Should we meet by phone, online or over coffee?

by Cedric Lonell Haynes of Strong Beach Media

When I first started my multimedia business Strong Beach Media, converting leads into actual projects, I would follow a simplified checklist. Usually a questionnaire would be emailed to the lead.

I would direct the person to my website online and in particular the page where they could fill out the same questionnaire or at the very least, fill in a small contact form so we could continue the conversation sometime in the near future.

But what about the technically challenged? What about the person that does not have access to a computer, email, etc.? I found out early on that every potential client is not going to be aware of the latest tech. There lies the problem that many business owners face.

How do I reach those people? After the initial meeting, before discussing solutions, I knew I would have to meet with them in order to move forward with any business dealings.

Well, this method of getting to know them and their level of technical knowledge could be summed up from their answer to a very simple question.

“Should we meet by phone, online or over coffee?”

Responses vary:

Email? What is email? Online? Are you talking about meeting on a computer? How does that work? or the dismissive “I don’t know too much about that stuff…”

I would start by researching their particular field of expertise, review their current business model, test their social media presence, test their communication platforms all this before or during the actual interview of the potential client.

This made it quick and easy to reveal how my business could help their organization. Starting with our first official business meeting, I would break the ice with a 30- second “elevator pitch” about myself and my business. Then, I would promptly show where gaps and inconsistencies could hurt their business or organization’s mission.

Usually, this was done over coffee, but if I or the client were unable to meet in person, I would set up a video chat online and ask a series of general business questions while also having the ability to share my computer’s display simultaneously.

This method has worked for the majority of my consulting projects. No matter if the project involves audio recording, video production, website design or logo creation, my initial meeting methods have remained unchanged for the most part.

Lately, my clientele base has consisted mostly of people in their early 50’s to mid 60’s (baby boomers) with minimal to no internet presence.

Frankly speaking, I can completely understand why! The internet is a very powerful tool that can be quite intimidating to those of us who don’t participate in social media or internet meetings regularly.

Someone being shown examples of its potential may become overwhelmed with the complexity of it all. When a tool is both useful and harmful, it is often described as being “a double-edged sword” or being able to “cut both ways.”

I use the internet on a daily basis for both business and pleasure anyway so it’s a common occurrence for me to meet people and show them how to set up their computers to be video or audio chat ready.

If you plan on becoming a multimedia consultant or similar title you can bet that you will run into the type of clients that:

-never have used a computer before or email and doesn’t know where to begin the process

-used a computer before but used it such a long time ago that today’s computer technology is just too complicated for them to figure out without assistance

-are aware of the technology but someone else has always done the computer work for them so they are just clueless and uninformed

-don’t have the slightest idea about how to email media files and other documents, share files using cloud data storage, or even common tasks like sending and receiving files.

-never knew how an online presence can actually be beneficial to their business bottom line. (profitable)

So what does all of this mean? How does one become technically savvy without going through multiple years of training and daily computer use?

Unfortunately, there is no fast track to knowing all there is to know about technology, computers and networking. You can’t “plug in” like Neo from the “The Matrix” and all of a sudden you know how everything works! Impossible.

That’s where people like me can help people who are technically disconnected become more up to speed with internet tools. If Multimedia is the language, than I speak it FLUENTLY. I am immersed in it whether for business or for pleasure. I could be searching for images to use for a client’s logo one moment, or having conversations in a video chat with several people at once while sharing my computer’s display the next moment.

I could be up late watching videos of different species of saltwater fish in their natural habitats or researching cooking recipes that include Teriyaki as a flavor base. My point is, I use my computers and other mobile devices extensively.

My client base is usually the polar opposite, not too technically aware of concepts such as file sharing, and may at the very minimum have a Yahoo, AOL or SBC Global email from years ago that they barely use.

That’s ok. Different strokes for different folks. I’m quite aware that there are people who operate businesses for years without a social media presence, a personal or company website or even an email address.

Those who do not have regular access to a computer and/or email, I present them with mostly free or at least some reasonably priced near free options.

So, if you find yourself to be one of the people in the examples mentioned above,

I can help get you pointed in the right direction.

Visit my website , like my Facebook page or check out my About Me page.

I always like to give something of value to my visitors so here it is:

Click here for 5 Free Resources Small Business Owners Should Know

If the link does not work you can copy and paste the text below:

You do know how to copy/paste…


We have some homework to do…


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