Since the first lockdown began in March 2020, the whole world has flocked to using video calls as part of their day to day life, and the one we hear most about is Zoom.
Video conferencing is now a big part of our lives, and is likely to continue to have an important role in work and life as lockdown continues, and even after restrictions begin to be eased.
Now is the time to embrace the technology in your professional life too. Whether it’s for keeping in touch with old clients or meeting new customers to discuss potential jobs, opting for free Zoom can be a great way to minimise unnecessary contact.
Here are a few reasons why, and some tips on how you can make the most of it.
It’s free and easy to use
One of Zoom’s main selling points is that it offers a free, 40 minute call.
There’s no need to set up an account. Once you’ve sent a link to a meeting, the other person simply needs to click it, pause only the first time to install the software, and join. Once you’re in the meeting there’s not much else to worry about - you can focus on the job at hand.
When you can see the person you are speaking to it’s much easier to understand them and build rapport. This works both ways, your client will be better able to get a sense of what you can offer them too.
After all, it’s not just what we say that creates an impression of ourselves. Factors such as facial expressions, posture and hand gestures all contribute to building a relationship with clients.
You can appear professional
You already know how to talk to your clients, whether it be old contacts you’ve worked with for years or potential new customers. All the skills you’ve learned, still apply. The challenge is bringing them into this new platform.
Think about your background. Is everything visible behind you tidy and professional?
Take the time to acquaint yourself with the technology. Practice by connecting to a meeting with a friend or family member and go through the features to avoid any bumps when you are on the actual call.
Connect a couple of minutes early to ensure everything is working as it should be and your internet connection is strong.
Eliminate any distractions. You probably don’t want to be upstaged by your child or pet crashing your meeting, so ensure you’ve prepared and everyone in your house knows what you are doing.
Avoid multitasking. Even typing notes can be distracting and imply you are not fully engaged in the conversation. Give your client your full attention.
You can share screens
One particularly useful feature for talking to clients about an upcoming job is the ability to share screens. With this, your client can instantly show images of the area that you will be working on, as well as inspirational images they’ve found that will explain the look they are going for. You will both be able to talk through this in real time to arrive at a consensus.
Likewise you are able to use the feature to share images with the client, such as previous jobs you’ve worked on. This will help reassure the client that you are experienced and the right person for the job.
Never take notes again
When meeting with people through video, and your client starts explaining the job your first thought might be, “I need to start taking notes. Why can’t I just use email?” With the record screen function, there’s no need - click the record button and the whole conversation will be converted into an MP4 you can save on your computer and come back to later on when you’re planning for the job.
Alternatives to Zoom
Of course, it doesn’t need to be just Zoom. There are many other free alternative platforms which all offer the same functionality. These include Skype, Google Meet and Facebook Messenger Video Chat. When suggesting a video chat, it’s important to accommodate your clients preferences, it's a good idea to be familiar with a few options and prepare to be flexible.