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Why Face-to-Face meetings are still important in this digitally connected world?

Kaustubh Patwardhan | Director – SE, Asia & HK, Ashnik
Singapore, 21 Jan 2020
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21-Jan-2020

I had encountered an unbelievable sale during my initial days at Ashnik. As a business development ritual, I knock on every possible lead with equal importance. One such customer I was perusing back then with the same zeal was a bank in Indonesia. I went to their office, met the team, and before I was out of the meeting, I had won the project. Curious, I asked the customer, “what made you choose my company?” He said, “Among all the companies we considered, you were the only one that showed up. Rest of them just sent their marketing and sales emails.”

The point is, showing up and doing face-to-face meetings with your potential clients can set you apart from the rest of the industry in this highly digitized world.

Face-to-face meetings are more important than ever before! There is no doubt that we are living in an era of technology. And yes, social media and digital marketing are critical today for every business. But remember, spam emails, newsletters from hotels, countless offers from countless brands flood everyone’s inbox. If you want your potential customers to ignore you like the rest of the junk, send them an email. And if you want to stand out, show up to their office. Meeting your potential customers face-to-face gives you a personal look into their world. You gain insights that you would otherwise never get access to over phone calls, let alone emails. For starters, meeting face-to-face helps the customer remember you. You become more than another voice on the other side of the phone. It’s a chance for you to read their body language and facial expressions as you present your business to them, and that can help you unravel essential insights on how they feel about your product or service. Know that when customers invite you to their office, they equip you with insights into their world. And when you are in their office, take a look around. You will see photos of their loved ones, places they have been to, the hobbies they enjoy, among numerous other things they like. Pick something in their office that you relate to and ask them about it. Look for a common bond with your customer. And spark a conversation! Ask them about their recent trekking expedition or a trophy they won for a badminton tournament. Engage with them beyond run-to-the-mill business talks! Such discussions can help you create a bond with your customers that will take their mind off the fact that you are trying to sell them something. Instead, it will give them something fresh to remember you. The more you get your customers to talk about what they love, the more they will like you.

In the world of sales, you are only as good as your last sale. Remember that it is much easier to land a second sale with an existing customer than it is to gain a new customer through cold calls. A study by Forbes has confirmed that businesses lose almost 28% of existing customers because of no face-to-face interactions after the 1st sale has happened. Also, in the same study, it was found that 40% of prospects turned into a buying customer after a face-to-face meeting.

Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to get your new product to the market or a seasoned outside salesman with a large corporation, it’s time to get out and see your prospects face-to-face.

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  • Kaustubh Patwardhan is Ashnik’s Director for Southeast Asia (SEA) and Hong Kong. He leads sales, strategy and business development for the region. Kaustubh joined in 2013 and heads Ashnik’s SEA enterprise open source business with responsibility for strategic planning, channels and partners, sales and operations. He has been instrumental in building Ashnik’s culture which is centered on agility and innovation, aligning it to the core ideology of open source itself. Besides playing a key role in Ashnik’s multi-fold sales growth trajectory, his key accomplishments are building a solid partner ecosystem across the region and being highly responsive on customer engagements.

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