face-to-face6 Reasons why Face-to-Face Marketing can Land you Clients

With all the talk of social networking, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and having an on-line presence, I think we as VAs sometimes forget that one of the most effective ways to find new clients is to have some face-to-face interactions with people.

I often get the perception that Virtual Assistants feel, because they work “virtually” they do not need to find clients via face-to-face marketing. I also sometimes get the perception that it is easy to “hide” behind a computer because it is a safe, friendly and comfortable environment where a person do not “have” to step out of their comfort zone to talk and directly interact with people.

But here are 6 reasons why face-to-face meetings with people can help you get clients.

  1. It is cost effective. It only involves a little bit of self confidence and time.
  2. It’s an opportunity to inform, “uninformed” potential clients of what virtual assistance is all about, what you do, and how they can benefit from outsourcing non-core tasks to you. Face it, South Africa has a huge untapped pool of potential clients that do not have the faintest idea what virtual assistance is and what you can do for them. These potential clients will probably never even search online for your services because they probably don’t even know that they need your help.
  3. People prefer to do business with people they “like” and people they “trust”.  “Like and trust” can be maintained electronically, but it has been proven time and again that clients need some face-to-face contact to really get to “like and trust”. This is particularly important in an environment where the VA industry is quite new and people still need to be educated. Face to face marketing gives your client the trust they crave.
  4. It is an excellent opportunity to build relationships. When you take the time to meet potential clients face-to-face, you open the door for a friendly business relationship to develop. You have a chance to ask them questions about themselves, their lifestyles, their business and their needs. It is a chance to understand them as an individual and not just another potential client. You are more likely to understand their concerns, problems and needs in relation to the services you may be offering. If you can demonstrate you understand these, a potential client will be more willing to work with you.
  5. You gain the client’s attention as face to face meetings overcome “Marketing Noise”.  When you are in front of a potential client, you’re in the enviable position of having his complete attention. It creates the opportunity to be enthusiastic and energetic about what you do, while informing him of your services or the advantages you have over your competition. It can be much more powerful than being just another email in his already overloaded inbox.
  6. You can tailor your message to the specific needs of a client. Your discussion with a potential client can vary based upon their specific and individual needs.

Effective tips for face-to-face meetings

  1. Dress for success because the way you dress, tells people who you are – People who look successful, often are.
  2. There is no substitute for being prepared. Know the VA industry, know what you have to offer new clients and also know how your services can benefit them. Good knowledge of these basic elements can create wonders in any communication situation. Be prepared when someone asks you what you do for a living. Stuttering and stammering and “uhm” and “ah”, will unfortunately not create the “trust” factor. If it is a formal business meeting, also take along your portfolio and business cards to give to them afterwards
  3. Maintain eye contact with the person you talk to. Don’t look around the room, at a desk, or anywhere other than the person’s eyes. If multiple people are in the group, maintain eye contact with each person, rotating your eyes from person to person.
  4. Ask them direct, open-ended questions about their business. People like to talk about themselves and you can get wonderful information that you can use to convince them that they need your services.
  5. Listen carefully and do not interrupt when others are speaking.
  6. Lastly, follow up. After the meeting or the social interaction, send them a note to thank them for their time, make them feel important because you’ve remembered them and then, look for opportunities to stay in contact.

The bottom line: Although a Virtual Assistant needs to stay up to speed with today’s technologies, it is still important to keep old values in mind as well. Meeting with people face-to-face can be an extremely effective tool to build relationships and find new clients.

So, go out, meet people and market your services with confidence and finesse.