In this lesson, we’ll discuss how to properly handle sales calls by Interviewing Clients to see if you’re the right fit.
Specifically, we’ll break this process into:
Scheduling the Call
Preparing for it
Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster.In today’s lesson, let’s discuss how to properly handle sales calls by Interviewing Clients to see if you’re the right fit. So you’ve started implementing the suggestions in the previous lesson and landed some sales calls! How do you seal the deal, convert those sales calls into paying clients? Let’s find out! We’re going to discuss:
Scheduling the call
Preparing for it
This interview is so important! But why is it an interview? Is your goal just to land the job at all costs? Not exactly. In fact, nowadays, I pass on the majority of work that comes my way. See, you don’t just want clients — you want the right clients. The ones who will appreciate you, respect your expertise, and pay on time. At first, you’ll likely jump at any work that comes your way, but over time, try to be selective. Ultimately, this lesson is about Interviewing Clients, but please understand that you are interviewing potential clients as much as they are interviewing you to be their new web designer. So let’s get to it!
First off, before the call even takes place, you need to schedule it. To understand the importance of this… Think… Do you like being caught off-guard by a lengthy conversation? If someone calls you at the peak of a busy day, are you going to give them your undivided attention? Give the business owners you’re calling that same courtesy. If you’re communicating via email, WhatsApp, text message, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Message, or any other channel, and you’re looking to hop on the phone to further discuss the project, schedule it at a time that’s convenient for both of you. Pick a day and time and put it on your calendar so you won’t forget. Set an alert if you have to. And just in case the person you’re calling isn’t quite as organized, word from the wise, send them a reminder. Just a quick message reminding them that you’ll be calling later today and look forward to your chat. It’s possible that they forgot, and that friendly, unassuming reminder will be just what they need. So Takeaway #1: Schedule the call at a mutually convenient time so you can have each other’s undivided attention, and shoot them a reminder before the call should take place.
Next, once you’ve scheduled the call, you need to prepare for it. How do you think you could prepare for a sales call with a business? Do you think it would be wise to review their current website, if they have one? Yeah, that would be a good starting point. Pull up their website, get familiar with it, and make a list of things you could improve about it. Open up a Note on your phone or a Word or Pages document and title it the name of the business and the website URL, if applicable. Using a service like GoDaddy.com/whois, WHOIS.net, or WhoIsHostingThis.com you could even figure out where their domain is registered and who the host is. Gather as much information as you can in advance so you’re thoroughly prepared. That being said… don’t spend too long on this prep work, in case you don’t end up getting the client. Takeaway #2: Thoroughly prepare for your sales call by researching the business and their website.
You make the call, and they answer! So exciting! How do you start off? Well, how do you like to take a call? Do you get right to business, or do you make some small talk? Overall, most people would prefer you be friendly, be human, be personable, and take a moment just to get to know one another. Greet them, exchange names, pleasantries, get to know their business, before discussing the project and prices. Put them at ease. Tell them what area you live in, how long you’ve been around, maybe toss out a hobby or 2. This will go a long way to starting off the relationship on the right foot. Now everyone’s different, so it may be wise to feel them out, discern when they’re ready to discuss the project, because for some people’s personality and tight schedule, their preference might be to get right to business. If so, great! Go for it. Follow their lead. Really, the point is: you just don’t want someone to feel like they’re just another sales call and another number. And you, can you tell when someone is just trying to sell you something? How does that make you feel? It makes me feel used and unimportant to them. Takeaway #3: When you first start the conversation, be authentic and get to know one another before discussing their website design project.
And now, it’s time to get to business! When you’re discussing a website design project, what do you think your goal is? To offer your price and convince them to go with you? No! Absolutely not. Your goal is to LISTEN. By this point, you’ve gotten to know them, now get to know their project. To better understand the importance of this….. have you ever expressed yourself to someone close to you… mate, family member, close friend… And they quickly assume your problem and offer a solution…? How would you feel if their suggestions don’t have anything to do with what you’re actually going through? If they didn’t really listen to your problem? In web design, it’s easy to assume a business’ needs — they need a website, right?? A good-looking one? Well… maybe they’re actually telling you they want better search rankings. Or higher-quality leads. Or more exposure. When you ask the right questions, identify their pain points, they’ll be far more likely to pay for your personalized solutions. So listen, listen, listen. My tip to you is to open up a Note, Word or Pages document and write EVERYTHING they say. Nearly everything they tell you will come in handy at some point, whether they’re saying how long they’ve been in business, their accolades, who their current webmaster is, what type of website they’re looking for, their goals, where their domain is registered, where the site is hosted… I’ll hear those bits of information in nearly every sales call, and I write it all down in a file so I don’t look silly asking them to repeat themselves. So in addition to listening to them express themselves, you need to ask the right questions. What do you think would be a good question to ask in the initial sales interview? Do they currently have a website? If so, what’s the purpose of them reaching out to you? What’s their goals for the website? Where is their website hosted? Emails? Domain? What’s their budget for this project? How did they hear about you? The list goes on, but those are some of the same questions I ask on every call. Takeaway #4: Listen, Listen, Listen, Ask the Right Questions, and Take Note of Everything.
Now that you’ve gotten a thorough understanding of their project, it’s time to talk prices. So we’re actually going to talk about your prices in-depth in the next lesson, but for this point, I want to offer you 2 suggestions. First off, you could offer them a quote right there on the phone. I would only suggest this if you understand the amount of work involved, you know your prices, and you’re willing to stick to them. The second suggestion is to say, “we’ll have a quote ready for you in the next couple days. What’s a good email to reach you?” Most respectable business owners won’t put you on the spot to offer a concrete price right then and there, but they may want a ballpark figure, and that’s okay.You can give them a range, such as “around a thousand dollars” or “$2000-$4000,” but if you do that, listen carefully to their reaction. Whatever they say will give you insight into their budget. Most people in their shoes will go into the conversation with a general idea of how much they’ve budgeted and willing to spend on their website, and if your prices are far above and beyond that, they’ll either abandon the project or find a more affordable designer. That’s okay. You value yourself. You value your time. You don’t need to take every project that comes your way, but you can also take that opportunity to come down on your prices, which I why I always shoot high. Whatever I’d like to make on a project, I add about 20%. If they go for it, great!! You make more money! Otherwise, if we need to negotiate the price down a bit, then they may end up agreeing on exactly what you intended to charge in the first place, and they feel like they got a deal! Everyone wins. Takeaway #5: Offer to review the project and email them a quote in the next few days. Listen closely to their response to your ballpark price.
Finally, how do you wrap up the conversation? Conventional sales wisdom says there are 2 necessities to conclude the conversation: (1) Close the Sale and (2) Schedule a Follow-Up. Do you know what “closing” is? For the website design conversation, it’s the verbal statement that they’d to hire you as their web designer. Perhaps you did give them a price, they like it, and they’re ready to move forward with the project. Or, they really enjoyed the conversation and look forward to reviewing your quote. Either way, you also need to Schedule a Follow-Up. This is where you suggest the conversation continue via email or pick a day to chat again on the phone. Remember, people are busy. Aren’t you busy? The person you call is likely busy running their business, and without a follow-up, you might not ever hear from them again if you don’t actively pursue that lead. Remember: Silence doesn’t mean they reject your quote. Silence could simply mean they just got busy, but they did actually like your quote and they are ready to move forward. Your reaching out and following-up with them will remind them of that. And, as a general reminder of your humanity, be courteous. Don’t be pushy. Sales-y. Don’t pressure them to hire you. People will respect you when you respect them. Finally, now that you have a thorough knowledge of the project scope, please understand that it’s OK to decline the project. A respectable business owner would rather you be up-front about that than string them along and waste their time. If you do decline, think of another designer or firm they could call, one that might be a better fit for them. Be human. Be helpful. They’ll appreciate you steering them in the right direction, which is why it’s incredibly valuable to network with fellow web designers. Takeaway #6: Close the deal, schedule a follow-up, don’t be pushy, and don’t be afraid to decline.
RECAP: So there you have it! Let’s review the 6 stages of interviewing clients to see if you’re the right fit.
Schedule the call at a mutually convenient time so you can have each other’s undivided attention, and shoot them a reminder before the call should take place.
Thoroughly prepare for your sales call by researching the business and their website.
When you first start the conversation, be authentic and get to know one another before discussing their website design project.
Listen, Listen, Listen, Ask the Right Questions, and Take Note of Everything.
Offer to review the project and email them a quote in the next few days. Listen closely to their response to your ballpark price.
Close the deal, schedule a follow-up, don’t be pushy, and don’t be afraid to decline.
I’m Leighton, and now you know, How To Interview Clients!
Make a template of all the questions you would ask on a general sales call. Get that document started so you’ll be ready when a sales opportunity pops up.