A Recent Harvard Business Review Survey Gives a Thumbs Up to Face-to-Face Communications

In a recent global survey of 2,300 Harvard Business Review subscribers entitled “Managing Across Distance in Today’s Economic Climate: The Value of Face-to-Face Communication,” 79% of executives said face-to-face is the most effective way to meet new clients to sell business. Furthermore, 89% said face- to-face is the best way to “seal the deal.”

Those of us in the events industry agree with this assessment because we know that any time you have a face-to-face meeting; you’re more likely to benefit over having a virtual meeting. The Harvard study really underlies the belief that the goal of any face-to-face communication is to ensure sales stays close to customers. So whether you’re selling a consumer product or a medical device, understanding and listening to key customers is obviously what is important to every sales effort. Keeping close to customers by showcasing the most appropriate products coupled with deploying technology that gives you the best information possible, enables you to make the most of your event investment.

While the downturn in the economy has forced all of us to tighten our belts, executives in the Harvard study looked at reducing travel expenses. Despite the fact that everyone uses teleconference, the Web and e-mail to stay in touch with customers, most executives surveyed believe that when push comes to shove and it’s important to “look into their eyes,” there isn’t any substitute for the confidence you can generate via face-to-face. In the end there is one simple edict: “If you’re not with a customer, revenue suffers.”

We in the tradeshow and events industry couldn’t agree with Harvard more. While technology is on the rise and is valuable, the best use of technology in the tradeshow and event industry is to justify the value of the event by deploying the latest measurement tools. RFID can let you track attendance duration; it also gives you a better understanding of an attendee’s interests, behavior, booth traffic and duration by product area. Virtually all executives Harvard surveyed – 95% – said that face-to-face meetings are a key factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term relationships, reflecting what many executives call the high impact of in-person communication.

There’s certainly value in that measurement for us. We see real value in having people come to a show or event in order to reinforce customer relationships, gain accurate feedback and generally reinforce the relationship between customer and company. The study gives you a good sense of what’s important to today’s executives and we can certainly take advantage of what the survey says to improve our tradeshows and events. To read the entire report visit http://ow.ly/1v48S