Are you ready to close your client?
Most freelancers totally drop the ball when it comes to actually “getting” the job they apply for. They expect the client to drive the conversation forward, so they act very passive.
If you want to close clients, on your rates and terms, you need to have a sales plan laid out. You aren’t going to ask the client what the terms should be—you are going to tell them how things will go.
In this post, I will teach you the exact process for closing clients, getting the job, and ensuring the job goes smoothly.
Best of all, your clients will love you for doing it.
A Client Responded to Your Proposal… Now What?
You’ve submitted an amazing proposal on Upwork, and the client is interested, but not quite sold on you yet.
Some clients will hire you right on the spot, no sweet talk needed. But some clients will ask you questions—they want to know you a bit more before they buy.
Here’s how to handle these clients like a pro…
Answer their inquiries well, and get them onto a Skype call with you.
My good friend Ryan Mulvihill is relatively new to the freelancing world, but he’s been getting clients left and right. He gave me his close that gets almost every client on Skype with him:
After you have answered your client’s questions in the first part of your response message, finish your message with a strong call to action, similar to this:
“If you’re interested in having a chat about timelines, cost, etc. for this project then add me on Skype. My ID is XXXXXXXX.
I am Canadian, but I am currently living in the lovely city of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
To avoid confusion over time zones, you can simply click this link to schedule a time to talk with me. It will show my availability in terms of your time zone – calendly.com/. If none of those work for you let me know 🙂
Looking over your business has got me really excited about this project. I know there are a lot of areas I can help you make significantly more money in.
I hope to hear from you soon,
Ryan “The Copywriting Nerd” Mulvihill”
Obviously, you are going to have to tweak this to fit your situation. But this is how you make the clients totally comfortable with setting up a time to talk with you.
How Calendly Makes It Easy to Schedule Times to Talk to Clients
Ryan and I use the internet application Calendly to set up meetings with clients, and it is an essential part of mastering your freelance business.
Calendly allows you to create an online meeting schedule where anyone with your unique Calendly link can go and schedule a time to talk with you. It shows your availability in terms of your client’s time zone, and has a beautiful user interface.
Your client chooses a time on your calendar, and then it then emails you both reminders for the call. No back and forth confusion on time zones, they just select the time slot on your schedule, and you’re good to go.
Best of all, it’s free to use, so set up your account here: Calendly.com
Before the Call
You’ll need to do some preparation before you actually talk to your client. It will differ depending on the job, but these are the key things to get ready:
Look over the client’s site, or any information they gave you.
You aren’t just looking for information on the current job; you are looking for possible other work you can do for this client.
Look for areas of weakness in their business that you think you have the solution for.
Even if you can’t fix it, it sure makes you look like a good pick for a freelancer when you’re helping your client’s business.
Know a broad knowledge base of their industry before the call to seem really on point.
What’s Your Game Plan?
Freelancers often expect their client to know exactly how much everything is going to cost. Often, your clients have no idea what the terms are going to be for a contract.
This can lead you to a Skype call that goes really well until: The client wants to hire you, and the call comes to an awkward moment…
“So what happens next…?” your client asks. Unfortunately, you didn’t plan on how to close the job, and you’re stuck scrambling on how to explain all the job details to the client.
Here is what you need to plan out before hand to make sure you close the client:
With the job description, you probably know roughly how long something is going to take you. Make sure you have prices and timelines prepared before your call.
If you charge half up front, and offer a money back guarantee, make sure you are ready to explain it.
However, never plan on actually telling the client how much you charge over the phone. Do your best to defer that price conversation until you have done a great job of establishing value first.
Once you get off the initial call with the client, you can deliver the client a proposal that helps build anticipation and make the close much easier.
Always have a timeline planned out for the project. Know roughly how long the job will take you, and give yourself buffer time if your estimates are off (they will be).
This includes what days you work. If you take Sundays off, and don’t check your email, tell your client now, or forever hold your peace.
Know exactly what you are going to be doing for your work, and consider this mental exercise: Imagine your client is going to make you do as much extra work as possible, unless you are crystal clear about the details of the project.
If you are going to write blog posts will you need to find the images and format it?
If you are writing emails, are you going to need to cue it up in Mailchimp?
Make sure to go over all these little details of the project, as it will save you a whole lot of headache down the road.
Once you have a clear idea of all of these things, you are ready for the call.
What to talk to your clients about during the call
You will need to seduce your clients.
Nope, not by sending suggestive pictures over Skype. Rather, by making yourself look irresistible to work with.
Paint a picture of what it will be like to work with you. You want your client to have a crystal clear idea of how easy you are to work with.
Tell them about your work process. Tell them about how easy it is to contact you, they can just schedule in a time in your Calendly and you’ll be there for the call.
Tell them that you respond within 24 hours of any message they send you, or 48 hours, or not counting weekends—just make sure you are exactly clear on what the rules are for contacting you. Even tell them about your personal life, and see if you can connect with them in any way.
That’s when you turn from a voice in their computer, to a human being they will be working with.
Help Your Client with Their Business
This is the most underused way to get clients to buy more work from you.
Imagine you are already working with the client, and you want to help their business succeed. If you see missed opportunities in their business, let them know!
If you are already assisting a client before you have even started working together, your client will know you are a high quality person to work with.
Advising them on everything you can help them with will make them grateful to you, and excited at the chance to work with you.
Be Prepared to Lead the Conversation
Like I mentioned before, clients often don’t have a clear idea of how their project will be handled. Expect that you’re going to need to lead the conversation, and not just lead it, but be confident in what you say.
Don’t ask the client what they think is a “fair price” for the work. Tell them you charge $75 per article! However, as I mentioned above, do your best to hold off saying your prices until the follow-up email that you send them later.
Don’t be afraid to stand by your price. You know you are committed to doing an amazing job for your client, so don’t be afraid to ask a high price!
You will need to lead the conversation forward to explain all the details of the project to your client. By the time you’re done with the call, you want your client nodding so hard they risk getting a mild concussion.
When they finally see the price in your follow-up email, it’ll be an easy yes for them.
How to Protect Yourself
I recommend protecting yourself with something that I call the “Test Job.”
Plan to have a part of the project in its complete form to show your client soon after you get started.
For example, let’s say you have a project to complete 10 blog posts. This is how I would explain it to the client:
“For this project, I’m going to write 10 blog posts for you.
I charge 50% up front, and 50% after the work is completed and you are happy with the result. This is all backed up by my 100% money-back guarantee, of course.
I will complete the first sample blog post in three days time for you to take a look at. You’ll give me feedback on that post, so I can make sure the rest of the blog posts come out exactly how you like them. This ensures that you are happy with my work right from the start, and you have a clear idea of how the rest of my work will turn out.
If you decide you don’t like my work, I’ll happily give your money back, hassle free.”
It’s hard for a client to say no that proposition.
The Movie Trailer Option
An alternative to the test job is to give your client a “Movie trailer” of a longer piece.
I was once writing a video sales script for a client, and didn’t have much direction on how they wanted it written, so I sent the client a few completed pieces of the script to get their feedback on it.
It was just three paragraphs in different sections of the script that I had finished first.
The script was far from done, but I was really happy with how those paragraphs had turned out so far.
The client looked them over, loved it, but suggested a change in tone to make my writing less formal.
Because I was still early in the drafting phase of my writing, it was an easy change to make. Had I been finished writing the first draft, it would have been a HUGE edit to do.
Always look for ways to show clients your work in it’s early stages so you can make changes much more easily.
You Are Ready
This post has prepared you for closing clients like a boss.
If you followed everything in this post, talking to your client—and closing them—will go smooth like butter.
Get out there, and start closing these deals!
Tommy Joiner teaches freelancers how to start their own business, make more money, earn consistent revenue, and live life more freely. He is especially talented at teaching freelancers to use Upwork to leverage their careers and add a serious boost to their sales and marketing strategies. All of the techniques he teaches are ones he used to help build his own successful email marketing business.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.