Networking events can at times seem rather perfunctory or, worse, shallow, but don’t overlook face-to-face networking. There are aspects to interacting with people live and in person that can be invaluable to an MSP business, and frankly, there just isn’t any way to replicate those benefits in the digital domain.
The digital world empowers a new era of business that is faster, more cost-effective, efficient and dynamic, but after all is said and done, we’re talking about human beings working with human beings.
Add human beings and advanced technology together, and you can end up with complex issues. Working through complex issues requires human understanding. Despite the greatest efforts to develop streamlined, efficient online channels for supporting users through complex issues, even a little bit of human interaction can really go a long way.
Just look at the power available from live chat support. Now, magnify that power with the human interaction available when you’re networking face-to-face with someone. It really can be powerful and valuable both to your MSP business and to clients and prospects.
Oh boy, this is a big one. A lot of bright people already struggle with human empathy. It’s a factor in the autism spectrum, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Also, restricting your networking to online channels pretty much eliminates any chance of engaging in an empathetic way. Trust us— the scope for empathy that’s available when you meet people face to face can really help when it comes to fostering and strengthening professional relationships.
At the end of the phone, an email chain or chatbot, users can easily become so frustrated that they give up trying to get an issue addressed. Frequently, the frustration stems from them feeling as if they’re simply not being heard, whether that is because the programmatic support flow doesn’t fit their needs or they’re on hold for what seems like hours. That is why updated chatbots and other communication technology software need to be constantly checked and ran through, so businesses can see what customers are dealing with. Implementing an NLP program, from companies such as Rasa, can help chatbots understand users and make a more natural communicative language happen to assist customers.
Meet someone in person, so they can see your eyes, read your face and witness first-hand the fact that you actually listen and are taking a keen interest. That same person’s gut-wrenching frustration can be completely eliminated. The fact that you seem to care and even appreciate how their problem affects them can be the difference between getting bad PR and gaining a devoted client.
This brings us to another big benefit of face-to-face networking. When you meet prospects or clients in person, you’re much more likely to get useful feedback. This is partly because they see you’re interested and partly because you can ask questions and guide the conversation into areas that help you understand the issue much better. You might even be able to draw up solutions right there and then with the client. Of course, if they’re not clients and you’ve just delivered a viable solution, you could well have won yourself a valuable new client.
When it comes to winning clients and business, it’s largely a hearts and minds project. After all, if clients can feel truly confident that you’ll deliver what they need, then why wouldn’t they do business with you? When you network face to face, you inject your personality into the relationship. Slick brochures, snappy slide presentations and a solid online presence are fantastic, but a winning personality really builds powerful relationships. People like to deal with other people they like.
The most powerful aspects of communication don’t even involve the words being spoken. Most of communication is actually imparted through body language. Another big chunk of communication is through the tone of voice being used, rather than the words being said. You can use that to your advantage by both reading the other person and communicating to them.
We live in an age of incredible communication options and speed. It is so easy to stay in touch and do so efficiently. For a winning MSP business, however, something more is needed than phone, email and chat. Leverage the power of the tips highlighted above (and others you can research), and you’ll become a networking superstar.