I spent last week on Brickell Key in Miami (yeah – I took one for the team!) at CASRO’s 40th Annual Conference. Good event, some really interesting speakers and sessions, well-done social activities and a couple dozen exhibiting firms (including us!).
Over the 3 days, I had the opportunity to connect with a number of new industry contacts (now called ‘sales prospects’) and – maybe more importantly – re-connect with a bunch of old friends, contacts, colleagues and clients.
Say what you will about technology and the digital world we live in, but in business, nothing is more important than that person-to-person (P2P) connection. The handshake… the smile… the laughter… a REAL connection.
Yes, we need email and social media to stay in touch. Yes, we need websites, blogs, eBooks and webinars to share information. But all of that pales in comparison to face-to-face conversations. More than just a chance to share information, though, these REAL conversations allow the two people to begin to genuinely get to know each other and start to get a sense of who the other person really is.
It’s that kind of connection that can really accelerate a relationship – to move it forward toward a ‘deal’ faster than just a digital relationship. In fact, connecting in-person can also be a differentiator, helping you to stand out from all of those other firms that choose only to work online or on the phone.
So, as you start thinking about your 2016 marketing & sales plan, consider how you might integrate the following P2P opportunities:
- Networking or exhibiting at conferences
- Speaking at conferences (webinars are great… but there’s nothing like connecting with an audience in-person)
- Scheduling in-person visits with existing clients (it’s so much easier to keep existing clients than to try to dig up new ones, yet most business development plans focus on the opposite)
- Make in-person sales calls
- “Blitz” a city in the days just before or just after a conference (Why not? Your plane ticket is already paid for!)
Remember this: All things being equal, people do business with people they like… all things NOT being equal, people STILL do business with people they like. And ‘connecting’ in-person is the best way to start that kind of relationship.
What are your “in-person plans” for 2016?