I had a prospective client contact me recently as she was seeking someone local she could meet face-to-face to do her work. She’d been using a VA but struggled with the remote aspect of working together and asked for some tips. This is what I told her:
Communication is the key. I have a client who’s been with me for over 11 years. Every Monday we have a phone meeting, but sometimes we use Skype, and we discuss the task list she’s sent me for that week. I do around 15 hours a week of work for her, maintaining her database, her website, sending out broadcast emails, managing surveys, responding to client enquiries (via email), article submissions, research, Powerpoint presentations and so on.
All entirely online. We do meet face to face occasionally – when we attend the same networking events but it hasn’t been necessary for us to meet face-to-face for me to do work for her for the main part.
Another client of mine is an Opera Singer and Business Coach in the US – we’ve never met. But I maintain her blog, do research for her, update her website and give her advice on things of the web. We’ve never spoken on the phone either. I have other clients in my state, some of whom I’ve never met or may have had initial discussions via phone.
Most of my client contact is entirely via email with the occasional phone call or fax – fax is good for marked up changes when something can be printed off and sent to me.
I gave her the option of speaking to someone local whom I didn’t have much knowledge of or someone from my team. She chose the former but did admit that the information I gave her was useful and that she is working with a VA on another project.
As VAs it is important for us to continue to educate prospective clients. We might not always win them over the first time but if we continue to furnish them with useful information, when the time is right, they will come back – even if it’s just to ask more questions before taking that step of using our services.
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.