The normal way to build relationships with prospects and clients is to go out and have a coffee, or if your lucky have lunch. This has always been the method of choice for most small business owners.
The trend is changing.
I want to tell a small story of how this is happening and how it can affect your business.
There are two web based businesses that I work closely with. I have never met any of their staff nor have I ever spoken to them on the phone. They are based in the USA and time differences and long flights mean that this is not really viable. But I have come to realise that it is not necessary either.
I found this company by just searching online for a software tool that I use. I visited their site, watched some videos, read the information and signed up for a newsletter with more tips on how to get the most out of the software. These regular tips included videos from their video blog, with personal guides on improving business methods. All this was free and actually incredibly useful and informative.
Over a period of time I became a customer and then began to receive even more information and more personal advice for free. Then I came across their facebook pages and got to see how they run the business and a little more of their real lives.
The strange thing is this, even though I have never met, spoken to, or even emailed the person in the videos I feel like I know him. I refer to him by his first name, I speak about him with other clients and friends. He has become a reliable reference and I like doing business with him.
There is a new type of coffee table and a new way of having lunch and it is a lot more informative, educational, useful and easier for you to manage. Its having a system do a lot of the work for you, it is the only way this person can 'have a coffee' with his 10,000 clients. It is the power of new media, the web and emails. Right now it is still at an early stage but soon this will become the norm.