Several months ago I was talking to a successful, serial entrepreneur. He had sold several companies and hadn’t had to work for many years. Even still, he loved creating companies and so was at it again with his next startup. After talking for a while, the topic of travel and sales meetings came up. Naturally, he loved chasing big deals and was on the road 50% of the time. His mantra: get on a plane. There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction.
Here are a few thoughts on the importance of getting on a plane:
- People buy from other people they like (this is one of the reasons the best product doesn’t always win)
- Collaboration tools like Google Hangouts and Skype Video are good, but in person is significantly better
- Rapport and strong relationships help when challenges inevitably arise (e.g. bugs, downtime, late delivery, etc.)
- Body language and subtle feedback are critical when negotiating important deals
While many entrepreneurs fantasize about a world of self-service products with no business development deals or humans selling, the reality is that most startups require a heavy human component. When there’s a heavy human component, there’s no substitute for getting on a plane and meeting in person.
What else? What are some other thoughts on the importance of getting on a plane and meeting face-to-face?