When I relaunched this brand new version of GDB earlier this year, I asked you to submit your ideas for posts you’d like to see over the next 12 months. (Haven’t had a chance to submit your request? Click here to view the original new-year-launch post.)
One reader, Carla, posted this request:
Any suggestions about … being afraid? Any suggestions on how to overcome my apprehensive behavior (which is not normal, I am an outgoing, sociable person)?!I have business cards and can hand them out or put on vehicles in a parking lot, although I am actually afraid of getting a call?!!!!! Am I normal? Any suggestions?
Today, I’d like to answer Carla’s question and concern. I hope it’s of help to more than just Carla. (Add your response to Carla’s question by leaving a comment on this post!)
Here we go:
So what is the “freelancing fear”?
I know. It sounds weird.
But the freelancing fear is something I am very familiar with.
You finally make the decision to try freelancing on your own. You quit your full-time job (or maybe not – that’s ok.), print up business cards, and start telling everyone you can about the services that you provide.
But you’re scared…
Because you’ve never done this before. I mean, what happens if an amazing client sees your business card, checks out your portfolio, and then gives you a call – only to have you blow it once you’re on the phone?
That’s a lot of pressure!
I mean, what if you’re just not cut out to be a salesman? Or a pitchman?
Sure, you can hold your ground in the Creative Suite. Sure you can brainstorm with the best of them, but can you reel in a big client when then make that ever-important phone call?
Here’s how to win the client:
This freelancing fear can be a little overwhelming–especially for new freelance designers.
But never fear, today I have a few tips to help you overcome the fear, turn that adrenaline rush into positive energy, and learn to LOVE phone calls from new clients instead of fear them.
- Be prepared. Ahh, the popular mantra of the Boy Scouts of America. Being prepared is the first step in losing the freelancing fear. If you’re prepared, you have nothing to be afraid of. So, before handing out a million business cards; before telling all your friends you’ve made the switch to freelance; and before you try to land your first big client, get ready.
Here’s the joy of a phone call: they can’t see you. If you want, have a “cheat sheet” in front of you at your desk. That way, when that big client calls, you know exactly what to say.
You may even want to prepare specific responses, questions, etc. for big clients that you are pitching to. That way, you’re as prepared as possible when they call.
- Treat it like a job interview. Every phone call you have with a potential client is like a phone interview for a new job. So treat it like one!
Be prepared with information about the company–do a little research before hand. Speak professionally, openly, and boldly. Don’t let some loud-mouthed, bold business owner talk you out of a smart business deal (or into a foolish one). Remember, you’re a smart business owner now too.
- Be open and honest. There’s nothing worse that starting off a client relationship by giving in to their every request just to win over the account.
Be open and honest about your pricing, your skill-level, your experience, and your desire to help them succeed. Try to put a positive spin on your work and experience, but never lie or tell half truths to make yourself look good. While first impressions are everything, lying will almost always come back to bite you.
- Keep everything in perspective.
Last but not least, remember, this call is not going to determine the rest of your life. It won’t even determine the outcome of the rest of your freelance career.
It’s just a phone call.
With another human being.
Be yourself; be friendly. And don’t be afraid to turn the job down if it just doesn’t fit right. More clients will come along that are a perfect fit for you and your design business.
There’s really nothing to be afraid of…
So, Carla (and the thousands of other designers reading this that are going through–or have gone through–something like this), there’s really nothing to fear. You can do this!
In fact, lots of designers have already done it. You can too!
Have you overcome the freelancing fear?
How many of you have experienced this same fear Carla’s talking about? I know I have. And the post you just read contains tips on how I overcame it.
But I’d love to hear from you… What tips would you give Carla? What advice can you offer to designers who are a little bit afraid of the first client encounter? Leave a comment and share your experience with Carla, me, and the rest of the GDB community!