If you are like me, you went into freelancing with no previous sales experience. I had a small part-time job in college where I warm called students for the Admissions office, but other than that, I wasn't used to picking up the phone for work. As a freelancer, I realized that I couldn't avoid this forever. Ultimately, I had to get over my fear of being on the phone so that I could land bigger and better gigs. I've learned so much about client calls through my last few years as a freelancer. Today, I want to talk about five ways you might be hindering your client call process so you can avoid these mistakes and take client calls with confidence.
1. You Are Avoiding Making Client Calls
As an introvert, I used to hate making client calls, even if they were ultimately helpful. Typing back and forth via email is great, but a phone call can solve more issues than a week of emails. I think both emails and phone calls have merit. With emails, you always have a paper trail of what was said, but phone calls solve issues way quicker than emails ever will.
I feel like most people would be surprised by how painless most client calls are. Yes, you have some client calls that take forever and make you want to plug your ears and hang up the phone, but most client calls are the opposite. Most of my client calls have been with fellow introverts or ambiverts. Most of my client calls have been under 20 minutes. You won't be forced to chat forever. You'll find that many clients have things to do, and they don't want to be on the phone all day.
Are you still struggling with the thought of being on the phone? Check out my post with client call tips for introverts. Hopefully, you'll gain some insight that will help you be better at taking client calls (and maybe even enjoy them!)
2. You Are Not Creating Client Call Rituals
While I love client calls, I am always a nervous wreck before I hop on them. I don't think I'll ever be able to just jump on a call. We all have things that calm us down. You can't be your best self on client calls when you try to rip the bandaid off and go.
Instead, sit down to create a simple ritual you can follow before each client call begins. My routine is a mix of:
- Hyping myself up with fun upbeat music
- Checking out the client website one last time
- Looking over my rate and the information accessible on my website
- Going to the bathroom
- Making sure I have water to drink during the client call
I try to make the thirty minutes to an hour before my client call as relaxed and happy as possible.
You don't need to create a sink or swim relationship with client calls for them to work for you.
3. You Are Going Into Client Calls Without An Agenda
A few weeks ago, I had the worst client call I've ever had. We stayed on the phone forever with no end goal in mind. It was one of those “discovery” calls that just lasted way too long. Don't ask me why I stayed on the phone for an hour; it's something I never do. This call stepped on every business boundary I set for myself, so I didn't move forward with this client. This call sprung up on me. I didn't have time to create an agenda or get to know the client beforehand. Instead, I was thrust into a situation I didn't want to be in.
Agendas are mandatory.
Now, you don't need an official agenda to make this work. I usually don't have a thorough, formal, time-stamped schedule going into a call. Instead, I typically have a quick knowledge of how client calls start (usually an introduction of who I am and what the company is) followed by talking about what the company needs and how I can help. Having an agenda helps me take control of conversations, so I don't end up on hour-long calls that drain my energy.
4. You Don't Know The Next Steps You Need To Take To Close Client Calls
The client call is one step of a process that can sometimes be pretty arduous. After the call with a potential client, you need to close the client. Closing a client may mean sending over some more samples of your work, creating a project brief, doing a test assignment, or any number of things.
When you are on a call, you need to write down these next steps, so you remember them. Before you get off the phone, you need to confirm with your potential client what those next steps are. For example:
“So I am clear on my next steps, I need to send you a project brief and my rates for the project? What date do you need those by?”
This allows them to let you know any other last things they need from you, and it gives you a deadline on when to send those items to your potential client. Preferably you are prioritizing closing the client and sending items as soon as possible.
5. You Aren't Taking The Time To Learn From Each Client Call You Make
Next, you aren't taking time to learn from each client call you make.
This takes me back to my time in college. Some of my classmates used to complain that they were getting bad grades, but every time we received assignment scores, they shoved their papers into their backpack and hurried out the door. You have to examine every piece of feedback to grow.
Each client call you take is a chance to grow and become a better freelancer. Make sure you deconstruct each client call after you hang up the phone. What can you do to serve your clients better next time?
Bonus: You Aren't Using My New Journal Client Calls Simplified
Let's talk about my new journal: Client Calls Simplified. My journal helps you make better client call decisions by being your companion on every call you make.
The journal starts by helping you establish what you are looking for in a client and what your rituals are. Next, I give you space for fifty client calls in the journal. On one side of a two-page spread, you have space to write out your agenda, notes, and next steps. On the other side, you have room to decompress on the call you just had so you understand client fit, and you can learn from the call.
If you have my journal by your side, you will feel more excited to tackle client calls, even if you are an introvert. I've used these pages in my own business, and I love how it simplified the experience for me. I want you all to have the same feeling in your business. Use the links to purchase the journal on Amazon. It's $18 and available for Prime shipping.
Taking client calls doesn't have to be a challenge. Client calls help us build our business and introduce us to amazing people in our industry. When we approach client calls from a place of excitement, we can begin to have so much more fun on calls. I hope this article gave you some insight into client calls and why they are essential for your business.