Face to face is the new black
“All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend.” – Mark McCormack.
Business today is all about relationships. It’s a bold claim, yet when quizzed, most people reveal how they much prefer to do business with someone they know, like and trust.
What then is the key driver of a successful business relationship? In a word … communication; or from a reverse perspective, no communication equals no relationship. No relationship equals no business.
Delving a little deeper, the success of a relationship relies primarily on the quality of the communication, especially the communication of honest feelings and attitudes, which after all is the essence of a true relationship. And this is where a great many businesses come unstuck.
Time pressures unfortunately lure people into taking shortcuts with their communication, and this is compounded by the relative ease and zero cost of flicking off a quick text message or email.
Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology UCLA, has pioneered the understanding of communications since the 1960s. A simplification of his findings reveals the three basic components of one-to-one communication … words, voice and body language.
Compare this with the three primary media for business communication … the written word (letter, fax, text, email, social media), the telephone, and of course direct contact face-to-face.
Mehrabian found that the breakdown of the components of communication is 7% words, 38% voice (volume, timbre, pitch, speed), and 55% physiology (body language). Or put another way, it is only when you are face-to-face with a customer that you have 100% of your communication faculties present.
Just using the telephone results in over 50% of your communication resources not being present, and relying on the written word of an email of text means 93% is missing.
The problem with emails is that the meaning of the message (words) is left entirely to the interpretation of the reader … and how many times have we all had to go back and explain what it was we really meant. Some relationships have ended, others irrevocably damaged, purely as a result of misinterpreted emails.
One of my national clients has a company policy that prohibits the use of email for communication purposes; emails are only to be used for the transfer of data and information.
In summary; whilst the time investment of meeting customers and clients face-to-face is far greater than either sending an email or making a telephone call, the resultant payoff is significantly higher.
Face-to-face truly is the new black. Put it into practice at your business and your customers and your bottom-line will love you for it.