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B2B or not to B2B: Why Business Is Personal

3 minute read

In this week’s Engage Customer, the discussion starts with an illustrious contribution from Penny Power OBE – Co-Founder of Business Is Personal - who looks at why it is often the case. Her article, ‘Engage Customers: The Power of Personal Connections in Business’, looks at the challenges that occur in an era of social media – particularly in the B2B space – of creating and fostering genuine connections with potential clients, suppliers, and partners.

She explains: “This past week, I experienced several moments that highlighted just how impactful personal interactions are—not just during the exchange but long after. This all serves as a crucial reminder of why deep, personal engagement is vital in areas like marketing, customer service, and sales.”

Building trust

While technologies such as social media can help to begin conversations, she argues that face-to-face interactions help to build trust. In her view, they are irreplaceable. What you get from a physical interaction with someone else is that ability to notice subtleties, such as body language, the sincerity in a person's voice, and the genuine expressions on their faces. They “convey much more than words on a screen,” she remarks.

To a degree, she could be right. If you were to engage in online dating, would you continue to chat for months online before meeting your prospective date? You might get a sense of who someone is online, but it might not lead to a genuine relationship between the two parties. So, there are genuine circumstances and reasons in an era of technology to meet up with a prospective client, although technology can conversely reduce the need to travel.

She therefore comments: “As we increasingly integrate technology into our daily routines, it's crucial to remember the power of physical presence. While digital tools enhance our ability to connect, they should not replace the profound impact of meeting someone in person, where a handshake, a hug, or a shared smile can make all the difference.”

Remote working

Yet increasingly, our interactions with other people are occurring online or via some form of smartphone call via an app. You can still deduce whether someone is genuine, and in a remote, home-working era, it can be more convenient to exploit the benefits of the internet. This may include being able to work from anywhere, and to do personal chores such as the school run.

Even in B2C circles, there is often a discussion about creating and maintaining a relationship with customers. Yet the interaction is often far shorter, and more transactional. Still, the experience someone has on an e-commerce site will create a thought or an emotion that may or may not drive further brand engagement from your company in this market.

B2C relationships

So, while in the B2B space, relationships are often key to contracts, having an emotional connection – no matter how minor – in a commoditised business-to-consumer market can also make the difference, showing that business is personal. How we interact with people and also the platforms and technologies they put in place for us to use can inspire or detract. It is therefore key to ensure that the customer and networking experience we create is totally satisfying. Without satisfaction, there can be no customer engagement, no sales, and no success.

That’s why business is often personal. What are your thoughts on how to create mutually profitable business and customer relationship that increases customer engagement in today’s social media era? Send me your article ideas and join the conversation.

Meanwhile, learn more…read this week’s newsletter.

By Graham Jarvis, Editor

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