You and I are, very likely, in different businesses. Perhaps you are a health, life, or business coach. Maybe you are a lawyer, doctor, stylist, or home cook. Maybe you offer cleaning services, home organization, personal finance advice, or swim lessons.
Doesn’t matter: you need clients.
So you will very likely find yourself on the “Intro Call” (or whatever you may call it) where the ultimate goal is to convince a client to work with you. The tips outlined in this post will help you show yourself in the best possible light while, at the same time, setting you and your hopeful-client up for a productive working relationship. Or at least, this is how I do it.
#1: Make your absolute top priority being useful.
Present your clients with all their options. Let them know the pros and cons of your service versus other possible options. Be truthful.
I do this for a number of reasons, first and foremost being: I don’t want to offer a subpar product. If my clients can get something that will fit their needs better for less time/less money then I want to let them know about it.
Second, this establishes trust. If I have laid out all the options and a client decides that my services are the best option, we’re already starting out on strong footing. If they decide I’m not their best option, then they might remember I was helpful and professional. And they might remember that the next time they’re looking for a web designer (or looking to recommend one).
Third, it establishes expertise. I know a lot about my field, and I can talk your ear off about it. I probably know seven different ways to solve your web design/development needs. I’ll try to keep it short and limit my ranting to the ones that will most help you, but presenting a client with many options establishes you as an expert in your field.
I put this (being helpful) number one because it is, by far, the most important. I have stuck by this maxim as best I can, and I’m proud to say that my clientele is entirely referral driven. It might seem front-loaded work if a client decides not to work with you, but this approach truly pays off if your reputation does all the marketing and advertising that you need.
#2: Set concrete expectations.
Not just about scope and price, but those are definitely the most important (not to mention the trickiest). Set your expectations about the following (and I recommend this order):
What will happen after the call?
Make sure to establish your followup. Will you reach out to them after the call (which I recommend) or will you wait to hear from them?
How does your process work?
How do you get this ball rolling and what’s the aerial-view process? How long does it all take? What are the stages? What will their jobs be at each stage?
What does the final product or final goals of your service look like?
I offer a pretty concrete service (websites) so I can generally specify that the end of our initial (often not final) project is the launch of the website. It’s a little trickier when you are offering more open-ended services like coaching, but it can still be helpful to set benchmarks and quote accordingly. You are essentially establishing “a scope of work,” or what you are expecting to achieve for the client with in the quote that you will give…
Now. What’s this gonna cost?
Be so honest. More honest than you want. Squabbling over bills later (and making an unhappy client) is a lot worse than giving someone the real 411 now. You may very well get push back on your pricing. Kindly refer a less expensive option to them. Let them know you would still love to work with them if they have a higher budget later on. If you are sticking to priority #1 (make your top priority being useful!) then the last thing you want to do is rope someone into a contract they cannot afford.
Additionally, be sure to let them know how billing works. Installments? Retainer? Deposits? The more your prospective client knows about how your run your business and what to expect before hand, the more comfortable they will feel with the bills.
Your availability and how they should contact you
Do you prefer email or phone or text? Should they expect to hear back from you within 24 hours or longer/shorter? When can you start working with them?
Consider an eBook followup
I always follow up first with my potential clients and I send them this ebook, which is designed to re-emphasize the information I’ve provided in the call, plus answer a few more questions about what it’s like to work with me. I think having this eBook specially tailored to my work and my process really helps prepare my clients and pave the path for a smooth working relationship.
#3: What does the long term relationship look like?
Does your work have an ongoing component? Do you offer support past the website launch or your 6-month coaching program? Do you offer other related services? Be sure to let your client know about this! Let them know how this would be billed, too. This is how you can establish great client relationships that last for years and years!