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The Personal Touch Wins the Day in Business


Business is most likely to be won as a result of a face-to-face meeting than any other method, including social networking.

The research, by Vodafone UK, reveals that just over half (57%) of business people win business via the traditional face-to-face method, dropping to just 34% who have won business by email.

One in five managing directors admit they would not deal with someone they had not met face-to-face.

Workers spend 59 minutes a week (in excess of one working week annually) in 'face-time' with a top client; this is ahead of any other form of communication.

Wining and dining continue to win business points; 47% would expect to be treated to a top restaurant or drinks at a private members club (26%), while more than one in 10 still prefer to tee off a relationship on the golf course. A third give the thumbs up to a business chin wag over a pint at the pub.

Sahar Hashemi, who built the Coffee Republic chain with her brother, said: "Modern day communication tools have an invaluable role to play in business, but you can't replace the trust and understanding that comes from a face-to-face meeting. It's important to keep an open mind to new ideas but always remember there is a time to close down the internet, get out there, look the client in the eye and remember how to do business the way that works in the real world."

Despite the phone being voted as the most dominant networking tool (59% use it to network), phone usage has dropped by almost a third in the space of a generation when comparing those under and over 40. For younger workers, this figure drops dramatically with almost half of entrepreneurs in their 20s preferring to network online only.

Kyle Whitehill, director of enterprise at Vodafone UK, commented: "Online networking is a huge phenomenon and one that will no doubt have an impact on some of the ways business communicate and market themselves. When it comes to the basics of winning and keeping business, however, embracing all the various networking options may strike a better balance for business success."

Over a 1,000 business people across the UK were quizzed as part of the survey. Of this sample, just one in 10 use networking sites like Facebook to do business, and less than a quarter are aware of a networking community specific to their industry.


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