Today 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?”
From 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.
Also, 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:
- Video 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.
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.