Business routines are backwards these days. It used to be I’d build a relationship with someone, then they would become a client. Now, clients decide to trust us to help them and then at some point afterward we begin to build a deeper connection.
The pandemic shrank the new business world.
We had always done commerce in a pretty wide geographical range, but in 2020 we saw an even more pronounced variety of zip codes in our business development efforts. In one week, we were talking to prospects in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan, Kansas, California, and Salem, Virginia. (That last place is about eight miles from our office as the crow flies.)
As the winter weather broke in 2021, I started scheduling meetings with our newer clients on our front porch at the “new” office we moved into the day the Governor locked down Virginia. I’d sit on the porch with business owners whom I had been working with for months, but had never met and it was great.
We remarked how odd it was, got to know each other, and learned about our businesses. All of that was after we had been working together. These conversations always led to new opportunities, deeper connections, and affirmation. It was a reminder of the power of in-person meetings.
I’m encouraging my clients to (safely) meet with their clients as soon as they are comfortable doing so. Some never stopped in-person sales calls, and others are just now beginning to meet with clients, but for me there was no denying the power of the front porch.
Meanwhile, a smart person close to me remarked how this same approach could pack a lot of power with the team with whom I work. After some discussion and conversation, I decided to start scheduling a weekly meeting with each 5Pointer – one at a time. After all, the connection to your clients is certainly important, but the focused attention on each person you work with also packs a strong punch. Not surprisingly, meeting with my own crew yielded the same type of results. It’s pretty straightforward really – relationships will always matter.