The importance of looking your clients in the eye has never been greater. In today’s high-tech world where morning meetings have changed from the conference room to UberConference and finalizing terms can get done on Skype, today’s executives appreciate the personal touch more than ever.
Being located in New Orleans gives us a unique perspective on the subject. America’s Southeast is well-known for old fashioned manners and hospitality. The region’s industrial juggernauts like oil and gas and maritime shipbuilding are well-known for being part of the “old boys’ club” where million and billion dollar deals are done on the golf course or over a steak. Relationships are at the core of what’s most important in business, not the latest technology.
Revelry is a technology company at the core and everyone here is inherently connected to the latest, cool piece of tech that will make our lives easier or save our clients money. But we also hold dear our NOLA roots and the importance of building relationships with our clients, partners, and most importantly, each-other. Right now, since we have 1 location and the team is still small enough, teambuilding is easy internally.
Meeting every client and partner face-to-face is far more challenging, but we give it our best. Most of our business is not coming from New Orleans, or even the Southeast. So carving out the time is hard, and carving out the budget can make our business analyst’s heart skip a beat. But it’s all very necessary and as important an investment as any other that we make. In all my years I’ve never been blindsided by losing a client that I met with face-to-face. You can assume you have the greatest relationship based on emails and phone calls, but until you shake their hand and look them in the eye, you really don’t know who your dealing with, and that goes both ways.
You can be a master communicator and character-judging phenom, write amazing emails, and have exceptional phone skills, but rest assured, part of your personality and emotions are getting lost by not being present. I’ve lost clients that I thought were extremely happy, overnight, without explanation. Anyone in sales can tell you about losing a client or a deal by surprise, where the entire experience was this unexplained phenomenon because “they just seemed so happy”. However, when I’ve taken the time and spent the money to sit down face-to-face with a client, they almost never walk away without picking up the phone and giving me the opportunity to fix the problem – and that makes all the difference.
The technology is there today to eliminate the personal touch all together, and those managing the budget may not understand why you spend $2,000 on an overnight trip when you could just use GoToMeeting for free. Don’t be tempted by those shortcuts all the time. Hold the relationships you have up where they should be, at the very tippy top of the asset column. Find the time and spend the money to create, build and nurture those relationships because that is an investment that will continue to show a return forever.