Client calls aren’t as daunting as you think. In fact, there are many benefits, and by implementing some basic tips you will be more confident on your first (or next) client call. Read on to learn more…

“Client calls make me feel anxious.”

“I don’t even know what to say.”

“What happens if I don’t pull it off properly?”

“Will I understand what the client says?”

“Will he even get my accent?”

These are some of the comments and questions I’ve seen people make to justify why they won’t and don’t get on calls.

I can relate to this because I was also scared of getting on calls at the start of my writing career. After all, I had never done it before. It was new. It was daunting. It was scary. AND it made me feel anxious.

Client Calls Aren’t As Scary as You Think

But you know what? Since having that first client call, I only got better, and better, and better. And that’s the thing, as with anything new in life – whether it’s playing a musical instrument for the first time, speaking in front of a group of people, or even learning to ride a bike – YOU only get better by doing.

Just think about it for a second: When you started riding a bike, you were never any good at it. In fact, you likely sucked and fell many times but, each time you got back on that bike, you became just a little more comfortable and rode farther each time.

Then, one day something clicked: You started riding. Each time after that you became an even more confident rider. At some point, you probably even started experimenting by riding without hands.

Though riding a bike is different from having a conversation with a client, that fear you feel before is the same. It’s the fear of something you’ve never done before; the fear of the unknown.

But, when you tackle that fear, you realise that getting on calls isn’t nearly as daunting as you thought it was. Hell, you’ll probably look back and think: Why was I even scared?

The Benefits of Client Calls

In fact, as you tackle more calls, you realise just how powerful they are. They help you:

1. Learn more about a client, their business, and their problems. You’ll be in a better position to deliver a solution they want.

2. Qualify clients. After all, some clients aren’t a fit. Maybe they want you to get backlinks for them in an unethical manner, by asking you to write a guest post on [insert major publication] and insert a link to their site.

3. Identify red flags. If a client, for example, bad mouths other freelancers, it should immediately set off alarm bells.

4. Close more deals. Chatting over Skype, telephone or even Google Hangouts, allows you to better connect with a prospect which assists in closing more deals than email ever can. Sure quantifying its effectiveness is difficult, but client calls build greater trust. Admittedly, face-to-face meetings are ideal, but often this isn’t always possible (especially if prospects live in another country).

How to Remain Confident on Calls

Right now you’re probably thinking: “Okay, Nick, I accept that I should embrace client calls instead of fearing them. But do you – at least – have some tips that will help me feel comfortable one those calls?”

I’m glad you asked. Here are 10 tips you can use to nail your next client call.

Tip 1: Research Your Prospects and Prepare Ideas

Prepare for the call by visiting the prospect’s website and coming up with at least three ideas. An excellent place to start is to browse their blog and see what content they publish.

From that, you could prepare ideas for new blog posts or even content types (infographics, case studies or even interviews). Keep your client’s website open during the call so you can refer to it when needed.

Tip 2: Research Competitors

Review a few competitors’ sites and ask the client how they feel about the competitor’s branding, messaging, copy, and content.

This will often lead to an “I don’t like that” or ‘I wish we were more like that” moment which gives you great insight into your client.

Tip 3: Start by Thanking Clients

Start the call by thanking them for their time and asking “How are you?” This will lead to some chit-chat that will reduce your nerves.

The time just before the call is often the most nerve-wracking, but once you get going, it becomes easier.

Tip 4: Remind Clients Why You’re Having The Call

It pays to remind prospects how this call came about as it grabs their attention. For example, if you sent a cold-pitch to Jane at Company X, and Jane referred you to John, mention it.

Tip 5: Ask Them About Their Business

The call is always about your prospect, so focus on them. Ask questions about their business and challenges and look for information you can feedback to them.

You could, for example, ask a simple question like “What are your biggest content challenges right now?”

Clients may tell you they don’t have a big enough in-house team to create enough content or that they’re struggling to get traffic to their site. Whatever their challenge, it is your goal to see if and how your services can help them.

If you offer blogging services, you can mention how keyword optimised blog posts, combined with blogger outreach and promotion will help drive traffic.

Also, remember that sometimes the services you provide will not be a fit for what they want. So, don’t be afraid to be honest about that as they’ll respect you more.

Recently, for example, a client asked me whether I help companies get featured in major publications.  I told them that this is not a service I provide. I’d much rather be honest and lose the sale than say “Yes I can make that work”, only to suffer the consequences of having an unhappy client later on.

Tip 6: Listen to Sell More

A recent interview that Nick Usborne (a master of conversational copywriting) did with Shane Gibson (an expert on social selling) highlights how people who listen more, sell more.

According to Shane “Salespeople who generate bi-directional dialogue with customers and keep their own talking to less than 50% of the time on a call consistently outperform those that talk more than 50%.”

So, listen to your client and don’t interrupt them, and you may just find that you sell more. Ultimately, it’s all about them and the more you listen, the better you’ll get at understanding their problem and the solution that will fix it. 

Listening also has many other added benefits:

  • You don’t have to talk as much on the call. So if the idea of talking still has you anxious, know that you don’t have to do nearly as much of it, as you think).
  • You’ll also give the client the impression that you’re a good listener and that you’re focused on them and their problems. Unfortunately, many people still suffer from the “I”, “I”, “I” syndrome. Clients don’t care about you. They only care about their problems.

Tip 7: Speak Slowly

By speaking slowly, you ensure that your prospects understand what you’re saying.

I have a South African accent and have often been told to speak slower because to the untrained ear, my accent isn’t always easy to understand.

Obviously, You. Don’t. Want. To. Speak. Too. Slowly. Otherwise. Prospects. Will. Get. Bored. By. Your. Monotonous. Tone.

Tip 8: Ask About Their Experience Working with Other Freelancers

This will give you a good idea how clients feel about working with freelancers – and in turn -, you.

If they speak fondly of working with other freelancers, and show that they value those freelancers’ work, the chances are higher that they’ll value you and treat you well.

You can tie this question into one about what they look for when working with other freelance writers. This will help you give prospects what they want from the start.

Tip 9: Ask About Upcoming Projects

By establishing what future projects they have in the pipeline, you’ll get an idea of the potential amount of work the client could give you. This question leads nicely into the final one.

Tip 10: End the Call by Asking “Where to from Now?”

This question gets them to think about what next. If you get clients to propose the next steps, they’ll be more invested in the process of working together and more inclined to follow through and hire you.

If the client is unsure about the next steps, it is up to you to propose some. You could, for example, say, that “Given your challenges, I’ll put together a proposal, outlining different solutions to solve them.”

Conclusion

Client calls may seem daunting, but they aren’t nearly as tricky as you think. In fact, there are many benefits to getting on a call: You learn more about your prospect and their challenges and can better qualify them, identify red flags and close more deals.

And, by implementing these 10 tips, you’ll become that much more confident on each client call you do. Ultimately, though, you only get better through practise. So, do more client calls, and watch your confidence soar.

So, are you ready to tackle your next client call?

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