenda.
It’s true that in-person means investing in travel time and related expenses, but the value it brings can’t be matched.
Jennifer Leckstrom is an account supervisor with RoseComm, a strategic communications firm that helps clients uncover and share their stories with the people who matter most. Follow Jennifer: @jleckstrom. Follow RoseComm: @rosecomm