How I Work: Two Surprise Questions from a New Client

Judith MorganToday I was surprised by two questions from a new client. Surprised, that is, until I remembered that he had been a referral and hadn’t been reading my website, my blog, my newsletter and chatting to me for ages on Facebook before he decided to work with me. Nevertheless, it pointed up a failure in my marketing which I shall be rectifying forthwith by linking to this post on my About Me page.

Both of these questions are about How I Work which I always think to be pretty irrelevant in as much as I always try to think in terms of how I can best serve the client. But, on reflection, I can see these things might be useful to know in advance, especially if you don’t know me at all. So here goes…

1. “Why do you only work on Skype and not offer clients face-to-face appointments?”

Nicola & JudithFrom the outset of my coaching business, I have always intended to be location independent. In fact, this morning, when I was chatting to my new client, I could have been anywhere in the world and he would not have known. Because his Skype connection was bad, I offered him my Skype-in number which is a UK (London) number, so he could have been phoning London but speaking to me on my desert island and been none the wiser, and that’s precisely how I want it to be. The client thus gets the same uniform experience of working with me wherever I am in the world and they are accustomed to that before I set off on my global travels.

I have frequently taken long periods of time overseas and I intend to continue to do that and I expect them to get longer. So there is no point in me making myself available to clients on a face-to-face basis because when I withdraw that, they might not like it. That’s the answer to that one.

judith3Also, it isn’t quite true to say that I do zero face-to-face work. I invite clients to my London home for summer parties and Cashflow games and the occasional chat (those ones are a bit like being summoned to the Head’s study!) and I have been known to speak at UK events too, so lots of my clients have met me before we decide to work together. If that is important to you, please ask.

2. “Why do you only do audio on Skype, not video?”

The short and, I like to think, rather amusing answer to this is because I look like shit on my web cam. So do you, by the way.

But there are several much more important – nay vital – answers to this:

  • 4Judiths_reasonably_smallVideo gobbles up bandwidth which means our Skype audio connection is likely to deteriorate. This would be a real problem for me, see next bullet point for why.
  • I don’t need or want to see you because I have been trained over the phone to deliver my coaching over the phone, which means I am really good at listening to what you say, what you don’t say, your breathing, your vocal tone and feeling the energy which comes through your voice or doesn’t. I really like audio and I am an expert in this medium.
  • Coaching is about giving you a damn good listening too. Pictures get in the way of that, for me. They are a distraction when I want to focus on listening to what you are saying. I do appreciate it may not be the same for you if you are a visual person. Tell me if that’s so please and we’ll talk it through.
  • If we were not in a coaching relationship and/or we were friends having a lovely social catch-up, or you were a member of my family and I was on my travels, then we would be swapping web cam pix, no question.

Judith aged 10Often new clients suggest that they think they would like to visit me the first time. I suggest they try an audio Skype session with an open mind and once they do, there’s no looking back.

If these answers sound like deal-breakers for you, then that’s OK. I am probably not the ideal coach for you and these criteria are just one of the ways in which you might make that decision. With all my own coaches – in Europe, USA, and Australia, I have only ever worked virtually with them on audio Skype and it’s always gone swimmingly. I have met the USA one but none of the others. Ca ne fait rien.

One of the things I love best about the internet is this ability to work with a global client base. More and more of those opportunities are turning up in my work and I am very grateful for that. This international thing is really fun. The world is just a great big onion.

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3 Responses to “How I Work: Two Surprise Questions from a New Client”

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  1. Judith Morgan says:

    Frank, you are welcome to pop in any time you are in South London. It would be lovely to see you again.
    I do need notice so email in advance when you know you are going to be in my neighbourhood please.
    Monday afternoons and Fridays best. Evenings usually quite good as long as not too late. x

  2. Frank Jurga says:

    Two schools of thought …

    Why would anyone volunteer for a 2 hour round trip which in reality can wipe out 5 hours by the time you stop for a snack on the way and generally procrastinate your time away. Get on with it – get to the roots of your issues efficiently – that’s why a mobile phone works for me. I can be in a shopping centre or big DIY store talking and picking stuff off shelves at the same time. I can be in my shed doing woodwork and still take a call – it’s such great access and saves a huge amount of time.

    Conversely, people adore you Judith and that attachment is boosted by getting to know you. I personally wish I could shoot up to Londinium on a regular basis to partake in a refreshing beverage (that’s a Sheldon from Big Bang Theory) with you. This is why face-to-face business networking works for quite a few number of people. I have met over 60 new people since April 2013 – every single one a referral – did business with 40 odd immediately and I will have ongoing work from most of the others starting after April this year. But then meeting new people is like a hobby to me and going to solving their problems or answering their issues is the reward I get for devoting myself in this way. I wonder how many new people I’ll meet this year?

  3. Margaret says:

    I frequently get clients who want me to use video on Skype. But in my work, if you are trying to look at a web site or something online while Skype video is running, you are frequently in for a very bad experience — which is hugely distracting, a waste of time. I’m with you on this, Judith. I’m also seeing an interesting correlation between people who insist on ONLY meeting face-to-face and the degree to which they are willing to do real work. Being physically present is not enough (as some seem to think) – there is a great deal of homework involved in making anything beautiful come to life, and people who are willing to use any medium to get it done are usually the ones who are the best fit for me.