A client finally responded. Now what!? The top 5 questions that will help you KILL your next client discovery call!Jun 24, 2021
Seeing that a client has finally responded to one of your cold-pitch messages can be EUPHORIC. However, for most new freelancers, that excitement quickly turns to SH**! What do I say now?
Why do we need to get on client calls in the first place?
You can call them client calls, discovery calls, or exploration calls, but it just means speaking with a potential client (usually via video call) about working together.
Introverts: the minute a client discovery call is no longer necessary, I will be the first to tell you! But for now, accept that speaking to a client will MASSIVELY increase your chances of landing them. When we're planning on spending thousands, we want to know, like, and trust the person we'll be handing over money to.
In freelance writing specifically, there's a good deal of collaboration involved (exchanging feedback, editing, strategy, etc.) which means they want to know who they'll be working with.
Don’t worry—you won’t have to be salesy!
Here’s the GREAT news for my fellow writers who CRINGE at the thought of selling. This call does NOT have to be salesy! In fact, you want to avoid the “me, me, me!” and keep the conversation focused on the CLIENT and their needs.
This is an enormous relief for writers because we're naturally curious- we want to learn about, understand, and inquire about other people. So now is the perfect time for you to showcase that trait.
Despite how awesome it would be to just not speak on this call, you will be asked about your background, so you MUST have an elevator pitch just like a job interview. An elevator pitch is a summary of your work experience as it pertains to the client's objectives.
Your questions are your chance to impress clients. Prepare your questions in advance and bring them with you to the meeting. It's okay to look at your notes while you speak. Let’s dive in!
Question #1: Can you tell me about your current content strategy and goals?
Clients will respond to this question by giving you the lay of the land. They might tell you about the history of the company and themselves. It's important to ask them what writing initiatives they've taken on in the past and what they intend to do in the future.
In this section of the conversation, you should get a better sense of the type of assignments you'll be working on and how your work fits into the company’s overall content strategy.
An excellent add-on question is: “What do you hope to achieve with your content? What’s the end goal?” This shows that you’re performance-driven and that you’re not just some writer—you’re someone who will help them achieve their goals!
Question #2: How is your marketing/editorial team structured?
Here's another lay of the land question. Essentially, you're asking, "who does what?"In most cases, they'll explain how big their team is, how many writers they have, which team members are responsible for which tasks, and who you'll be communicating with.
The answer to this question gives you valuable insight into a company's capacity and budget. By asking about their department within the larger scope of their organization, you demonstrate an interest in their organization.
Question #3: Start dates, deadlines, workload, forms of communication.
Here you can get the logistical information. You'll learn about deadlines, turnaround times, and revision rounds. How will they communicate with you? Email, phone, or instant messenger?
Unlike the beginning of the call, where they may have spoken about their writing needs at a higher high level, this is where they tell you the specifics of what you will need to write and what the due date is.
Question #4: Have you worked with freelance copywriters before?
This gives you a good sense of what it will be like to work with them. Whether they've worked with contractors before is important to know! Those who have never worked with freelancers before and don't know their processes may appear messy and disorganized.
Having an understanding of their inexperience will keep you from taking their messiness personally. If they have hired freelancers before, ask them what they were happy with and what they weren’t happy with. You can then avoid potential pitfalls and figure out how to satisfy the client.
Question #5: What are the next steps?
Asking about the next steps signals that the call is coming to a close. Now you should have a clear understanding of what they're looking for and how you can contribute to the project.
Steal this line and change it to fit your personality as your "next steps" question:
“This all seems great. I love what you’re doing at XYZ Inc. How would you like to move forward?”
This question means, "If you think we are a good fit, how would you like to get started?" If you ask them what steps they would like to take, they usually launch into explaining their process, which probably consists of submitting additional portfolios or completing test projects.
A hiring decision probably won't be made during this call, but you may receive a verbal offer!
The bottom line on KILLING your next client call.
When all else fails, ask questions. Calling clients can be extremely nerve-wracking, so please know it's okay if you mess up or make mistakes. People hate talking on the phone and speaking in person today, so it's likely that they're dreading this call, too!
However, it is almost impossible to mess up an interview if you prepare the right questions. And if you do screw it up? Remember, it's just a numbers game! Eventually, you'll be able to connect with the right clients, and these calls will become a breeze.
You’re more than capable. You got this!