Five client call confidence tips to land freelance copywriting clientsJul 13, 2021
Wondering how to confidently pitch clients when you have no copywriting experience?
Maybe you wish you had more work to show in your portfolio or more testimonials from notable clients.
You probably think that once you have these things, you'll gain confidence, right?
This is the trap that we all fall into. We think that only when we accomplish *that thing* will we feel "ready." Well, we don’t have to wait until we have writing experience to exude confidence.
I’m going to share mindset tips to FEEL and BE confident on your next client call.
Why confidence and mindset are so crucial on calls
As you may already know, I was in sales for years before becoming a copywriter. I started out selling on the phone and eventually made my way up to selling face to face.
My time in sales taught me a lot about persuading and exuding confidence, even though I was anything but!
Confidence is so important because it puts the client's mind at ease. When they're interviewing you, the questions on their mind are:
- Am I going to make a mistake, hiring this person?
- Are they really going to be able to do what they say they can?
- Will I look bad to my boss if I hire the wrong person?
When you meet with your client, your goal is to let them know that you can handle the job. It's not about being phony, or braggadocious, or arrogant.
As empathetic writers, we already like to make people comfortable, so handling clients can come naturally to you than a super-salesy, outgoing person.
Reframing your thoughts for self-belief.
Do you think it's hard to ooze confidence when you're a newbie and just starting out?
Ask yourself these questions:
- If this client hired you, would you do everything in your power to make sure that you did a good job for them?
- Would you research the things you didn't know?
- Would you do thorough research if there was something you didn't understand about the project?
- Would you make sure that you put in the work to do a good job for this client?
- Are these your intentions?
If yes, why wouldn’t you be a great candidate for this job?
If you're willing to work, learn, and grow, you'll be able to prove yourself to this client. This belief in yourself is crucial. There is no such thing as perfection, and we all have a learning curve.
While we won't get it right every time, we can have pure intentions and work hard to help our clients.
Instead of being insecure, why not tell yourself that you deserve a chance?
How to be confident on client calls when you lack experience
1. Be prepared to talk about your background
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this: come to the call prepared to talk about your background.
Clients will most likely start the conversation by saying so, tell me about yourself, or some other vague question.
This question can be so nerve-wracking! First, it’s vague, so your brain automatically asks responds with well, what do you want to know?
To avoid your brain going blank, prepare what you will say about yourself and your experience.
This is called the elevator pitch.
I mention this in my article about choosing your niche, but our background knowledge is all we have as beginners.
It's more important to choose a niche you are knowledgeable about than one you're passionate about.
Our prior knowledge is how we can provide value to clients, even though we have little to no experience writing.
Being prepared to “pitch” your background and knowledge will not only impress but will also give you a HUGE confidence boost. No one can take away or discredit your experience and knowledge.
Make a list of all the ways your experience will benefit their content.
- I used to be a customer/consumer of your product, so I can write specifically for your audience.
- I worked as a ______ for X years, so I know your industry inside and out.
- I’ve written _____ in the past, and I’d be able to use those same skills such as ___, and ____ to write for your company.
2. Take charge and set the agenda for your call
One of the easiest ways to appear confident on a call is by being the one to set the agenda. This is a lesson constantly my sales managers hammered home to us.
As soon as you finish the greetings and openers on the call, be proactive and tell the other person your plans for the meeting. Here’s exactly what I say at the beginning of client calls:
“I really appreciate you hopping on the call with me today. I was hoping to learn a bit more about your company and content strategy. Then, any questions you have for me about my experience, I’d be happy to answer them and go into my background in a little more detail.”
When you say something like this, you not only take the lead (which makes you seem confident), but you’re asking them to do the talking first. And you should ALWAYS ask the customer to do the talking first.
When the customer does the talking first, you get the opportunity to take notes, make observations, and ask appropriate questions.
Your pitch will be SO much more powerful because you can tailor it precisely to what they said at the beginning of the call.
For example, if the client said, “we want to create blog posts that are informational rather than salesy.”
You could speak to that desire in your elevator pitch by saying,
“you mentioned you want to create educational blog posts. I like to take the approach as well because when I consume blog posts in your industry, I like when companies provide value instead of pushing products.”
3. Research their company and write your observations
Do a quick scan of their online presence (their website, press releases, etc.) with pen in hand. Write down your first observations.
You are providing HUGE value when you come to the call with these observations.
A fresh pair of eyes on their content from someone in their industry is a massive benefit to the client. That’s the type of feedback they actually pay people for (it’s called an audit).
PLUS it makes you look competent, professional, prepared, and like you actually care about their brand.
Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who comes to the table like that?
- What is their website missing?
- What’s missing from their content strategy?
- Could they benefit from a blog, a podcast, or a white paper?
- Is their competitor doing something that they would benefit from replicating?
Just be tactful when you propose new solutions. No one wants to be bombarded with a checklist of what they’re doing wrong.
4. Ask high-quality questions
Like dating, you can tell a lot about a person and their intentions by the quality of their questions.
It’s safe to say that if your date doesn’t ask any questions about you, they’re either not interested or so nervous that they forgot. Naturally, you don’t want to convey either of those vibes!
Your questions should showcase your genuine interest in their business, how they operate, and what their goals are.
5. Create an outline/script for the call
A script or outline can guide you on the call, help you stay focused, and avoid your mind going blank because of nerves. The key is to guide the conversation and take the lead while also allowing it to flow naturally.
Whether it’s a detailed script or just an outline with bullet points, it’ll comfort you to have a list of talking points to refer back to. This also ensures you don’t forget anything important you wanted to mention.
One final word: DO NOT let lack of experience hold you back
I didn't know this at the time, but when I first started as a copywriter with no experience, no clients, and no connections, I was positioned to provide the best work.
I had the time, I was motivated as hell to start working, and I wanted more than anything to do good work and prove myself to clients.
But guess what? That pure enthusiasm doesn't last.
After just four months of becoming a copywriter, I found myself juggling a full client roster and looming deadlines. I went from raring-to-go to overwhelmed.
Of course, I still love copywriting, and luckily I’m better at setting boundaries and managing my time. BUT, I'm not that excited, eager to please, go, above-and-beyond newbie copywriter, I was in the beginning. It's just not sustainable.
So why does this matter to you? As a newbie, you can go above and beyond for clients, dedicate all your time and energy, and CHANNEL that enthusiasm into your work.
CLIENTS LOVE THIS! They love energy, commitment, fresh ideas - all of it! Obviously, you shouldn’t highlight that you're new or come across as desperate. But don't be afraid to show your ENTHUSIASM for getting their message out!
While you're sitting there feeling insecure about being new, little do you know, you could provide a better experience for clients than the seasoned copywriters buried under their client loads.