Using Skype For Your Small Business
Recently I started using Skype as a meet and greet tool for new clients. I’m a talker, but I’m also visual so I like the face-to-face interaction. I can use my hands, gestures and facial expressions, and be more myself. Plus I feel like the conversation flows better and is more productive when you can see whom your talking to. So, I’m going to tell you a couple reasons why I like Skype, and a few tips to use it to benefit your business.
IT FORCES ME TO GET DRESSED
Queue eye roll. I know it is the curse of the pajama workforce. It’s easy to just roll out of bed, brush your teeth, grab your coffee, sit down at your computer and not even think twice about the fact that you haven’t changed your clothes in 24 hours. Scheduling Skype chats in the morning forces me to change, do something with my hair other than a messy bun and maybe put a little makeup on. Plus, what do they say? When you look good, you feel good.
YOU CAN SAVE YOURSELF HOURS OF EMAIL
This was probably the biggest reason I started using Skype. The ping-pong match of emails, back and forth, back and forth, it’s exhausting. Plus, many things get lost in text; tone, demeanor, language, etc. And have you ever tried looking for a specific email that was lost in a 20 long message string? Keyword search or no, it’s a waste of valuable time you could be spending on something else.
YOU GET TO MEET THE PERSON YOU’RE WORKING WITH
I love my job. I love working with people that are passionate about what they do. And I love learning about them and said passion. Speaking with someone face-to-face allows you to see what makes them light up, what they’re trying to accomplish through the design process, and ensures that you have similar personalities and work ethics. It’s easy to miss these important keys when you’re just communicating via email or convo.
Yes, the big one. Running a small business sometimes means running off of a small budget. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a freebie anytime I can get it. Plus it’s free for your clients, so they don’t have to jump through any hoops, or input their credit card number just to get a free trial, only to have to cancel it a week later.
Skype does offer business plans if you have a larger office with multiple employees, but if you’re an individually run studio, or only have one or two support staff, then there is no reason to fork over the cash just yet.
A FEW TIPS
- Be professional: Remember, even though you can show your personality, this is still a business conference. Remember your Ps & Qs, don’t interrupt, and dress the part, even if it’s from the waist up.
- Testing 1-2-3: Be sure to do a stage check before you start. Check your microphone, video camera and your background view. If others are around, ask them for a little quite time, you don’t need to have your cat jumping up on your laptop mid-sentence.
- Have all your information ready: About 15 minutes before my call, I like to sit down, go over all the correspondence so far, and make a few notes about questions I may have, or answers to questions the potential client may have. I like to pull up any pertinent websites, price sheets, and pen and paper handy to make notes.
- Be on time: Oh this is a serious pet peeve for me. I hate being late. One of the benefits of the tip above is you’re sitting at your computer 15 minutes early getting prepared. So now is a great time to open up the Skype app and be online and ready to make/receive your call on time. Don’t make your client wait.
- Listen: Seriously, you should only be doing about 25% of the talking. If this is a potential client, you should be listening to them. Hear their questions and concerns, and then let them know how you can solve their problems. Sprinkle in a little experience, and you’ll be cooking up a sale in no time.
- Follow up: After you have finished your chat, take the time to follow up with an email. I know I said that Skype will save you from having to do the back and forth emails, but this one is important. Just let them know you enjoyed speaking with them today, reiterate any major Q&As and make yourself available for any additional questions, concerns, or feedback. This lets them know you appreciate them taking the time to meet with you, face-to-face.
Learn more tips to run your small business with Freelancing 101.
So that’s my roundup. Do you use Skype for your small business? Has it helped? Do you have any additional tips for the creative community? Bring ‘em!