6 responses to “Dear WordCount: Can I avoid in-person meetings with clients?”

  1. Greg Scheiderer

    Mostly good advice. It feels like bad form to bill for an initial meeting, though if it involves lengthy travel, especially overnight, perhaps in can be negotiated in advance that the prospective client cover some or all of that cost. Personally, though, I’d eat it as cost of marketing.

    Face-to-face meetings can have their value, but often a quick phone check-in is all that’s needed.

    As for interviews for articles, I greatly prefer to do them in person if at all possible, though do phoners if logistics don’t work out or if the cost of travel would eat up much of the fee for the article.

    I’m a regular follower of the blog; keep up the good work!

  2. Lynne

    I agree that billing for an initial meeting isn’t right — that’s part of the cost of doing business, in my opinion. I find in-person meetings largely pointless. There tends to be a lot of small talk, futzing around, interruptions, fruitless office tours, eating and ordering lunch or coffee, etc. So my first step is always, always to request a phone call first. If business isn’t accomplished during that call, then I’ll concede to an in-person meeting, but I bill for my time spent getting to and from the meeting as well as time spent in the meeting. My time is just as valuable as theirs.

  3. Susan Weiner, CFA

    Good advice, Michelle! I have local clients whom I haven’t met after multiple years of work for them. After awhile, I try to schedule a meeting when I’m in town. However, most of my clients are out of town, so we’re always on the phone or email.

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