A letter from Chief Marketing Officer Mark Mandula
As we embark on the New Year, I thought it might be a good idea to step back and quickly assess our successes and challenges and make some New Year’s resolutions for our specialized financial services firm.
We have been very fortunate to have had an amazing year of growth to our B2B and B2G clients. We are grateful to our team of employees, our partners, friends and others who have made us a success. Thank you!
Having had the privilege of serving clients here since 2000, I have met many passionate and focused entrepreneurial women and men who work hard at the day-to-day grind of running and managing a successful business. This is no small or easy task. It is our vocation to help them by providing equitably priced and structured working capital, credit modeling, credit insurance, and other tools to support their growth and profitability.
Over the years, I have noticed that the happiest, most positive and successful entrepreneurs I meet have many differences, but one common denominator – gratitude. It seems to me that if one wants to be happier, we should all try to be more thankful for the nearly unlimited opportunities and gifts we have living in the United States of America.
I believe that each of our lives is a miracle, which we really did nothing ourselves to deserve. It is a gift, a banquet of unlimited riches, placed squarely in our laps – free of charge. Our only job is to graciously accept the gift, take a seat at the table and live each day to the fullest with a sense of gratitude and humble appreciation.
If you step back and think about it, all of the people in our lives including our coworkers, clients, partners and others are all volunteers. We should make sure we take the time out of our 24/7 schedule to thank them for choosing to spend their time with us.
So how can we apply this sense of gratitude to our daily business practices in 2019 and beyond? I think one of the most important ways to do so is to get off the phone and email and make it the #1 priority to go out and meet every single prospect, client, partner and opportunity face to face. Period.
Resist the easy temptation to bypass a face-to-face meeting using technology and take the extra effort (and extra cost) to get out and see the prospect. Go out and see them at the factory, office, warehouse or whatever pile of stress they are buried under.
Research over the years has consistently confirmed that face-to-face interaction done in a professional manner with a prospect or client is one of, if not, the most powerful and effective tool for marketing. A face-to-face opportunity provides a front row seat to be part of the five key stages of face-to-face marketing: attention, interest, desire, conviction, and action. These are keys to a successful and long-term relationship.
You may ask “why are face-to-face meeting so important?” Face-to-face meetings allow you to see what your prospect/client really feels, versus what they email back to you (usually a canned or less than sincere response). When I meet a client or prospect, I make every effort to carefully observe their body language and facial expressions the entire time we are together.
Is your company taking advantage of this method? Let me try to convince you with multiple unparalleled benefits of face-to-face engagements that can transform and help you maximize your B2B and B2G service marketing efforts.
1. Body language and facial expressions
Meeting in person allows us to closely observe key positive and negative body language and facial expressions including, but not limited to, eye contact, head nodding, touch, fluency, and pitch variation. These are only portrayed, captured, and interpreted during and in-person interaction.
2. The power of a simple handshake
According to Beckman Institute, new research states that strangers form a more positive impression of people who offer a handshake when greeting one another.
There is no better way to clearly communicate and reinforce our unique “get it done” client-centric culture than by meeting in person. This allows us to build a professional, personal service relationship with our B2B and B2G clients. No website or video conference can do this as well.
4. We build trust
Interacting in person is one of the largest intangibles when it comes to building trust in any relationship, especially in the professional services industry. By interacting in person with a prospect, partner or client, we can overcome the hesitation to form a relationship and invest time and resources with our professional services firm.
5. We build visibility
In my experience, most B2B and B2G prospective clients don’t know what to expect from us before we meet. A personal visit allows us to learn about their goals and challenges and to educate them on how our services are tailor made to meet their needs. This process increases our visibility and also puts our future client in a position to refer us to new prospective clients, thereby increasing our visibility organically.
6. Avoid surprises and misunderstandings later
Small business owners are bombarded on a daily basis with emails, cold calls and other forms of aggressive tactics often times trying to sell them something that is not what they need or want. The sheer amount of options can be nearly overwhelming. A quick Google search using the key words “Small Business Funding” results in nearly 400 million responses.
As a result, B2B and B2G business owners who search online for professional services like ours don’t take the time to research our services in depth. As a result, they risk forming an incomplete or inaccurate idea of the many professional services we can provide on an equitable and value-added basis for their business. When we take the time to market face to face with a prospective client or partner, we gain the significant advantage of being able to explain our professional services factually and comprehensively. This also opens the door for the prospective client to ask questions and allows them to get reliable information directly from us.