The PR department of airline Cathay Pacific splashed a fair few quid lately to ensure their message “slash travel budgets at your peril” was read by business leaders.
I’m interested in this as a Sales topic, as I’ve blogged on recently discovering the Exec perception of lost sales from lack of flesh-press.
I myself am encountering an increasing lean towards Skype with prospects. Fifteen years ago now I recall the emergence of video conferencing from WebEx and NetMeeting. And how I felt – although wonderful – they never seemed to truly progress anything.
In my solution sphere, the complexity of projects combined with corporate visibility should they get green-lighted, means nothing tends to advance without you and prospect physically sharing space.
One particular signal I used to relish, was when my prospect would rush out and grab a colleague half-way through a meeting. Priceless. That never happens over Skype.
A slew of surveys quoted all pointed in the same direction. The weight though is given over to anecdotal hunches. Such as this warning should you scale back on trips, “you miss the little whispers among people”.
Eye-watering amounts of money are apparently spent on business travel. You can see why bean counters would try to “control” it. Here’s suggested compound annual growth rates, 2014-2018, across global regions;
And by 2018, the annual worldwide spend is put at a whopping $314 billion.
Perhaps the most insightful part of the piece comes (unsurprisingly) from a communications adviser that devotes 70% of her cost-base to travel. Racking up an astonishing 400,000 airmiles a year. She majors on the trust element.
“You can’t fake trust. But that authenticity only really comes out when you can sit with someone face-to-face. You can’t hide behind a screen.”
Definitely something to consider when you set up that next Skype call…