Published on the WNA website.Thanks Robyn Henderson for this article.

In the perfect world, if all our clients and prospects lived within a five kilometre radius of each other, it would be great – we could visit and service them face to face regularly and grow our business in minimal time.

Reality is – most businesses have clients and prospects scattered way beyond the five kilometre mark. State wide, national and international clients pepper our client base.

So what are our options in today’s busy world to connect and stay connected?

1.Skype: A brilliant invention – low cost/no cost ways of staying connected in a face to face medium and I find it a great tool for staying connected with interstate and international connections as well as interstate and national connections.

2. Face to Face: This is the way that we are used to connecting and for some business owners – it’s this way or nothing. Yet I see this as a very limiting practice. And would encourage them to reconsider this potential time sapper (due to travelling to the meeting place, parking costs, etc.) and consider other options:

Hands Free Phone Calls: Although there are occasional black spots where the phones drop out – I find setting up phone meetings a valuable investment of time, particularly when I am going to be driving for an hour or more and when the person has many questions e.g. “I want to become a professional speaker” or “I am writing my non fiction book and I am stuck, help” Often these people just need a sounding board. My rule of thumb here is that the person asking the question and seeking your knowledge pays for the call. This would apply to a general enquiry, not a client or prospect situation.

Tele-Coffees: Tele-coffees are a great way to commit to undivided attention from two people needing to have a conversation about a specific topic/s. This also works really well for people who are managing virtual teams. In this email era, it is very easy to “cc” the world with a long email – and there is often serious room for error with someone’s understanding of an email. Tele-coffees are arranging an informal meeting over the phone at a set time, with coffee/tea or water in hand, and a set agenda with a specific time frame. e.g. “let’s have a tele-coffee next Tuesday – would 10.15 a.m. suit you. You grab a coffee I will phone you at 10.15 a.m. and I will email you the couple of points I would like to cover. I imagine 15 minutes maximum should be sufficient.” And if by chance the other party is not available at 10.15 a.m. send a voice message or text and offer to reschedule the tele-coffee. Personally I find these really effective and for those contacts, who I speak to regularly, I will often say, let’s put it on the tele-coffee list. And at that pre-arranged 15 minute mark, I always check in that it is okay to extend the time. And if not, reschedule another time.

Depending on the circumstances I believe all of these options serve a purpose. It’s up to you to identify the best method for connecting depending on the outcomes you’re wanting to achieve. And of course there are video conferences, teleconferences, twitter etc.

At the end of the day, your client’s preferred way of connecting must be considered and hopefully together you can create effective, productive and time efficient connections.


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