How Freelance Writers Can Connect With Clients Over the Phone
For freelancers and content writers who work online, it can seem like a major jump to move from operating entirely online to talking to clients over the phone.
Depending on the industry, anywhere from 10.5 to 37.8% of American working professionals do all or some of their work from home. Apps like Slack, Asana, and Trello make it really easy to do our work without getting on the phone, which saves time and can make it easier to focus and be productive.
However, when you get used to working on your own, getting on the phone can feel like a big leap. As a full-time freelance content writer in Toronto, I know the feeling well. Whenever it’s come up in discussions with other freelance writers (including recently with an American colleague, Kevin Schwartzbach) I’ve found it to be a really common issue.
Getting on the Phone as a Freelance Writer in Toronto
For the first few years I was operating my business, I avoided talking to clients on the phone. Instead I stuck to email, where it was easier to craft the right message and make the right pitch. Not only was I able to respond on my own time, I could take the time I needed to puzzle over the contents of their message and craft a response that gave them exactly what they were asking for.
Recently though, I’ve tried to get into the habit of using my phone more often. At first, it made me feel vulnerable to throw myself into a conversation without knowing how it would go. However, I quickly began to relish the time I spent on the phone with clients. Instead of a volley of emails back and forth, I was able to understand the scope of the work quickly, and get much-needed cues about tone and wording directly from my client’s mouth.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks I’ve developed for talking to clients over the phone.
Tips for Working with Freelance Writing Clients Over the Phone
Have an Idea of Budget in Advance
One of the things that would give me the most anxiety about speaking to clients over the phone was negotiating a budget. Once when I first got started, I made the mistake of taking an offer, then hung up the phone only to realize it really wasn’t worth my time. Since I was unable to provide a realistic counterpoint over the phone, the call ended up being a waste of my time, and my potential client’s time.
After that, I started using a spreadsheet that helped me calculate how much I was getting paid per piece. By looking at the numbers broken down, I was able to give fair and accurate prices to potential clients moving forward. This awesome spreadsheet even gave each piece a per word, per hour, and per piece cost, which has been really helpful since not every client uses the same payment structure.
Write Down Talking Points
As writers, it’s understandable to feel more comfortable with the written word. To help you play to your strengths, write down talking points before you get on the phone.
It helps keep the conversation on track, so you can get through everything you need to cover in the shortest amount of time. Busy clients will thank you!
Set Yourself Up for Success
Before you get on a phone call with a client, pretend you’re about to walk into a meeting. Do you have everything you need close at hand? Are you hungry or thirsty, or do you need to use the bathroom? Take care of all of this before the call to make sure you’re giving your client your full attention.
You’ll also need to ensure that your space is quiet, and that you won’t be disturbed. Silence notifications on your devices, and make sure your internet connectivity and cell service is decent so you won’t get disconnected.
Maybe I’m a particularly forceful typist, but it seems like every time I try to quietly take notes on my computer during a call, I end up making so much noise that it's distracting. Instead, I’ve started setting out a notebook and pen and taking notes by hand.
Sure, it’s not as quick as typing on a computer, but research has shown that you actually retain more information when you take notes by hand.
Looking to Grow Your Business?
Sometimes growing your business and doing great work requires you to put yourself out there and do things that initially make you feel uncomfortable. There’s real value in pushing through that feeling. It gives you a chance to connect with clients on a deeper level, and really understand how you can best serve their needs.
Getting on the phone with clients and customers is just the beginning. If you want to develop a robust strategy for attracting new business, you need to work on your online footprint, and make sure your content is facilitating a connection with your chosen audience. If your content isn't working for you, you probably need the help of a more experienced content writer.
Get in touch with me, and I’ll work with you to develop and execute a content strategy that suits the needs of your business. Whether you’re looking to maintain your online presence or jump-start your growth, I can help you get there- fast.