I've been working remotely for the past seven or eight years. In fact, the majority of my working life has been working from home - whether that's in Victoria, Montreal, Vancouver, France or Spain. Last week, I received a phone call from a prospective client in my hometown, Victoria.
"Is it possible that we can have a meeting in person?", she asked.
I was excited at the idea of switching up my routine but I instinctively gave my usual response.
"I don't usually meet in person because I find that organizing a project online works well and saves time."
She insisted that her and the owner of the company would prefer meeting me. I was glad to set up a time. I think it had been three or four years since I've met a client in person and I was happy to take some time out of my day.
As I expected, during the meeting, we didn't really get much done or decided regarding the project. There was about an hour and a half of talking. But what did we really achieve that we couldn't have done over a couple of emails or Basecamp messages? Was this just an old school business thing that we have to do?
And then it occurred to me afterwards: There's something about meeting somebody in person to get a sense of who they are and how they think that you just can't get over email or a phone call. For them, they could see if I was a person who was serious about my work and would be in it for the long term or if I was just a web developer on the weekend who will disappear in six months. And for me, I could I get a sense of where they are in their business and where they want to take it.
I'm happy to say that we signed that client the following day. I can't say that meeting them in person was the sole reason they decided to work with us but it was definitely a factor.
When was the last time you met a client in person?