I profoundly admit, Technology is not a substitute for getting in front of our customers and colleagues.
It may sound insane to many of us that, in this modern era when mobile phones and video conferencing are ubiquitous and we have super-fast optical fiber connections in our cosy office-room facilitated with a big HD monitor hanging right in front of our eyes delivering real-time videos of our remote clients/colleagues why should we take the hassle of travelling so far to reach them in person?
Business trips are often considered as an expense and the benefits that come from it are always overlooked. Sitting in an office and staring at a glowing screen is not a replacement for hitting the ground. There are several key reasons why business trips are still very important.
Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face meeting: There are plenty of examples of conducting a business over phone or Skype call. But when the scenario is really critical, like meeting with a potential new client who is really on the fence about hiring you, there is no substitute for simply sitting down with that person and talking it out. There might be hundreds of potential competitors you ought to fight with. You can just do it keeping yourself far away from the battle. Like my boss before every business trip always tried to motivate me saying, “Where are you! We are in war!” That’s true; when we took it as a war we feel like warriors and feel the urges to win it over. Oxford Economics has found that the rate of converting prospects to actual customers nearly doubles when a face-to-face meeting is added.
Let your Network keep growing: During our last business trip to Nepal, we met lots of people in the airport, on the plane, at our hotel, at restaurants, at meetings and we talked and listened to them. Many of them took place in our contacts list, exchanged their business cards with us. That is how our network grows and we never know where we might meet a potential new client, new supplier, or partner. Actually we ended it up like finding few of them. The more places we travel and the more people we meet, the better our chances of finding someone who can really make a difference in our business.
Evaluate the natural human behavior: The biggest reason why business trips are important is to strengthen personal interactions. Face-to-face meetings can increase understanding and empathy, reduce miscommunication, and foster a team spirit of “us.” Think about it—would you trust your professional future to someone you’ve never met? According to psychologist, humans are more responsive to the request/invitation they perceive on face than the same they received from far. When we get closure to our client actually our business gets closure to them and they start feeling they have started having it already. Sometimes, people behave too good in person though they are too lazy to reply your email.
Learn trends and explore new markets: In order to keep our business growth upright we always need to design our products based on the trends and market demands. We cannot perform it all staying right on our homeland and only roaming around local market. Instead, we should reach the global market and experience the global trends. For example, one of our software products were not really doing good in Bangladesh market but in Nepal market it won almost everybody’s admiration. At the end of the day we feel like people got more fascinated with the products we did not mean to sell to them.
Analyze alternative ways of conducting business: If we go to another country, we can see how someone in our industry targets new customers, what services they offer, and anything that might be different from the way we serve our customers. There might be far better methods, that we haven’t even imagined, that other people are currently utilizing.
Sabbir Ahmed Jesan, Executive, Implementation & Support