In an Online World, Face-to-Face Interaction is Still Key in B2B Sales

body langaugeThe accessibility of electronic devices and sales solutions has made it easier than ever to reach prospects and execute sales without any face-to-face interaction.

However, one model indicates human communication is comprised of 7% words, 38% paralinguistic (the way that the words are said), and 55% facial expression or body language. Applying this to B2B sales, in-person meetings are still one of the most effective ways to close a deal—regardless of technological advances.

Before you abandon your email and phone strategies, it’s important to note that phone calls and emails are still an essential component of most sales outreach. Here’s our take:

  • Email: Use email to open lines of communication with a prospect. The goal of a sales email is to develop a relationship, introduce your product or service, and ultimately get your prospect to hit the reply button. A single email won’t do your selling for you, but if done correctly it can lead to a phone call or face-to-face meeting.
  • Phone: Whether a scheduled call or an unsolicited cold call, speaking to someone on the phone will provide much more insight than an email. Because a phone conversation moves faster than the back-and-forth of an email, you’ll receive immediate feedback and important clues as to how the buyer is feeling. Phone calls allow sales professionals to easily detect tone, sarcasm, and hesitation in a way that isn’t possible using email.

Face-to-face meetings with clients or potential clients can reveal even more information. Sitting across the table from someone has the same benefits as a phone call, with the added bonus of reading facial expression and body language.

Other reasons why you should schedule an in-person meeting if you’re trying to close a deal:

  • Engagement. It’s easy to delete an email or ignore a phone call, but when you’re sitting in an office with a prospect, they have very little choice but to listen to and engage with your sales pitch.
  • Efficiency. As previously mentioned, the back-and-forth of emails can make a single conversation last months. This doesn’t happen when you’re in the same room as a prospect. A real conversation can’t be left unopened or put on the back burner to deal with at a later date.
  • Emotion. Studies have shown that 90% of purchasing decisions are based on emotion—and emotions are contagious. If you’re excited about your product, it’ll be much easier to get a prospect excited about your product as well.
  • Empathy. Putting a face to a name or email exchange allows your prospect to think of you as a person and not a product. People don’t love being sold to, but if a pitch is coming from a human being and not a faceless email address they’re more likely to let their guard down and engage.

Of course, we understand face-to-face meetings aren’t always possible or cost-effective—but they’re an important option to consider when you’re trying to increase sales productivity or close a big deal.

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