Client phone calls are an essential part of any freelancer’s career. Whether it’s a kickoff call over the phone (if you’re not local), updating your client about what you’ve been up to, or telling them the project is running behind (or even better, ahead of schedule), it’s essential you come prepared.
Follow the steps below and you’ll be on your way to mastering the client, freelancer relationship.
7 Tips for running amazing client calls
Always start with a plan
Nothing’s worse than having dead silence fill the air during your call while you try to think of things to discuss. Email your client the agenda for the meeting including what you talked about during the last call, and what you’re discussing during this call.
This helps to keep the meeting on track. This also gives your client a chance to ask questions beforehand.
Make sure your equipment’s working
Your microphone’s broken or your wifi is down? These things happen and when they do, it sets a bad impression, especially if this is your first phone call with a potential client.
It’s never a bad idea to invest in two sets of office supplies: two headphones, two microphones, and/or two computers. 30 minutes to an hour before your meeting, make sure all of your systems are functioning properly.
If it’s not working, this may give you enough time to run to the store and buy a replacement. This also gives you enough time to contact your client through email, fax, or Morse code to let them know you’ll be running behind or to postpone the call.
Show up on time/don’t be tardy for the party
This falls under the bad impression category. When you’ve scheduled a call with someone, it’s important to be on time. When you send the agenda to your client, verify the meetup details including the time, the Join.me conference numbers and who’s calling who.
If it’s the client that’s running behind, wait five minutes after the meeting time and give them a call. If they don’t pickup, leave them a voicemail. Depending on your relationship and the client’s preferences, you can send a text message asking them if they’re still available and if they would like to reschedule.
This helps to set the mood for the entire call. If you’re tired, drink some coffee. If that doesn’t work, drink some 5 hour Energy or a pre-workout* (just be prepared for the tingles.).
Even better, take a 30 minute power nap to recharge your batteries. Your client will unconsciously thank you for coming in full of energy.
It doesn’t matter whether you take notes using a Google Doc, a pen and paper, or writing notes on your arm, just make sure you can reference them later on. You don’t need to write down everything, just the important parts (e.g. actionable items, client’s mood, etc…).
After the meeting, rewrite them and put them in your CRM system (you do use a CRM, don’t you?).
Email the client your notes
Now that you’ve taken thorough notes and entered them into the Customer Relationship Management system of your choice, email your client the notes. Any additional questions can be answered in the email chain or with another phone call.
Re-establish project goals
At the end of the call, followup with your client to make sure you’re on track to meet their goals. As you complete the project, you want to make sure it meets expectations.
The importance of going over the project goals cannot be overstated; make sure you and the client are on the same page.