The Importance Of Seeing The Whites Of Their Eyes

inc facetofacemtgs survey

If I were the twitterer, there’s an obvious headline to grab here…

@sellers OMG half of all vendors have lost a customer recently simply because they’ve not sat down with them enough

Are you Up or Down on that measure?

Makes a welcome change from the ever large-looming ‘new broom’ bomb.

So. Two conflicting forces. The need to meet face-to-face. The need to cut non-essential travel costs.

Bedazzled by Bladerunner, video calls took a frustrating two-decade eternity to finally land. As much as Webex, MS Netmeeting and Skype then stuttered, the replicant-ridden future felt tantalisingly close.

Yet the feeling persisted that whilst fantastic for personal catching up, a business setting remained less suited to video calls. Even in George Clooney’s Oscar nominated Up In The Air, televisual presence alone was found to put their human resourcing operations back. Considerably.

So if you cannot fire someone through a screen, why should you ‘hire’ the same way?

Especially in the corporate sense of ‘buy’.

The answer, it appears, is that you can’t.

I came across the above survey findings via inc.com‘s instagram.

Exec’s believe that face-to-face meetings are overwhelmingly important to selling ideas and keeping clients.

Yet just about half lament that they don’t spend as much time doing so as even five years ago. And have lost a contract as a result.

This poll is not unique.

Five years ago this Wall St Journal piece from the angle of travel budgets concurred.

Execs then considered face-time a necessity not luxury, brought out the best in people and produced breakthrough thinking.

So if videocalls don’t cut it, why are they replacing physical get-togethers?

The balance may require recalibrating.

A videocall can upgrade the odd phone call, conference call even.

But that flesh-press presence still needs to exist.

Farmers can build in a review plan. A bit like senior exec meetings, where they want to know how people in their positions elsewhere solve similar conundrums perhaps. Or with customers wishing to be involved in shaping a future product/service direction.

Hunters must qualify better. Brainstorm workshops are always satisfying. As too are uncovering delivery lessons from yesteryear. And the perennial favourite of your project’s strategic alignment clientside.

There’s nothing worse though than convening a meeting for the sake of it. Biscuit-dunking. A total, criminal waste of time.

With costs being ever more examined, you must remember that there’s only so far yet another phone call will get you. The trick is in choosing the right timing in the relationship, and the appropriate purpose behind the meeting.

I hope your scales haven’t tipped too far the wrong way.

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jamie@example.com
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