Simon Fowler's Blog

rLiving Day 26: Sales Performance (Directness, Continuity, Commonality)

Posted by Simon on May 26, 2010

But, so what?

So what if they lost all those things? The business question is: did sales go down, or go up, because of the decision to stop meeting? Were clients retained? Did those clients spend more? Were negotiations enable bigger margins? Were new prospects found and turned into clients?

If I hadn’t fried my brain last night spending three hours thinking about derivatives, I’d look this up, but I know there’s strong evidence to link employee engagement positively with performance (on a number of metrics). But what I don’t know, and would like to find out, is to what degree and why regularly meeting face to face specifically contributes to engagement and so to performance. The research evidence about global teams seems to indicate that regular face to face meetings is an important part, but only a part, of a team’s overall effectiveness. But I’m keen to know the degree to which face to face meetings actually make all the mediated interactions more effective.

If you have any data to share, I’d welcome it!

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One Response to “rLiving Day 26: Sales Performance (Directness, Continuity, Commonality)”

  1. christian said

    Hi Simon,

    Kudos, as always, for your discipline in this writing enterprise!

    I hate to complicate things, but I am wondering if it might be helpful to broaden the definition of media, and therefore the definition of directness a bit: “My relationship with someone is better and healthier the more fluent we are with the media that participate in our relationship. It can be mediated by technology or other people or by clothing or by language or by socio-economic status or by gestures: lack of fluency with any of these media reduce our ability to communicate fully and know each other better.”

    Here’s why i’m thinking this: I have met some very awkward or deceptive people in real-life with whom i was able to achieve very little directness, and some very savvy and honest people in virtual spaces with whom directness came quite naturally (we, of course, have spent much more time chatting virtually than in-person, which i find a bit ironic). In both cases, the person’s awareness of and ability to act fluently within the medium’s constraints has been at least as important as the medium itself. To take this a bit further, i have met more than one WWII couple who told me that their distant romance via letters seemed to them (for a time) to provide a greater level of intimacy than they would have had face-to-face. In a way, i guess you might say that it increased a sort of cognitive multiplexity by enabling them to explore more areas of their reflective selves together?

    Just to be clear, i am _not_ suggesting that the letter writing or virtual meetings are somehow _more_ direct than face-to-face, but instead that they provide a different _sort_ of directness, and that the directness in any of these mediated relations is contingent upon fluency.

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