Client call anxiety is far too common, especially among novice freelancers.
And if you've ever felt:
- Terrified of getting on the phone with a new client.
- Or...a little worried when your client says "we need to talk".
Then you know exactly what client call anxiety feels like.
What is client call anxiety?
Client call anxiety starts with you assuming the worst, that something is wrong with your latest draft, or that your new client will laugh at your design choices.
So what can you do about it?
First things first, start by taking charge.
For instance, Lisa Fourman made a good point when she said that the best cure for anxiety as a freelancer is to be firm in all your decisions when it comes to client interactions.
But I totally get it.
No matter what you do those feelings of anxiety will still happen.
Today I'm going to share with you some of the strategies that I use, to fight against feelings of anxiety, when dealing with clients.
1) Be Prepared
Last week, I talked about pitching with confidence.
And the one thing that these two things have in common is the following: it's 100% about how effectively you prepare.
However, in this case, it's less about research and more about making sure you have a list of questions ready so that you're the one that's in control.
And...in terms of what questions you ask, it's all about keeping a close eye on what needs to happen next, and what the client can do to help things move forward.
Examples of this include:
- Required software and other expenses
- People in their network that need to be contacted
- A detailed discussion about timelines and expectations, so that you know you're on the same page.
But what if this is your first call with this client?
If this is your first call with the client, it's all about asking questions that help you figure out what they're struggling with and how your work can help.
Here are some questions that you might want to ask that fall into that category:
- Who is your customer, on an average day?
- What results do you hope to get out of my work?
- What are your goals for this year, this month, etc?
2) Don't lose sight of why they hired you
Chances are your client will want to hop on the phone and question your process.
But let's put you in your client's shoes for a minute.
Why would spending money on your services be worth it?
Well...the truth is they really, really need you.
Because they don't actually know how to do what you do.
So, at times they're going to feel a bit lost.
Not just a little lost, like..., super lost.
So next time your client says "we need to talk" don't immediately assume that you did a terrible job.
Instead, be ready to patiently talk them through unfamiliar territory...nice and slowly.
For instance, I had something similar happen to me.
I was editing a project for a client, and they found the large number of comments I left on the word document a bit overwhelming.
And all I had to do was get on the phone and talk to her, and she felt a lot more certain of what to do next.
In fact, I think I even made a joke or two to lighten the mood, and she went from totally overwhelmed to telling me that she's looking forward to talking to me soon.
3) Do everything that you can to be at ease
Establishing boundaries and insisting that clients schedule calls in advance will make a huge difference.
Because then you'll actually have time to make sure you're in the right mindset to get something positive out of your phone call.
Before the call, do everything that you can to make yourself as relaxed and focused as you can.
Put on calm music, drink your favourite tea or coffee beverage, and get a bit of fresh air.
Because being in a good mood will have a positive effect on your client.
And that will lead to better results and a more patient, forgiving client.
4) Be Consistent and Clear
The last thing you want to happen, when interacting with clients is for you to not be communicating properly.
If you want things to go well with your client, well enough that you get referrals, make sure that your instructions are as consistent and clear as possible.
Otherwise, you'll have grumpy clients who will probably never work with you again.
If you focus less on your anxiety and more on have a clear work process, then you'll get not only money in your pocket, but also happy clients who don't regret their choices.
And that's the most important part of avoiding negative client experiences.
Next time you experience client call anxiety, apply these strategies and I guarantee that the butterflies in your stomach won't stop you from getting the job done.
Over to you...
Do you/ have you ever experienced client call anxiety? What did you do to fight against it? Feel free to comment via the comment section below.