We hope not. On the off chance that you are, here are two reasons why this is not a good idea.

Time

Time is the most valuable resource we have and the lack of it is the most common complaint that the majority of people share. If poorly managed, time can quickly become a pain point for both you and your prospective and current customers.

In a world where ‘I don’t have time’ is the go-to phrase of the day, finding ways to ‘make’ time is a crucial skill to have. Inviting people to a hotel to grow your business, results in all parties involved losing time as opposed to making time. Once you lose time, there is absolutely no way to get it back without a time machine.

Limiting your potential client pool

Inviting people out to a hotel meeting to grow your business limits your potential pool. You can only invite those people in a certain area as the chances of someone traveling out of their immediate area to meet someone they might not really know to discuss a product or service they may or might not need is slim to none.

Growing your business requires you to focus not just on serving your immediate area but also targeting surrounding cities and countries both near and far if your concept allows for it.

To grow your business it is therefore in your best interest to take advantage of key technological developments. Two such technological developments that are designed to assist in this endeavor are webinars and video conferencing.

Webinars

Jill Schiefelbein, a VIP Contributor at Entrepreneur magazine defines a webinar as “a LIVE, interactive seminar done online.” She points out that webinars are a great way to capture leads, increase sales and provide an additional revenue stream. They are also a great way to appeal to a wider global audience.

Webinars are billed as both an art and a science. An art because the design elements are key to attracting and keeping attendees engaged. A science because targeting the rights customers inevitably leads to more sales and increased brand awareness.

There are different types of webinars as determined by the goal or purpose. Schiefelbein identified three common types of webinars.

  • The Lead-Generation or Sales Webinar
  • The One-Off For-Profit Webinar
  • The Multi-Module Webinar or Webinar Series

The Lead-Generation or Sales Webinar

The lead-generation or sales webinar is the most common webinar currently in use. Leads are generated when someone signs up for the session and provides their contact information. When designed well, they focus more on providing information and less on selling.

It should be noted though that the best lead-generation or sales type webinars don’t just focus on the information provided during the sign-up process to generate leads. They intentionally and very specifically are designed to collect information on potential clients throughout the duration of the webinar.

This is key for two reasons.

The first is that not everyone who signs up for a session ends up attending it or converting to a sale. As pointed out earlier, time is your most valuable resource so you must learn to spend it wisely. This means recognizing who is truly worth your effort.

The second is that the more information you are able to collect on your attendees the better you are able to meet their needs. The more you are able to meet their needs, the higher the likelihood that they will invest in your product or service.

The One-Off For-Profit Webinar

There is a common misconception that people are not willing to pay for products or services that appear to be overpriced. Allow me to permanently correct this misconception.

People are always willing to pay. They are just not willing to pay for crap. People pay for value and that value is not determined by those who set the price but by the people who choose to buy the product or service. For those who choose to buy a particular product or service, their number one concern is benefits. The benefits must exceed the price.

These types of webinars are focused on one item only and are designed in such a way that leaves the customer wanting more forcing them to seek you out.

A one-off for profit webinar may be your best bet if you are known subject matter expert in a particular field or have researched the market well and created a product or service that is well positioned to meet a clearly identified need for a select group of people and that comes with clear benefits.

The Multi-Module Webinar or Webinar Series

One-off for-profit webinars are great to start off with but the goal is to keep a constant flow of new and established customer coming back. The best way to do that is a multi-module webinar or webinar series.

Using this method you can sell a product or a service to your customer then offer private customer only specialized training webinars to show them how to get the most use of their purchase. If the product is digital and updates are made, those updates can be shared via a webinar.

If you are a trainer, for example, you can design your training webinar sessions in such a way that they qualify attendees for continuing education credits or formal certificates which attendees can use for career advancement.

Webinar Do’s and Don’ts

Keep the following in mind as you create and deliver your webinars.

  1. Do practice. A lot. Practice not just the content that needs to be delivered but also the delivery as well.
  2. Don’t leave the Q&A session until the end of the webinar. Include shorter Q&A sessions throughout your presentation.
  3. Don’t forget to speak and interact with your audience to keep them engaged.
  4. Do add a link for those not available to attend live sessions.
  5. Do not pre-record the webinar, as this does not allow attendees to actively participate.
  6. Do not focus on yourself or the product or service your selling. Focus instead on the value you are adding. This means focus on your potential clients and on providing a solution to a problem they have. Remember, your job is to move your clients away from pain or move them towards pleasure.
  7. Do send a thank you email to all webinar participants listing the sessions’ highlights and a link to the live recording.
  8. Don’t overdo the advertising portion of the session as that will put off potential attendees.
  9. Don’t call it a webinar. This may sound odd but words matter. Webinars are no longer an unknown feature. There is an extremely high probability that your customers have heard of them and know they are either a marketing tool or a commodity or even both. Depending on how you structure it, you may call it an online short course or a virtual workshop.

Ready to tackle your first webinar? Click here. The link will take you to Capterra, the world’s leading digital marketplace for business software. Here you will find a list of the webinar software currently in use. Not only are you able to see reviews from actual users, you will also be able to select and compare your software selections to see which one is best suited to your business needs.

Video Conferencing

A video conference is a live, visual connection between multiple people located in separate locations for the purpose of communication.

You may have heard the following popular expression. People buy from people not from companies. This is 100% true. This is why face-to-face interactions are extremely important. People want to know exactly whom they are dealing with and only face-to-face interactions provide that.

Video conferencing allows you to keep the benefit of meeting clients face-to-face while also using time more efficiently. You no longer have to factor in time wasters like traffic into the conversation.

In addition, business is conducted faster and there is less miscommunication. Not only is time better used but money also gets saved. Video conferencing also allows businesses to expand their client base to include customers all over the world.

Video Conferencing Platforms

In late 2017 PCMag reviewed the video conferencing platforms currently on the market and deemed the following ten to be the best at that time.

  • RingCentral Office for Business
  • ClickMeeting
  • Zoho Meeting
  • eVoice
  • Microsoft Skype for Business
  • join.me
  • Adobe Connect
  • Amazon Chime
  • GoToMeeting
  • Cisco WebEx Meeting Center

Ready to add video conferencing to your bag of time-saving tricks? Check out this link. Here you will find a list of what each of the above platforms offers and a detailed review on each.

Video Conferencing Do’s and Don’ts

Keep the following in mind when sourcing and using video conferencing.

When sourcing, do not focus on cheap. Cheap can be expensive. Focus on quality. There are enough high-quality options currently on the market that will allow you to do this.

  1. Do always check your video settings before you commence a conference to ensure that they are working as intended.
  2. Do mute your microphone whenever you’re not speaking as they can very easily capture background noise.
  3. Do look directly at the camera when speaking and not at the computer so people feel you are present and engaged.
  4. Do not look at emails or read magazines or newspapers while on a video conference call.
  5. Do check to make sure that anything in view of the camera is appropriate for public consumption. Especially if you are working away from the office. This goes for what you are wearing as well.

Conclusion

Hotels are not a great place to meet to grow your business but they are great for something else. Celebrations. So don’t throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. Keep the hotels but use them to celebrate your clients and your growing partnership.