In sports, we often talk about home field advantage. Of course, players prefer to sleep in their own beds and to play in front of their own fans. And playing at home really does confer an advantage as far as who wins.
But what does this have to do with business? How does being on your own turf help you make a deal?
1. You Know Your Resources
In your own office—or perhaps at your own favorite restaurant or your own golf course—you know what to expect. You know what your options are. If the chairs squeak, at least you already know about it! Seriously, being in familiar territory means that if you need something, whether it’s an extra pen or another file, you know you’ll have it right there. Everything just goes smoother for you.
2.You’re More Comfortable
It’s comfortable to be at home. No rushing to get somewhere, no gatekeeper of a receptionist to get through, no uneasiness…you know where the bathroom is. Seriously, nobody likes having to admit to a stranger that they need to use the bathroom, but if you need directions, what else can you do? When you’re at home, you don’t have to think about any of that, and so your brain has more room for this deal you’re trying to work out.
3. You Can Demonstrate Transparency
The people who do business with you want to be able to see you’re on the up-and-up. There is probably some degree of risk for them, and you need to give them a reason to trust you. Letting this other person see where you work and meet the people you work with is a really good step in the right direction.
4. You Can Demonstrate Generosity
Giving, like transparency, is a vital part of building trust. Giving is always good. When someone comes to visit your office, you can offer water, coffee, a pen, candy or the best seat with the best view. Make your visitor feel welcome, the way you’d want to feel if you had to go on the road to their office. Form a connection. Break down some walls. Find little ways to go above and beyond and be a great host.
5. Preserve Your Flow
Flow is that thing that happens when you’re working well, everything is really coming together, and—and the phone just rang. Seriously, when I was writing the first draft of this, the phone rang, right in the middle of me writing this paragraph about how bad it is to get interrupted. I’m not kidding. Ah, where was I? Oh yeah, when you have to stop working to get in your car to drive 20 minutes to your appointment you are disrupted. It’s bad for flow. I mean, 20 minutes in the car there and back can be really useful—during my travel time I like to listen to audio books, podcasts and checking up on sports stories—but if the other person can come to your office instead, you get to preserve your flow and your whole day gets more productive.
My Place or Yours?
Of course, now that we’ve written this article, maybe it will lead to people fighting about where they will meet next. My office, no my office! In sports, they do fight it out—whoever wins the most gets home field advantage throughout the playoffs—but of course, we’re going for more of a win/win scenario here. Maybe it’s best to say that if you can’t have home field advantage yourself, let your client have it. You’ll both come out ahead.
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