Now its getting personal - the importance of face to face engagement

  • //images/face_to_face.jpgMarketing is imperative for all businesses; however, with uncertain economic times continuing to surround us, I am regularly asked by clients what the best way to market their businesses is.

    Despite all of the high-tech alternatives available to us today, I truly believe that face-to-face communication and interaction - personal engagement - is the single most powerful marketing method of them all.  Broadcast marketing: advertising, e-comms, print media or telemarketing - cannot hope to motivate a customer to place an order like face-to-face contact can.  In fact, on some occasions, broadcast marketing can be a deterrent - that annoying sales call or the radio ad that drives you mad!

    The most effective marketing tool is YOU, your sales team and your product interacting directly with your prospective buyer.

    If you relate this to the people that you feel most comfortable with in your personal life, you will understand what I mean: it could be your partner, a family member or a colleague.  Think what it is about those people that makes you feel most at ease.

    I'll wager it is trust and understanding.

    And where does this come from? Relationships and engagement - using all of your senses to truly experience and connect with that person.

    What other marketing tools allow you develop such a deeply personal relationship with someone or something?

    According to Professor Albert Mehrabian and his communicate studies, 93% of one person's impression of another is related not to what they say, but how they say it - you need to be able to physically engage with the person you are communicating with to properly get your message across.

    An important reminder for us all is that customers are not just after the best price, they also need to feel comfortable with the people they plan to do business with. This cannot be achieved through just print or online media, or even a sales call.  Moving a prospect up the ladder from basic awareness of your business' existence to proper understanding and trust requires an effective mix of personal contact and content engagement.

    A rapport will build faster between you and your prospects if you can "show" them what you mean, rather than "tell" them what you mean - rapport is built with actions rather than words.

    Now, we all know that the web is the future - the gateway to everyone's needs - however, in B2B, a customer wants to know who they are going to do business with. Maximising the personal engagement opportunities within your marketing plan, whether that be through hospitality events, trade shows, seminars or conferences, will offer you more opportunities to cement a lasting bond.  Now is the time to secure your relationships - after all, engagement is a long term commitment!

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