Limitations & Perks to Virtual Events:
You don’t need to share everything
This is a growing digital world that can breed fear and distrust in many. The ability to find and use information doesn’t mean you have to share that you have it. Not all knowledge needs to be public.
Virtual groups function under many of the same rules as in-person events, and each has it’s unique limitations and benefits.
- Many times, people are merely looking for free information. Visitors make contact under the guise that they are still deciding even though their mind is made up (to buy from a different company). Questions can be buying signals or a channel through which they compile expertise to get a ‘better deal’ from their predetermined vendor.
- Clients gather information from everyone during the negotiation, but most decisions take place through direct contact. If all your interaction is digital impersonal consultations, you will (more often than not) lose out to whomever makes personal contact with the client. If the only interaction a prospective client experiences from you is automated and distant—how should they assume you will handle them as a paying client? People like to buy from people, because when we are in need of good customer service, as a paying client we want more than a website to read or troubleshoot email.
- Every voice appears to carry the same authority. When engaging in a virtual space, you are almost certainly being researched concurrently with your negotiation. People go to your website and look up your information (at times while you’re on the phone with them). Every social media/blog/review that references your company or industry is a voice that a potential new client will consider when selecting between you and your competition. This is why a solid (branded) business website is paramount. If your website does not communicate an excellent brand—you’re stating that your client should expect mediocrity. It’s painful when your web presence interferes with your ability to sell—through you were a perfect fit for the client.
On the positive end, with virtual groups…
- You’re continuously and automatically presented with new people. There are more potential new clients on the web than your current business process can handle. It’s likely that you currently know someone (through 2-3 degrees of separation) who could introduce you to each of them. If you’re active and clear in your brand, your potential is only muzzled by your implementation.
- Reminders and alerts keep you aware and up to date. Properly configured alerts, reminders, and notifications can notify you when people have looked at your content, mentioned you, or referenced your product or your industry in content they have added.
- It’s easy to figure out what you have in common. A target client’s profile, website, and customer reviews tell a lot about who they are and what they expect in others. You can even visually visit their store front with global maps, and see someone’s front door without ever leaving your office. The cars that are in the parking lot of an office building will tell you a lot about the lifestyles of those that work there.
TMI: Too much information
I had a client that didn’t trust posting anything on the web for risk of identity theft. In an effort to show that all their information was already out there, I did a 30 minute search and pulled up so much information that they didn’t want to do business with me… “because it’s just scary”. They understood my purpose in pulling the information, but it was just too much too quickly and they couldn’t handle it. I have to admit, that was a bad choice… ability doesn’t infer permission.