Remote your partners. What are you waiting for?
There are many companies postponing face to face business meetings with new partners or customers due to covid19 situation, waiting for better times.
Four years ago, my business partner from the Middle-East started to send me important business documents and information via WhatsApp. I asked him to keep such communication in emails. After a few months I found myself using WhatsApp, doing the same. Why? Because the information was instant, always in my pocket on the go and visualized. It kept my inbox much lighter and free of quick question–answers.
This year I have found myself doing important business meetings online. With important persons, discussing important business topics using presentations, excel sheets and other documents. It would be almost impossible to continue business properly If I would ask or wait for only face to face meetings.
Covid19 lockdown pushed the whole world to use more online communication. Those, who were not ready or didn’t previously practice remote meetings, suffered the most, due to lack of business trips and face to face meetings. Especially internationally active, traditional manufacturers where physical presence for partners and customers is often necessary. For many ICT companies it has not been too hard to react fast and rearrange their business meetings with present and potential customers and send most of the workers to home office work remotely. Many huge corporations have done that.
Also, the overall environment and attitude played an important role for going over to remote work and meetings. Baltic states, especially Estonia where Skype was founded, has been ready for years. And I can say, it all went fast and smoothly to most of the people from businesses to schools to go over to online meetings, seminars, classes or even conferences. Today, most partners in Baltics understand when you are suggesting an online meeting. Even if it will be a tough discussion, agreement negotiation or a meeting with a new partner or customer.
Unfortunately, I have seen many postponed projects where the main reason is to wait for better times. But why? Which times? Is it a fear to fail at an online meeting with a new customer? Or is it a technical question that holds back? For some companies, it is important to show real samples on the meeting, to give a better understanding of the product and its functionality. But you can always make the same show online or a short video introduction of that product. Today partners often like the realistic technical low-budget video introduction even more than fancy and expensive advertisement. After a successful first meeting you can send samples to potential customers. Easy.
Of course, I agree, face to face meeting is much better, but online meetings help you at least to go on with projects and business development. Moreover, remote meetings are efficient and environment friendly. Efficacy comes from saving money and time from long business trips. Even after we can travel more freely again, the world is changed forever. There are more and more partners who are open to make first business meetings remotely, it is ok to ask for it.
Postponing meetings today means postponing business development. There is no reason for that. And there are not many risks to do those meetings online. There are plenty of technical options and solutions for that. My suggestion is to be flexible here because your partners may use different software, but most of them are very easy to handle.
For some of you it all seems so obvious what I just wrote. But my concern and suggestions come from real life and experience.
Let’s move on, meet your partners today!