It’s the year of telecommuting, teleconferencing, working from home. People of all ages, in every industry, have adapted to completing tasks online from 9 to 5.
Even kindergarteners are expertly logging on to their laptops, signing in to their screen-sharing services, and going to school in the living room. Grandparents are “visiting” their grandkids through video chats on their smartphones.
And that raises the question: Should you still be calling and emailing your clients? Or is it time to get on Zoom?
People are used to attending “important” meetings with their video screens on. It sometimes conveys a sense of urgency when you have to upgrade a conversation from voice-only. Therefore, if someone takes a video call with you, they might associate that discussion with a higher level of importance, too.
Zoom means you have to put on your office clothes (from the waist up, at least) and run a brush through your hair. You might need to tidy up your workspace (or at least go through the effort of selecting a background). It means making an effort, because you respect the person on the other end of the call.
Those are all good reasons to switch up the regular pattern of check-in emails and suggest a one-on-one video chat instead. Since you can’t exactly take clients out to lunch, it replaces that personal touch. You get facetime with the people whose relationships are important to you.
Of course, you can step it up and have “lunch” together too. You can each plan your coffee breaks to coincide. Or, go one step further and have a meal delivered to their home office.
Ordering from the same local chain gives you and the client an icebreaker. When you’re sharing the same kind of food, it’s something in common to start a light conversation with, as you might the weather or restaurant ambience or the menu back when you actually went out for lunch.
Otherwise, especially with a built-in time constraint, it might make your client feel like they need to get right down to business. That’s probably not the vibe you’re going for with this approach.
This should be an opportunity to relax, get to know your client on a personal level, and nurture your relationship outside of work. Obviously, you might have a project to pitch or some numbers to go over. Maybe you have an agenda for the meeting, or maybe you just want to touch base.
Regardless, if you’re going to actually take the time from someone’s day, and make them go through with all of that hair-brushing and room-tidying, you should definitely ensure that their efforts feel respected by providing a relaxing oasis in what might be an otherwise hectic day full of other, less friendly meetings.
Proposing a Zoom meeting with your clients can be a pivotal way to stand out from the competition and keep your relationship flourishing in strained economic times.
When offering to meet your clients on video, we suggest:
- Making video an option, so they can take a regular call if that’s more comfortable
- Asking what platforms and tools your client is most comfortable with
- Providing several dates and times, and understanding that appointments are rescheduled often these days (and it’s nothing personal)
- If you want to do something clever or cute (like a catered lunch), make sure it’s someone who you know well and who will definitely receive that situation in the spirit its intended (rather than as a sense of obligation or overfamiliarity)
- Ease your client into the talk with some warm-up conversation, as you would when meeting up in real life (rather than thinking of it as a modified phone call)
- Make it a relaxing, friendly chat—not overly pushy or businesslike
- Always follow up with an email to thank them for their time
For more ideas on keeping your business relationships active while social distancing, Contact Us. We’re happy to chat through email, on the phone, or—of course—on Zoom!