Slowly but surely, I’m returning to more face-to-face sales opportunities with clients and prospects, and I think we’re all better for it. 

Video conferencing is convenient, and sometimes it has been necessary, but nothing replaces the effectiveness—for both buyer and seller—of in-person sales. This is especially true when you’re selling complex, client-personalized solutions, as I am.

When It Comes to IT, Health Systems Prefer In-Person Project Development 

In my highly complex field of healthcare IT, I’m discussing solutions to things like interoperability, enterprise resource planning, application rationalization, application integration, and the thoughtful use of AI. These are customized solutions, not topics that can be covered in a standardized slide show during a video call.

That’s why I believe in consultative selling, where I dig deeply to understand the business need and what prospects want—and what they don’t want. They’re buying value, accountability, and trust. All of these qualities are much easier to establish in person, without the distractions inherent when working remotely.

Statistics bear this out. The chart below makes the case for in-person sales, in terms of the value it brings to the table. Face-to-face discussions make it easier to:

  • Clarify project goals and objectives
  • Identify issues that are particular to the client and their current IT structures
  • Prioritize resource skills and organizational cultural requirements
  • Set up working relationships that are effective and not disruptive 
  • Support client-vendor accountability and trust

As the chart verifies, no wonder in-person project discussions are twice as useful—and successful—as phone sales. It’s because customers and prospects prefer face-to-face discussions, too.

Chart showing In-Person vs. Virtual Meetings
Source: Map My Customers

Whether or Not Face-to-Face Discussions End in a Sale, Both Parties Appreciate the Collaboration

Face-to-face discussions facilitate a faster process to find out if there is a match between the client’s needs and what we, as a healthcare IT services company, have to offer. 

When I’m in the field, at a client site, or sharing a meal or a game of golf, I’m building the relationship in a way that is beneficial for the client. I’m either learning more details about the project, more specifics about the technical complexities and goals, or more background about the client’s business culture. Together, we’re figuring out if there is a good fit and reasons to move forward on the project. 

That’s why salespeople—and clients—want to get back to in-person sales. Business travel is expected to reach 95% of its 2019 level this year, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Much of this is based on project discussions between vendors and clients.

Admittedly, there is still room for remote sales in some sectors. There is no doubt that remote work is a time saver and also an expense saver as air and hotel prices continue to rise. Corporate sustainability goals also factor in. But if you look at the success rate and overall value of in-person sales versus remote sales, clearly in-person is the preferred way to go and my preferred way of collaborating with prospects.

Innovative Consulting Group