In a world where you can connect with customers with a click of a button, it’s easy to question whether exhibiting at a conference is worth the investment. But even as online communication continues to improve, thousands of companies make the decision to appear at conventions, expos, and trade shows every single year. Why do they do it? There just is no substitution for face-to-face interaction.

The Harvard Business Review prepared a report called “Managing Across Distance in Today’s Economic Climate”. The report details the various ways in which face-to- face interaction outshines technology. Here are a few of them.

Developing New Clients

Face-to-face marketing is particularly valuable when it comes to developing relationships with new clients. For The Harvard Business Review Report, 95% of respondents said that face-to-face communication was crucial for building client relationships. As a relationship with a new client is being formed, it’s easier to gauge the clients needs, concerns, and overall sentiments by meeting with them face to face.

Negotiation

Over 82% of respondents claimed that face-to-face communication was by far the most effective negotiation tool. Being in the same room with a negotiating party can transform the entire dynamic. In this intimate environment, neither party can disguise their sentiment behind a computer screen or words of an email. When you negotiate face to face, everyone is forced to be transparent, honest, and willing to negotiate in a way that is win-win for the parties involved.

Relationship Maintenance

Electronic communication won’t always sufSice when striving to maintain stable relationships with your clients. By meeting with your customers in person, you’ll receive valuable insight you might miss over the phone or through email. Face-to- face communication is not only a more useful method of capturing customer feedback, but it proves to clients that you value the relationship. It clearly communicates that your company is working to improve and cares about your customer’s experiences.

Cultural Barriers

Meeting face-to-face will eliminate any confusion or misinterpretation between cultures. When two people are on the trade show Sloor, it’s much easier to recognize the nuance and non-verbal cues during a conversation.

When communicating with clients internationally, thick accents and differences in social norms can lead to misinterpretation. These cultural barriers are ampliSied even more when the interaction happens over the phone or by email. This confusion during an interaction can tarnish relationships and waste valuable time. By meeting in person, you leave no room for error.

Managing The Costs

The most prominent argument against face-to-face marketing is the cost. To counter this concern, the Harvard Business Review’s report provides some interesting insight on the impact of travel costs. The report showed that 60% of sales and marketing professionals said that cutbacks in their business travel would hurt business. 36% of Sinance professionals said cutbacks would have no impact on business. Based on these numbers, it appears there’s no urgent Sinancial incentive to eliminate such an effective marketing strategy.

Is it Worth It?

When evaluating the real value of face-to-face marketing, it’s important to use multiple metrics. Rather than looking directly at cash Slow, take a glance at the bigger picture and consider the long term impact of generating clients, sustaining those relationships, and negotiating face-to-face. Regardless of how electronic communication evolves, there is no substitute for this type of marketing.