What seems to be a dying art – being face-to-face with someone – is still relevant for marketing your business. For those of us who enjoy interaction with other people, the trend toward faces down with eyes glued to the small screen is annoying.
Sure, texting and the other tasks you can accomplish on your smart phone seem to increase efficiency and enable us to do more, but does the fascination with being connected all the time detract from reality? How often do you see people in restaurants on their mobile devices when there’s a live, breathing person seated across from them?
Who is more important than the person you’re with at the moment?
There, we’ve exposed the secret to face-to-face (F-2-F) marketing: Be in the moment with the person you’re with!
If that person is someone you’ve never met before, you should get to know them for a number of reasons:
- Are they a potential customer?
- Do they have valuable connections?
- Are they someone you can trust with your business?
- Could they refer people to you?
- Are they a reliable resource?
If the person you’re face-to-face with is someone you already know, how well do you know them? Do you know what they like to read? Where they live? How they earn a living? What they enjoy doing in their leisure time? Why they do what they do?
We can learn so much by being open to F-2-F discussions with other people. It may be awkward at first, but you begin by approaching someone and introducing yourself. Remember: They may be as bashful as you are when they’re approached.
Ask them their name, and try to remember it. A technique that we’ve found to work well is to repeat their name several times in the first few minutes of your conversation.
Ask where they work and what they do. Be genuinely interested in their answers. Pay attention and avoid distractions, such as looking for someone you’ve been dying to meet. That’s rude.
Ask why they do what they do, how long they’ve been doing it, and maybe even how they got into doing what they do. You may discover a rather fascinating story that leads you into a deeper relationship and potential friendship. You may share a favorite cuisine or vacation destination.
We struck up a conversation with a couple on a flight and showed interest in them going to help their son open a new restaurant on the east coast. Before the flight was over, they had pulled out the business plan and financial statements for us to look at!
The point of a F-2-F meeting may be to get acquainted, conduct business, close a sale, or to share camaraderie. Avoid being in a rush as much as you can. Take the time to enjoy the conversation. Assume you will learn something new. Crave knowledge.
If you’re face-to-face with a customer or prospect, concentrate on the individual and what his/her needs seem to be. If you’re unclear, ask clarifying questions. Get down to what they want and you’ll enjoy far greater success with higher closing ratios.
In our next blog we’ll cover the topic of Handling Customer Complaints. Stay tuned.
Practice the 3-foot rule: If someone is within three feet of you, they should know what you do. If they’re beyond three feet, get closer.