Saturday, July 21, 2012
Social media oils the wheels, Face-to-face seals the deals
We all know that trust is the key to successful relationships, both in and out of business. Building trust online is time-consuming and fragile, but then so is building an offline relationship. What seems important is regular contact, constantly demonstrating that you are not only trustworthy but also loyal.
I often find that business relationships that lead to paid work happen in one of two ways:
1) Starting with a real-world meeting, followed up by an email, and then kept going by regular social networking messages. A few more meetings follow, before a deal is agreed with a handshake.
2) Starting with an online connection, followed up over a matter of months with social networking messages, before a meeting or two, leading to the handshake on the deal.
Of course, some people conduct all their business online, and never meet their customers at all. That works for commodity-based businesses, but is much more tricky for professional services. Skype is also of great value in relationship building, particularly with video. It bridges the gap between online and offline, and is almost (but not quite) as good as face-to-face.
So for me, and maybe for you too, social media oils the wheels, and face-to-face seals the deals.