Digital communication is amazing, but nothing beats real life human interactions.
From the age-old days of MSN messenger, through the rise of application like Skype, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, people have done their best to make distance meaningless. We’ve mastered video meetings (that honestly could have been an email), and we’re no longer slightly awkward when having to present personal ideas in front of strangers from all over the world.
Despite the many upsides of virtual interactions and meetings, there’s just something about an IRL meeting that carries more weight.
Statistically speaking, travel and tourism accounts for 10.4% of global GDP, and nearly 10% of jobs on a world-wide level. According to Fly Aeolus, 76% of travelers who fly are doing so to meet a client or visit an out-of-town office. A staggering 12% of travellers in general are doing so for business reasons.
This is an enormous number of people who have taken the time, effort and expense to make a personal interaction happen. Just imagine – even if we don’t include conferences and networking events, there’s still a significant percentage of businesses spending valuable funds and work-hours for the sake of traveling for the sake of a client or potential client.
An approach like this one, where care seems to be given to both impressing, understanding and meeting the other side of a business deal, can definitely work wonders. It’s not just about making your partner feel respected – it’s also about having a clearer idea of the work environment, atmosphere, requirements and opportunities offered in home base.
Many customers are happier trusting a collaborator they have witnessed interacting with their own surroundings, and it can be a great way of figuring out the perfect cultural fit.
While personal meetings and interactions are definitely a great starting point, they’re not enough to close a deal or keep a work relationship happy.
When travelling to meet a client or a potential lead, it’s recommended that you prepare as though you’re off to a job interview. Of course, you want to put your best foot forward! However, you also need to be honest about your plans and abilities, as a collaboration is an ongoing project that will require you to live up to your promises.
Your first goal is to come dressed to impress. You may not be an overly formal organization, but a certain amount of over-dressing is preferred when making a first impression. No need to scare off a serious opportunity with your high-school-flip-flops and two-day-old-travel-shirt.
If it fits, it sits. If it's not a good fit... well, it might be time to look for a different collaboration.
Secondly, don’t forget to do your due diligence. Nobody expects you to know everything about your client or partner, but you do need to know the parts that are pertinent to your role in the relationship. This preparation is not just a great way to show your interest and dedication, but it also helps you better prepare your side of the deal and answer any questions that may arise.
Thirdly, remember you’re there for a reason. A company might want your help or need your expertise, but you’re in no position to tell another organization how to run their own business. There’ll be time for that once you’ve made yourself indispensable.
Let’s not forget the most important point of this blog: travel is fun!
Over 39% of millennials and Gen Z have stated that they would not take a job that has no travel opportunities involved. In this case, travel is not just a tool to get close to a client or business partner, it’s a means of expanding your life and world-view in a way that benefits both an individual and the company.
At WaySeven, we do our best to meet our clients on their home-turf whenever we can. We’re also more than happy that the home-turf happens to be some of the most beautiful places in the world.