As business development professionals in the digital age, it’s easy to get wrapped up in emails, social media, inbound marketing, analytics, and so on. And those things are important. They provide compelling, approachable ways to relate to your target audiences, they allow you to research potential leads, and they help you measure the effectiveness of online tactics.
But, when all your time is spent behind a screen, it’s easy to miss out on an equally big (if not bigger) opportunity: personal interaction.
I think the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo sums it up well on its blog post, Time spent out of the office is the most productive thing you’ll do.
“An entire day in the office provides the opportunity to sit and plug away at the computer, answering emails. This can make us feel quite efficient but are we really considering the bigger picture or just getting ‘stuck’ in the details?
This industry is one where we can all agree face-to-face interaction is king. It is crucial to nurture and develop existing relationships and to establish new ones. We also need to be sure we are across new trends and technology to ensure our business is relevant. If we spent all of our time in the office we would miss these opportunities, and this would have an impact on business development and innovation. Therefore I would argue the time spent out of the office is the most productive thing you can do and is the vital element to ensure we’re a step ahead of the competition.”
Does this mean that we are constantly making “cold” visits to potential clients and dropping in on current ones? No, although that might be a valuable part of your strategy. Sometimes it’s important just to be present in your community, in a casual, hands-off kind of way. To go to a coffee shop or a bar frequented by people who are active in the community and who like to talk about important upcoming developments. People who know about things that you might want to also know about. It is here that we’ll really get the inside scoop about what is going on around us that could benefit our business.
Developing real friendships and interacting with the living, breathing people that make up your community is at least half the battle. So get out from behind your desk – find something mobile you can bring with you to work on – and get out there!