Business travel has changed forever. Realizing the efficiencies of a virtual forward approach to meetings - businesses are unwilling to return to less efficient methods. A recent report from Quartz, aptly titled, Business travel will never make a comeback, discusses how travel has not returned to its pre-pandemic levels and this shift we are seeing is permanent.The rise in remote work, corporate budget cuts, and environmental concerns are all causing us to restructure how we connect not just internally but with clients across geographic divides. The pandemic taught us that while travel can be an important way to see clients in person and build those relationships, there are other ways we can positively impact our business relationships from afar. As we adjust to a landscape that likely includes a bit less business travel for client meetings and more virtual interactions, how do we fill the voids created when we can’t be in person?
Share your gratitude.
With business travel evolving and clients spread across the country, it is harder than ever to develop meaningful connections with your customers in person. This is why it is so important to share your gratitude and build personal relationships in other ways. Just a small gesture to say thank you for your clients time or congratulations on a big milestone goes a long way. The key is expressing your gratitude sincerely and making it personalized to each client.
Find ways to bridge the virtual divide
Everyone communicates differently so it's important to learn how to ensure your clients feel heard, understood and appreciated. Keeping multiple channels of communication open allows for people to feel connected and makes getting in touch that much easier. It’s also important to make sure your cameras are on during meetings to show that you are interested, engaged and willing to further foster relationships with your clients. At the conclusion of longer meetings or virtual events, send a Power Lunch through Thnks to let them know their time is valued.
Be mindful about meetings. Get organized before check-ins with an agenda of topics to discuss and be clear on why you want to meet. Be sure to build in time for the less work-oriented conversations, because these give you the opportunity to strengthen your relationships and learn more about your clients. Actively listen to what your clients say and to what’s going on in their life. Make notes so you can remember those little things that are important to them. Are they heading on a vacation? Is their kid starting school? Are they getting married? Moving to a new house? These comments can provide you with great opportunities to follow-up later and show your appreciation for them in a way that is personalized.
Give them a positive experience
While you may not be able to (or need to) travel as often as before, the need to understand what makes your clients and prospects tick is just as important. And the benefits of being able to provide them with experiences that they will remember and be thankful for is key. So, despite not being able to take a client to dinner or a sporting event if you’re not in the same city, you can still emulate the same level of connection through sending them a pair of tickets to their favorite musician’s tour for a fun night off - or any number of fun experiences they might enjoy. The main thing is to figure out what they like and then try to provide that to them as a way of expressing your appreciation for them. Maintaining that level of camaraderie virtually is a great way to strengthen your relationships even when you can’t do it in person.
With the chance that business travel may never return to what it once was, bridging the virtual divide is more important than ever. Expressing your thanks, having clear channels of communication and being mindful of their personal interests are a few ways you can contribute to a successful and positive virtual business relationship.
Thnks can help you take steps to use gratitude to build your relationships even from a distance. Within seconds, you can show them your appreciation by searching for a gesture, personalizing a note, and sending it off via SMS or email. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo, or click here to learn more about expressing gratitude in business!