Many years back when I was trying to build my business, grow my profile and get the type of clients that I wanted, I developed a strategy that has helped me to build a global business. My strategy was to never let my geographical location stop me from doing a deal. I would drop everything at a minutes notice, book a plane ticket and go and see a prospective client the very next day.
There were times that I had to fly for 4 hours (or more), have a meeting with a potential client and fly back that same day, simply because I couldn't afford a hotel. But my philosophy was that if I was talking to a prospective client and they were interested in talking to me I had to strike while the iron was hot. I would say something along the lines of "well coincidentally I have to come to your city this week, can we meet?". Then I would get off the phone and book the trip.
Other times I would actually say that I am prepared to fly down tomorrow to see them. This impressed people and they took our meetings very seriously - and acknowledged that I was serious. about getting their business.
Now, years later, I still take the same approach. If someone gets in touch with me and they are a good lead, I won't hesitate to book a flight to go and sit down face to face, wherever they may be in the world.
Of course we can use Skype, conference calls, Zoom and embrace all kinds of technology, which I do, but I still believe that there is something very compelling about a face to face meeting. I believe in what I do, I'm passionate and have enough confidence to believe that if I get in front of a prospective client I will be able to close the deal. Hence getting on a plane seemed like a safe investment.
Mind you, there were plenty of times when I flew home, deflated because I didn't get the business. But I never stopped getting on planes.
Why did this work so well? I think there are a number of reasons:
- It showed a high level of commitment on my behalf. Even though I lived in a regional area, I was mobile, I was able to quickly schedule a visit, turn up in a suit and tie and show them that I was prepared to do what it takes to get their business.
- I did what other people weren't prepared to do. And I did it with no certainly that it would end up with a paid job. People noticed this and acknowledged the risk. I have created a lot of business from people who said they were impressed by the fact that I would get on a plane and come to see them immediately.
- I built a reputation for being a person who would take action, responded quickly and did what it would take to get the project going. I was never the weakest link, even though I lived a two hour flight away from the closest capital city.
So what did this proactive approach lead to? It helped me to become a very successful author, by being able to spend time with my publishers. It got me work with many large corporations, all of which are based in capital cities. It got me media opportunities (such as writing for inc.com because I made the effort to build relationships) and much more.
My advice is simple. We live in a time when air travel is ridiculously cheap, use that as one of the marketing tools that will differentiate you from your competitors. If you make the effort others will notice and that will go a long way to you closing the deal.