Business development in a world where face to face meetings are now limited has presented many new challenges which we have had to adapt to quickly. At the same time, winning new business has become even more important with so many businesses feeling the strain of the last 4 months and the recession we are entering into.
The likes of Zoom and Teams have stepped into the breach and seen a massive spike in usage of video conference facilities for meetings of all types. But wasn’t this shift inevitable anyway? Well not according to Steve Jobs. As despite his company’s role in digital communications, he was a massive believer in the value of face to face meetings saying “there’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions.”
Advantages of video conferencing
So while most would agree there are times when a face to face meeting would be the ideal solution, and I’m certain that we will look to return to the old normal for at least some of our meetings, there are actually a number of ways in which the current Teams or Zoom meeting culture benefits the sales process.
- They are more cost effective – a physical meeting involves travel, a venue, possibly accommodation all of which incur a monetary cost, not to mention the time involved in getting to and from. Virtual meetings require only a computer or mobile device.
- Because there is no time lost in travel, you can respond immediately with follow up information meaning that your prospect has everything to hand sooner than they may otherwise have done. This can be vital in getting ahead of the competition.
- Virtual meetings allow for the wider team to join the meeting as and when appropriate – there are times when you might require technical input in a pitch meeting for 5 or 10 mins out of an hour. This can be much more efficiently done in a virtual meeting as you don’t overload the prospect with people in the room, and your technical staff don’t lose a day out of their billable time to support you in the pitch process.
- Presenting is arguably more concise – your audience isn’t looking at you twiddling your thumbs or whatever other physical tendencies you may have while presenting – they just see your screen and hear your voice so you have the opportunity to get across the point you are seeking to make without distraction.
- You can (with permission) video record the meeting, which means that anyone unable to attend (virtual meetings are easier to attend in the first place) can catch up with the meeting at their convenience. Both parties can also refer to the meeting at a later date; however, this does mean you have to be able to back up what you have said!
I’m sure there are many more points which could be made too, so while I personally look forward to face to face meetings/pitches when it is safe, there are some benefits to be had right now. And for us at Coast, the signs are certainly positive with new business opportunities and signed work coming through the door.
I’d love to hear from others about their experience of virtual meetings, good and bad – let me know about your video conference experiences in the comments below.