Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of online business owners have a meeting with their clients before they book a project. It seems like a great idea if the people you work with are from the same town you are. But when it comes to meeting via Skype or talking on the phone with prospective clients, I prefer emails to calls.
Why I prefer emails to calls
I’m based in Europe, but I want to work with people from all over the world, and scheduling can be quite tricky. My clients often reply to my emails when I go to sleep or even in the middle of the night. Though that isn’t a problem because I can read them when I wake up and have enough time to give them a good answer.
Can you image how it would be to Skype someone at 4 a.m.?
Emails save time
Even a quick call can turn into a long chat. We spend at least 10 minutes trying to know each other and get comfortable, and we might spend 10 more minutes trying to end the call. Talking about our hobbies and family is nice, but we can actually spend that time doing something we like. And you know what’s worse? Talking for an hour about something, then forgetting about it.
I want everything in writing
Because if you chat about a lot of things, it’s easy to forget the important bits. Yes, you can record the call or take notes, but sending an email seems easier to me. You will have the email records and can refer back to them anytime.
Writing helps you focus on the project
Through the years, I’ve noticed that writing makes people give better feedback and pay more attention to the project. Bouncing ideas off each other on the phone might make it harder for us to reach an agreement. It is true, though, that it can also be productive, but emails can do the same thing.
Calls can be awkward
I tend to be very nervous when I meet new people, and video chats make me even more anxious. I might not talk that much, or worse, I might talk a lot, and regret it later. This is probably true for some of my clients as well. Well, we can avoid an awkward phone call by exchanging emails or using an instant messaging software.
But how can you get to know each other?
After the first messages are exchanged, I send my potential clients a form to fill out. I’ve been changing these forms over the years, but I like to think that I know what questions to ask. Sometimes there might be even more follow-up question after the project starts. This has worked for me so far, and I’ve managed to build great relationships with my clients.
How can you do this
For a lot of people, it’s easier to meet their clients in person or through a video call, but it doesn’t work for everyone and you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing this. If your clients insist on a phone call, tell them why you think it’s better to use email or instant messaging. Don’t lie to them, just explain the process and answer all the questions they have. If they still try to schedule a call, then you might want to charge them for that if you think it’s not efficient for you.
While emailing has worked for me, it might not be the best option for everyone. I know a lot of designers will see this as bad client relationship, but it’s not the case. You can have a great relationship with your clients even if you don’t know the sound of their voice.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the best option for you and your clients.