For freelancers, most business contact happens over email. Controlling your career from your laptop is freeing, but relying on technology makes us less comfortable with traditional approaches to business – like handling client phone calls.
Client phone calls used to be the only way to pitch to clients remotely, but it worked for a reason. A friendly voice goes a long way in customer service!
Once you know the right questions to ask, client phone calls come naturally. Connecting with them on a personal level while asking professional questions is the key.
Skype is a great option for contacting potential clients, but screen share and presentation slides can be distracting. Going with a phone call helps you connect as quickly and directly as possible with clients!
Not every situation is perfecting for landing the project using a client phone call, however…
The Best Situations for Client Phone Calls
While creating automated systems is important to the freelance mindset, automated response emails aren't always the best option for landing high-quality clients.
If a client is asking about your services, they're interested in you! The best thing you can do is set up a client phone call and give them the personalized service they're looking for.
After all, phone calls are a quick and genuine way to connect with a client. They also avoid any robotic vibes than an automated email might have.
If the new client approaching you is interested in a more detailed proposal, client phone calls are still best for the first contact. A 10-minute phone call can bring a lot of keywords and problems to light, which you can later use to write a successful proposal.
6 Steps to Making Client Phone Calls
Whenever your time allows you to, go to a client phone call for the first contact. Show your confidence and efficiency to new clients right away!
Side note: prospect phone calls are not the same as cold calls. Take these steps on phone calls to clients who’ve made the first step to ask about your services.
1. Greet them genuinely.
It has become normal to ask, “How are you?” without expecting a response other than, “Fine, and you?” You’ll have to do better than that!
Use a warm approach to set a friendly yet genuine tone that’ll carry on into your professional relationship – making client relationships more easygoing.
If you start the conversation off by being nice and sociable, your client will feel relaxed enough to open up to you and things will flow naturally.
After the small talk comes to a close, pop this question: “So, what can I help you with?”
Once your client begins describing their business needs, your job is to listen.
I'm emphasizing listening because we often don’t listen with the intention of remembering. However, client phone calls are rife with information that’ll help you do an amazing job and submit a killer proposal.
As you listen to your client describing their situation, keep a pen and paper handy to write down keywords and other important details. This will help you write a killer proposal after the call!
Don’t interrupt with your ideas or past experiences. There’ll be time for you to show off later!
Listening intently is the key to getting your client to give you as many details as possible.
3. Double-check your understanding.
After you’ve listened, you'll want to double-check your understanding. Sometimes, clients may think they’re familiar with a term, but it may not be the best approach for their particular situation.
Paraphrase, using your notes, what the client is looking for. Ask if you’ve summarized their situation accurately.
Your client will feel like you’ve truly understood their business needs, which gives them confidence in your skill level as a freelancer. It also establishes a clear line of communication between client and freelancer!
4. Offer your professional advice – all of it.
Once you've understood their problem, assure them that they're talking to the right person. This is the perfect place in the conversation to level with your customer, give them a bit of free advice, and try to show them you're interested in helping them.
Give your best professional advice on how you’d go about fixing their situation or accomplishing their goal.
Offer all the advice you can, even if some of the tips don’t relate to the services you offer.
Clients will see the value in your professional advice before you get a chance to pitch your services communicate your freelance value. Helpful attitudes build trust (and create repeat clients).
5. Pitch your services.
Now you can turn the conversation towards a client pitch. It'll come more naturally than you think now that you've approached them on a personal level.
This part of the conversation serves as a rough outline of your future contract or proposal, so it’s very important to get specific.
When bringing up your individual services, make connections between your past experiences and their project.
If you’ve measured the results of your work, use that to back up the success of your services, too.
6. Close the call and send a proposal.
Once you’ve summarized which of your services would work best for your client, it’s time to close the call.
Thank the client for letting you get to know their business. Tell them that you’re looking forward to creating a business plan and getting started with the work.
Let them know you'll be sending over a detailed proposal within 24 hours.
If they ask about pricing, tell them that you’ll need to map your proposal out to see the scope of the work first. You’ll be back to them shortly and you’ll answer any questions about pricing then. You don't want to trap yourself into a quoted price without calculating the price of your work, first.
Now, get started on a proposal – which later serves s a contract between you and the client you just landed via phone call! 🏅
Do you have any other client phone call tips? Drop them in the comments!
Want more helpful freelance tips? Join our FTN Facebook Group, where our 2,000+ members share amazing gigs, ask for expert advice, and make connections with digital nomads all over the world!