I was speaking at a conference of developers and freelancers and presented with this question of meeting face-to-face or everything is virtual.
Being in New York, obviously there’s many opportunities to be able to meet people, leads, and potential partners.
When starting out, I did meet lots of leads at coffee shops, their offices, and other places. I’d either get in my car, or hop the train and head on to the location early for the meeting.
NY has traffic and lots of it and the subways have been known to be late from time to time as well, so I always went extra early because I’d rather show up early than be late.
Once there, I’d grab a cup of coffee or drink or whatever for myself and my guest. I especially did this with leads at the first meeting, but would carry that through when they became clients as well.
They would arrive, we’d talk and get to know each other and I would then go ahead and ask whatever questions I needed. Or we would talk about the project tasks and statuses of things. Whatever the purpose of the meeting was.
I’d then hop back into the mode of transportation back home and be on my way with the rest of the day.
Travel time loses profitability
For a one hour meeting, this often times would result in 4 hours of time spent. Between the prep time, travel time, and waiting time, profits literally would fly right out the window.
As I started to notice that an hour spent talking resulted a half day of actual time, I analyzed that against those meetings that were virtual.
I took into account if they were leads vs clients. And ultimately tracked the time spent and likelihood of closing the deal.
What I found was that leads that wanted to meet in a coffee shop often would be tire kickers that didn’t result in becoming a client. They were looking to bounce their idea off of me.
Leads that invited me to their office, well they resulted in becoming a client about 65% of the time.
Those that I would hold as virtual calls, whether that’s through video or phone, were somewhere in between.
But the virtual conversations I would have, took 25% of the time than meeting face-to-face.
I started to key in on the points where I could ask the right questions up front to filter out tire kickers better.
I started to only meet those that had a place in mind to meet me rather than me deciding on a place.
And finally I would hold kick-off calls when we decided to work together face-to-face.
See the value of the face-to-face can’t be measured to be honest, but it adds to a much higher trust factor that you’ll never get virtually.
Over the course of my career, I honestly haven’t had many local clients, so I when possible, I try and meet face-to-face some how.
Over time I’ve guarded my time with purpose. I’m only a single person without a sales team. So getting out there and pressing palms as they say, in a sales capacity needs to produce intended results.
For me it’s unacceptable and hinders the growth of the business to spend a half day to only talk with someone who is looking to get free advice for one hour when they have no intention on paying what I charge.
Lawyers, doctors, and other professionals guard their time, and so I took a page out of their books to do just that.
Most of my meetings now are virtual because I have leads and clients all over the world. That’s not to say though that I don’t meet up with people, I just try and do so as the relationship progresses.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What do you do when a crisis hits?
How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
Are job boards reliable?
How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
How to charge more as a freelancer?
How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
How do you segment your email list?
What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
What kind of content should I promote to potential clients?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach