Living in an era where technology has taken us to new levels of communication, some people question their need for business travel at all. Video conferencing and Skype are fantastic ways to communicate when remote working, but when it comes to business crunching nothing quite beats real life human interaction. There are four key things to think about when it comes to the importance of business travel.
- Putting a Face to the Name
Face-to-face meetings are important when it comes to closing business deals and making important decisions. Previous research carried out by Oxford Economics has found that the rate of converting prospects to actual customers nearly doubles when a face-to-face meeting is added. Understandably, some Fortune 100 companies won’t sign any contracts without a face-to-face meeting between company leaders, why would they?
When you are out of the office for business you have the freedom to meet and interact with people you wouldn’t have from your computer screen. It’s easy to to strike up a conversation with someone you have no direct relationship with at all, it happens in everyday life. Whether it’s on a station platform, someone in front of you in a queue or you are introduced by a mutual friend – you could find there are synergies between your industries or businesses. By stepping out of the office environment you instantly broadening your options and uncovering multiple avenues of opportunity.
- Human Interaction
One of the main reasons why business travel is important is the personal interaction that builds good foundations for a future or existing relationship. This can also reduce miscommunication, and encourage almost a sense of unity. Written communication on tricky subjects can often be read differently to the way the it was intended. Having a physical meeting around the same subject is so much more beneficial in understanding each other’s communication skills.
Two key players of leadership are the ability to inspire others to have assurance in you and your company and to encourage others, even if you lack authority. To enable this, you need to be visible to both with colleagues and with your clients. Taking the time out to travel and meet with people in-person can help them see you are invested in their success.
Technology is good for several reasons and without it, we probably wouldn’t have business to travel for. It is however important to understand that technology is not a substitute for standing inform of your customers. Business Travel is still the best way to result in great relationships, and working towards new business opportunities.