A standard sales funnel goes something like this:
- Find your ideal prospective client
- Hit them with the most irresistible, insightful cold email ever written
- Reconsider your approach to cold-mailing, sales, economy and life in general, as you send creative follow-ups and wait for a reply
- Get a reply
- Schedule a Skype call
A Skype call is, most of the time, where you’ll close most deals.
But we decided to do whatever we can to meet people in person instead of aiming for the Skype call. Here’s why.
We are a bunch of passionate humans who love to discuss business ideas and building great applications. We care about your product’s success and our craft. We love to brainstorm solutions. We can do that in a meeting better than in a quick intercontinental call between task two and four on your to-do list.
We know it’s always a risk to sign a contract for thousands coins with someone you’ve never met, who might as well be Skyping you from a basement in the middle of a savanna.
Nothing against savannas, they’re great, but having to hunt your lunch and dodging lions can really derail your weekly sprint.
Although of course you could argue that being chased by a beast makes you sprint faster…
#2 No technical glitches
We love you, Skype. But when you decide to have a stand-off with our system drivers, or when you suddenly cut off the connection, or when our voices suddenly get distorted on their way across the ether, that is cramping our style.
When you meet a prospective client in person, you don’t need to worry about technical glitches. You can focus on the conversation.
#3 Bigger commitment
Meeting in person is a bigger commitment than a Skype call and we’re willing to commit and even commute. Even abroad.
We made a decision a while ago that we’d travel to meet our clients. We catch up with people we usually only get to meet online. And when we meet a potential client and mention we’re already working with another company in the area, that will probably put them more at ease, knowing we’re not complete novices. They can call up that company and find out what it’s really like to work with us.
#4 Developers in the house
We believe in freedom to work remotely -- when it works for everyone.
But we work with many different dev teams and some of them need to meet regularly to communicate and discuss development direction.
Some of them have very hands-on approach to project management and they expect to see the developers with their own eyes to be sure everything is going as planned. Some just want to integrate the team better by bouncing ideas over lunch or by playing a game of fussball.
So our developers travel to clients, when it’s needed. They participate in weekly stand-up meetings, code reviews, and they’re available for the rest of the client’s company, for whatever they need to make sure they’re delivering the best product possible.
#5 Lasting impression
Quick, tell me one thing about two out of the companies that cold-mailed you in the last month.
Take your time.
As long as it’s quick.
Most salespeople ask for a Skype call. Mostly because cold emails are often sent to every corner of the world smiultaneously, to streamline the sales process.
But we don’t email-blast a whole database of random businesses. We pick every recipient based on a narrow list of criteria and we invest in traveling to meet those people in person, because we already know it will be a productive meeting.
Because we choose those meetings carefully and besides, meeting in person makes it really difficult to pretend you’ve done your research. So when you agree to a coffee with us, what you get is what you see. When we make a fool out of ourselves in front of someone who sits right across the table -- we can’t get out of it by pretending we lost the wi-fi signal. :) So we never ever come to a meeting unprepared.
#6 Putting a living face to an email
People simply remember things better if they happened in the “fleshspace.”
Just think how many times you had to re-read a paragraph in a history book to memorize what happened. But I bet you only had to live through any life event once to recall it, multiple times, at multiple occasions.
The same is true with remembering people. You “meet” tens of people online every day. The internet is designed to fit as much information as possible into every second. And our brains know this, so when online, we go into skimming mode by default to stay sane. But in non-virtual world, we can only “process” one person or experience at a time.
So no wonder we remember people better when we meet them in person. And remembering someone as a living human makes it easier to continue a working relationship with them.