All about my Intro Call

As part of my new client process, I try to have an Intro Call with potential clients.

This call serves a few purposes for both myself and my client. If you've heard me mention it before and wanted to know more about it, this is the right place to be.

Getting to know you...

The first reason for my Intro Call is for us to get to know each other better. Being a solo consultant, I only work with people I enjoy working with.

It makes sense, too. When we enjoy working together, we have more energy, we are more innovative, and we are able to communicate easier.

There's no reason why you wouldn't want to know someone before working with them.

Find out about your project in more depth

The second reason, and a more practical one, is so that I can learn more about your project or the situation you're in. Think of it as an information gathering exercise.

We've probably gone back and forth a bit over email before this point, but talking about a project can be far more valuable than just email. This is because voice is more dynamic than text, and there is a lot more information you can pick up from it.

Take this example for instance: same words, but completely different underlying tones and emotions (you'll want to read these out loud or in your head and emphasize the bold word).

"What are you doing now?"

"What are you doing now?"

"What are you doing now?"

Email can't do this, and when it does, it's often confusing.

Expert advice

During the entire Intro Call, I'm trying to provide you with some value. In such a short session and with limited information, this can only happen in the form of quick recommendations.

We can dig into something more detailed later on, but during the Intro Call I'm looking to solve a small problem, or at least point you in the right direction.

With software development this can be difficult though. There are so many moving parts and such complexity that one recommendation might work in one situation but not in another.

I had a recent call with a client who needed a SaaS application built for non-technical people. Both the administrators and users are non-technical, and there isn't an IT staff to maintain the application servers.

Normally I recommend a VPS server or VPS cluster to my clients, but in this case a Platform as a Service (PaaS) like Heroku or a managed host made sense. They have pay a lot more for hosting but it would be an easy way to make sure the application was successful, without hiring any additional people to support it.

In a normal call, you'll get two to three of these recommendations, or maybe one large one that encompasses a significant portion of your project (e.g. a launch sequence).

The Fit

The final and most important reason for the into call is to find the fit.

Basically, are we meshing well? Is communication flowing easily? Can we collaborate together?

Just like getting to know you (#1), this is to make sure the project starts off with its best foot forward.

Unlike getting to know you though, finding a fit goes deeper. We might get to know each other but due to any number of reasons there may not be a fit between us.

The cause might not even be us personally. Maybe I am not available when you need it, your chosen technology might not be one of my strengths, or maybe this is too early to start and you just wanted to build a relationship.

Whatever the reason, I want to make sure the fit is explored. Having a perfect "yes, we fit" isn't as important to me as having a "I think there is a fit here" - sometimes it takes time before we know for sure.

Those are the reasons why I try to have an Intro Call with all my clients before signing a contract. Sometimes the Intro Call is skipped, especially if they're already a client or if these reasons have been fulfilled by other means of communication.

If you have a software project or are in a tricky situation and need help, I'd be happy to chat. Contact me and I'll schedule an Intro Call with you.

Or if you'd like to learn more about working with me first, I have a short introduction email course for you.

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