This week at LGC we’re dreaming of the future when face to face communication in crowded group settings is safe, but we’re planning for an alternative too. We’ve been mostly online with our parent company for 20 years, but our largest accounts have come from trade shows. We get it. This week we have two articles for you to peruse about meeting in person, we have a fun accessory to help with the “7 seconds” it takes for in person buyers to size your sales people up, and we get some validation from Google. The decision process for your customers is complex and involves search engines more than buyers will admit. All good things. Enjoy!
“Answering a question from the FT about people returning to work, prime minister Johnson made a telling statement underlining the value of face-to-face interaction. He said: ‘There’s a balance. We have learnt a lot of lessons during this crisis, about the potential of technology, but I think there are also limits to this technology and is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and interactions.”
This news cycle is on overdrive and it’s possible this changes before you read it, but coupled with the face-to-face ad executives piece, it shows the power of in person relationships. It’s not just the in-person face-to-face bit though, it’s the industry built around these events. The airlines, the hotels, the restaurants, and an entire AV industry rely on getting people together. Let’s face it, we’re social creatures and until we get the eyeball to eyeball Zoom machine, we’re simply putting up with technology as a short term substitute. Or, in a flip-flop from the Digiday article, face-to-face doesn’t come back so we marketers need to up our online game.
‘This is a relationship business’: The in-person client meeting is beginning to make a comeback among publishers
“‘There’s nothing like a face-to-face,’ Newman said. ‘It speaks to the value of our relationships. And, at the end of the day, this is a relationship business.’
But even as these vestiges of the old way of doing business return, it is hard to say whether they might bring more revenue with them.
Three sources contacted for this story said the meetings tend to be informal, mostly focused on brainstorming and thinking through large, complex programs that often take a while to come together.”
Are you ready to send your sales team out into the field? At LGC we have some friends that are dyed-in-the-wool big deal schmoozers and they have be scratching at the door trying to get out and see their people in person. A lifetime spent honing relationships and communication skills that can’t be used right now. In person meetings and business travel will come back in time, but the most flexible sales pros are adapting their skills to online sales and one could argue things will never be the same. Hard to bet against face-to-face in the long term though. Especially in long, complex sales cycles.
“As museums start to reopen in Europe and the United States, and many countries require people to wear masks to halt the further spread of the coronavirus, masks on sale at gift shops are likely to become a frequent sight.”
Capitalism doesn’t care about the pandemic. Like water, it simply adapts to new forms. I see people in their cool masks while I wear boring paper. I’m fun! And I like art too! My new mask will prove it.
“People look for information about a category’s products and brands, and then weigh all the options. This equates to two different mental modes in the messy middle: exploration, an expansive activity, and evaluation, a reductive activity. Whatever a person is doing, across a huge array of online sources, such as search engines, social media, aggregators, and review websites, can be classified into one of these two mental modes.”
LGC didn’t invent this view of the buying cycle, but when we see Google get behind it and say just what we’ve been preaching to clients, we get excited. Again, they are talking about consumers, but B2B is made up of consumers and they follow a similar sales cycle. Our goal as marketers is play inside that exploration and evaluation space. Our sales reps need to get better at this too and take clients back into explore and evaluate to build value. You go Google, you go!