Mar 9, 2021

Zoom Is Consuming Relationship Capital

We have been living off relationship capital earned from before the pandemic. This should raise alarm bells for any salesperson or brand that is dependent on personal relationships.

Could you imagine how difficult this past year would have been without Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet? These tools are a godsend. They’ve helped us connect, communicate and collaborate when the world is locked down.

But they come with a cost, especially when contrasted with face-to-face communication. Zoom is consuming relationship capital.

You can feel the toll physically. We call it “Zoom fatigue.”

There are a number of physiological reasons why back-to-back Zoom meetings are so exhausting:

  • Close-up eye contact is intense. Staring at a little camera for hours on end is weird. In a normal meeting your eyes dart between speakers, your notes, or looking around the room. In a Zoom meeting you stare into the camera, which dramatically increases eye contact. You’ve got a bunch of people all staring right back at you!
  • Looking at your own face is exhausting. Seeing yourself in a mirror for a moment is ok, but imagine standing in front of the mirror for hours on end noticing every single flaw. That’s what Zoom is doing to your brain. You’re not designed to stare at your own face for so long.
  • Sitting still and talking is unnatural. Most face-to-face meetings are seated, but you can move around, swivel in your chair and present to the room. In a Zoom meeting you have to frame yourself within a box. This restricts your ability to move around and it forces you to contort your body in ways that are often unnatural.
  • Cognitive load is at maximum. Your gray matter is working so much harder in a Zoom meeting. You have to think about how to present your feelings, capture non-verbal cues from the others on screen, and be more aware of how others might interpret what you say or do. This forces your brain to work overtime to send and receive non-verbal signals from others.

You can feel the toll of Zoom meetings at the end of the day: your neck and shoulders are stiff, your brain is fuzzy, and you are mentally and physically exhausted. But we do it, because we have no other choice.

The challenge is Zoom meetings are not building relationships, they are consuming them. The energy we gain from face-to-face meetings, luncheons and events cannot be replaced with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any other video conferencing platform.

As a result, we can see the impact in B2B companies’ sales funnels. Sales are coming from existing customers and relationships, while acquiring new customers (new logos to add to your website or portfolio) is at an all time low.

I call this phenomenon, “No new logos.”

Companies are generating sales by consuming existing relationships, but their brands lack the ability to generate and nurture new relationship capital to drive new business development.

This is triggering a new realization for many businesses: What if we never go back to the relationship building activities that drove sales?

Zoom may be consuming your relationships, but it’s here to stay. The new challenge is brand building so your customers know your brand, like and trust it — even if they don’t get to meet you in person.

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