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October 22, 2019

There is Nothing That Rivals In-Person Meetings for Deepening Client Relationships

We had clients visit us in our offices last week. These in-person meetings are a fairly rare occurrence in today’s ‘connected’ world. Aside my ‘road trips,’ most client get-togethers happen by phone or, maybe, video chat. And while those calls are always productive, they still leave me feeling a little disconnected.

So, when this client said they wanted to come to Nashville to meet, we got really excited.

Here was an opportunity to really ‘connect’ – on a much more personal level – than we normally do. And several key things happened while they were here:

First of all, we got a ton of work done together. Because they made the commitment to visit, it wasn’t the typical hour-long conference call. We sat around the conference table and worked for several hours over two days. We got really in-depth on certain issues, brainstormed a lot of great ideas, put up flip-chart notes all over the walls and walked away with a real plan of action. It was terrific!

The collaborative nature of the work and the good plan we developed also provided another benefit… the opportunity to increase our business with this client. The fact is, buyers buy from sellers that they get to know-like-trust. And I think our work around the table elevated all three of those elements in the client’s eyes and opened the door to an expanded relationship. Fingers crossed!

But the real value of our time together was in simply connecting as people… during the hours around the table, and more importantly, over a long dinner after the first day. The Harpeth team and our clients went out to a nice restaurant, had drinks and a great meal and we just talked… with most of the conversation NOT being about work. We talked about home, kids & grandkids, vacations, our favorite series on Netflix and so on. We talked the way that friends talk when they get together. And isn’t that the point?

Conclusion

I am a big believer in the saying that “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 it’s nearly impossible to build those kind of meaningful client relationships with a few emails and an occasional phone call. So, take a look at your client list – start at the top with your largest ones – and make plans now to get out of the office and schedule a series of in-person meetings. I promise it will be well worth the time and expense of doing it.

“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 that won’t happen with a few emails and an occasional phone call. Click To Tweet

An Extra Nugget

Writing this post reminded me of a United Airlines TV commercial from 30 years ago (“Steve, how old are you?!”)… about the value of in-person meetings. While the technology mentioned in it is out-of-date, the sentiment is on point; I thought you might enjoy it: http://bit.ly/2pINLOI

 

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