Travelling to in-person meetings is an outdated way of collaborating with your colleagues and clients. The world has gone digital and many companies have embraced the advantages offered by new technologies. Here's why.
In his article 'Stop Doing Stupid Sh*t: 15 Outdated Sales Tactics to Abandon in 2017', Dan Tyre had this to say about travelling to meet a client:
Back in the 1990s, inside sales was a stepping stone, not a career. Junior reps started in inside sales, and as you moved up through the ranks you were given your own outside territory and sent out on face-to-face sales calls.
Introductions were mostly done over the phone. But even early-stage sales calls were done in person. Meeting in person was not only expensive, it was also a huge pain. You had to dress formally, print out directions to the office (remember, this was the era before smartphones), travel to the prospect’s office, get there early, wait in the parking lot, make small talk with the receptionist, and then make more small talk with your prospect before you could get down to business.A simple 45-minute meeting became a three-hour ordeal -- and all this just to start a relationship and conduct a basic needs analysis.
In-person meetings are the most inefficient process imaginable. In today’s world, actually meeting face-to-face is a nice-to-have, not a requirement. I’ll sometimes do business with people for years without ever meeting them!
This is still true of meetings now, and it isn't only relevant to sales - it applies across the board. In fact, with advances made in technology since the 1990s, it's actually even more true now! There's really still no good reason to meet in person and there are two main reasons why.
1. It's expensive
Travelling to meetings can be expensive, especially if you need to travel interstate or internationally. Meeting in person requires spending precious company money on travel, accommodation and food, at the very least. An international trip could easily cost a business thousands of dollars - money which could really be making a difference to their bottom line.
The current economic climate means that a lot of companies have gone so far as to implement a complete travel ban. The cost of travelling to meetings is simply not a justifiable use of company money, when there are other ways to hold meetings which are just as effective and cost only a fraction of the price.
2. It's time-consuming
As Dan Tyre wrote in his blog, even if the meeting itself is only 45 minutes, the whole process can become a 3-hour ordeal, and that's just for a fairly local meeting. Imagine the time you'd waste if you had to travel overseas! This isn't a productive use of anybody's time, which means that meeting this way is both unproductive and inefficient - two cardinal sins when it comes to business.
The time spent travelling to these meetings could be spent completing more important work. Nobody enjoys wasting time and feeling unproductive, especially when most workers already feel like there aren't enough working hours in the day. If team members feel like they haven't achieved enough during their work hours, they will often continue to work during their personal time. This results in poor work/life balance, which in turn causes stress, unhappiness and reduced productivity - another huge problem for a business' profit margin.
It's a vicious cycle - the more time spent out of the office travelling to meetings, the less productive your team will be, which in turn affects your bottom line. Lost productivity costs businesses millions in lost revenue every year.
Here's how you can hold productive meetings without having to actually meet in person.
Do you want to meet face-to-face?
Meeting face-to-face can be very beneficial, especially when you're just beginning a relationship, because the ability to read each other's body language can be crucial to communication. Non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and posture, influence how we interpret verbal information. When your non-verbal signals and your verbal signals match, this helps to increase trust.
If you want to meet face-to-face, there's a simple solution - web conferencing. With web conferencing, you're able to communicate both verbally and non-verbally.
Using webcams allows all parties to see each other's body language, minimising the chance of any miscommunication and helping everyone to build rapport with each other.
You can also use web conferencing to demonstrate products, share screens and collaborate on documents in real time.
Do you just need to speak to your meeting guests?
Meeting face-to-face can be very beneficial, but sometimes it's not necessary. If you only need to speak to your meeting participants, holding a teleconference is an easy, cost-effective and stress-free way of holding a meeting.
A teleconference is a simple audio meeting (often also referred to as an audio conference or a conference call) conducted using landline or mobile phones. Teleconferencing allows you to meet at short notice - all you need is a dial-in number and access code.
Teleconferences can be tailored to your precise needs by enabling keypad shortcuts so that you can mute your guests, record your conference or have your participant's names announced into the conference, among many other things.
You can easily hold a smooth and productive teleconference or web conference and achieve exactly the same result you would have if you'd met in person. You'll also save yourself hours of time and your company possibly thousands of dollars.
Using conferencing to meet is the perfect way to start your business relationships off on the right foot and maintain a good rapport for the life of your partnership.