About two months ago I went to visit my grandma. She asked me if I was still running “that Internet business that you have”. I laughed and I told her that I was still running my Internet marketing agency. For the first time ever she asked me what exactly we do and I explained to her that we help companies increase their sales using the Internet to promote their businesses.
Grandma then said something that I’ll never forget: “I don’t understand why people buy online or hire companies they know over the Internet. How can you trust someone you don’t know?” I tried to explain that things have changed and that you could put some testimonials on your site so your prospects could see that you have several satisfied clients.
A couple of hours later, when I went back home, I started thinking about what Grandma said. I thought she might be right. I started thinking about all those times we sent proposals to prospects that decided to go with local companies. In most cases we offered a lot more at a much better price but we didn’t land the accounts because we weren’t local. I’m not saying that everybody needs to meet in person with you before hiring you, but a large percentage of people won’t give you a penny unless they know you in person. This is even more true if you sell high-ticket items (that cost over $200).
I decided to start a little experiment and fly out to meet with companies that expressed real interest in our services and had products I really wanted to promote for them. The results blew my mind: we’ve gotten more clients in one month of meeting with people in person than we had gotten in the last four months communicating via phone and email.
I still think that social media, email and phone are essential tools and I couldn’t work without them. We use social media marketing to drive people to our site. Once they contact us, we email them back asking them some questions. If they are interested in our services and we’re interested in promoting them, we arrange for a phone call. If the phone call is good, then in most cases we meet in person to work out the some details and create a plan of action together with our client. Adding this last step (meeting with them in person) has made all the difference.
Can you learn something from my story? Do you communicate with your prospects always by email? Try calling them. Do you deal with them over the phone? Meet them in person. You need to earn their trust before you get their business, and a real, old-school meeting is worth 1,000 emails and at least 100 phone calls.