By: Angelique Rewers
I’ve always known that the power of meeting people face to face far surpasses anything that can be accomplished online.
In fact, in the early days of my business, my strategy for landing corporate clients revolved entirely around getting face-to-face with decision makers and building “trusted advisor” relationships.
Even as the years have gone on, and I’ve built my own 7-figure business, I’ve continued to experience first-hand that in-person opportunities — not online marketing — have been the critical driver to SOARING revenues and priceless relationships.
But I had no idea face-to-face marketing was as powerful as it is, until I picked up a copy of the book, The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to. It was recently named, “The Best Marketing Book of the Year,” and is the winner of the American Marketing Association’s Berry-AMA prize.
One of the first shocking statistics that I gleaned from the book is that 90% of recommendations that lead to clients taking action happen offline, and more than 75% of clients either prefer or REQUIRE a face-to-face meeting before they make a big decision.
This got me curious, so I decided to dig a little further into the power of face-to-face marketing. I quickly found some additional research that told the same story.
For example, 95% of people polled by Harvard Business Review said face-to-face meetings are the “key to success for long-term relationships,” 89% said meeting in-person is “essential” for sealing the deal, and 82% said face-to-face meetings are required for making important decisions before signing agreements.
Plus, according to another report from Meeting Professionals International (MPI), 40% of those polled said their prospects became new customers specifically as a result of face-to-face interaction, compared to only 16% who converted without a meeting.
The biggest point made by “The Face-to-Face Book,” however, is the compelling evidence that human beings are fundamentally wired to be social and are highly influenced by direct, in-person conversations.
Of course, this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. If you think about how YOU make decisions as to which people to buy services from — everything from coaching to branding to copywriting to even hiring members of your team, you can probably find significant evidence that the people you buy the most from, you did so after meeting them in person.
But what is shocking is that despite the shear power and influence of face-to-face interactions, so many entrepreneurs have fully gravitated toward online marketing and online social media. For far too many solo business owners, you practically have to peel their fingers away from their keyboards, pry them out of their office chairs and drag them to the airport in order to get them to be in the same room with the very people they are trying to sell to.
Quite frankly, it borders on insanity – because doing “it all” online or over the phone is a lot like trying to roll water up hill.
That’s why something I’ve been drilling into my consulting and coaching clients for years is that they can’t abandon personal conversations. Not only is it a source of tremendous competitive advantage for you—and something that will radically transform your business — but it’s also an advantage that a lot of other companies can’t compete with.
So with that in mind, here are 5 great ways to get face-to-face with your target market.
- Speaking. Speaking positions you immediately as an expert and thought leader, and it also allows you to control the conversation as you gradually build up your business case for why what you do is such a powerful transformer for the audience’s life or business.
- Sponsoring and exhibiting. This is a critical strategy that’s used by smart entrepreneurs to propel quickly to 7-figures and beyond, and I’m always baffled why more business owners who want (and need) clients quickly don’t leap at opportunities to get close proximity to their target market. Here’s the deal, if there are events out there that put you in a room full of your ideal target market: run, don’t walk, to that opportunity. (If you want to find events where the corporate people are, check out www.eventsinamerica.com and www.tsnn.com.)
- Strategic networking. Note the word “strategic” in there. I’ll be the first to say that it’s not worth running all over town to networking events. The key to effective networking is that you have to find the events where your target audience actually shows up. And you need to do your homework ahead of time and go into events with a goal to meet and mingle with a specific target list of people. Lastly, you have to make follow-up a high priority after these events. Block it on your calendar.
- “Go sees.” As much as possible, I incorporate “go sees” into my business travel. Whenever I travel to a city, I’m looking to see which companies are based there, and I reach out to make appointments to meet with at least one or two decision makers. The fact that I’m only going to be there for a few days creates a natural sense of urgency so that the meeting is more likely to happen, versus getting postponed. (And by the way, you can also use the opportunity for go-sees, to meet with existing clients as well as potential JV partners or referral partners.)
- Attend events. One of my clients recently attended a full-day seminar that had a ticket price of a few hundred dollars. At lunch, she was seated with top decision makers from major corporations to both her right and to her left. By the time she got to lunch, she had sat through three different breakout sessions and had a great idea of exactly what to open the conversation with in order to lead to follow-up meetings. Guess what. It worked!
Bottom line? If you’re serious about growing your business, face-to-face conversations MUST be central to how you first meet, get to know about, and close your target clients.