When trying to win over international clients, it’s important that you meet with them in the way that suits them best. One business owner shares his tips for liaising with clients from the US.
In order to make a good first impression, business owners need to work with their clients in a way that allows for the most amount of comfort.
According to Scott Bradley, partner at Rotor Studios, while it is important to meet with clients face-to-face, the bulk of the communication from international clients is preferred to go through conference calls.
“We have someone who represents us in south-east Asia; … they will often do the face-to-face, but actually the bulk of the work will be done with conference calls,” Scott says.
“You look at the US. They're not like Australia. The entire population doesn't live along one coast.”
Scott says that even when advertising had not entered into the online space, because clients would be in one place, the advertising agency would be in another place and the production company would be based in a third place, and the best way to maintain a constant conversation as through conference calls; something Scott was not used to at the time.
“When we started in Rotor doing a lot of overseas work, and this would be going back seven or eight years ago, I have to say it was a little bit unusual for us,” Scott says.
“We were very much used to having lots of face-to-face meetings.”
The turning point for Scott to utilise conference calls was his first big US-based project, where he decided to incorporate a family holiday around meeting with clients.
“‘I'm going to take the family over there and I'm going to be available for all these meetings ... because this is a great opportunity for us’,” recounts Scott.
“Helen and the kids go to Disneyland and I take the first meeting and I made them, which was great. Then I go, ‘So shall I come in for the next meeting?’ They said, ‘No, no, just phone in.’”
Because of the culture of conference calls being so strong in the US, Scott says, despite being only 10 kilometres away, his US clients would have preferred to have him on a conference call because it avoided any hassles with having Scott making his way to their office and through security.
By taking up conference calling from his international clients, Scott started using it back home and found it would be much more efficient than face-to-face meetings, cutting back on travel cost and time.
Today, not only does Rotor Studios and Scott utilise conference calls, but also the internet, showing clients work via file transfers.
“When we send work in progress it is entirely natural for us that we will send it off in a file transfer,” Scott says.
“They'll open it, mull it over, have a look at it, get on the phone when they're ready to have a chat or send us a quick email. It's very much a workflow that we're very comfortable with and all the clients that we work with.”