Business Secret: What a Consult Tells you about a Client
I recently had coffee with some business friends, and we chatted about consults. I (personally) LOVE coffee dates with business friends, but I'm a huge supporter of scheduling phone consults with new, potential clients.
Why? Well - my chats reminded me how much TIME you and your potential client can lose by starting your initial consults in person. You first go back and forth on scheduling, picking a location, getting dressed/looking presentable, driving, meeting, maybe buying a beverage, driving home. All of this before you even determine if you're a good match together, and your new client has received your agreement & a customized quote!
So here is my list of Pros for a phone consult (if all the jibberish above didn't make your introverted hands clammy):
I don't have to dress up - yup, if you heard that right, I could be getting ready to workout, or still in my PJ's, and I prefer it that way!
It's easier to schedule, and gives us more clarity - no worrying about weird facial expressions before we have a relationship! I can squeeze in a chat with you between my lunch and gym workout without needing extra time to primp.
So we don't waste anyone's time or resources - where I live, it's common to drive 30-45 minutes one way for a meeting. That adds up in both time and fuel!
I can hide my facial expressions if I'm caught off totally guard - Yes, it happens to all of us at some point in our businesses. You're excited to chat, but then you hear the "red flag" words coming out of the potential client's mouth. Maybe the client is looking for a specific segment of your work that makes you want to tear out your hair or gag over the design choices. It doesn't mean they're a bad client, it just might mean you two aren't the right fit! Hiding our facial expressions, or having time to process the request is easier over the phone!
I can gauge if you respect my policies and boundaries by abiding to my calendar (within reason) - are you following my office hours, or asking nicely for an exception because you work a regular job during the day? That plays a big part into our working relationship.
And all of this matters, because it really boils down to the serious stuff in our working relationship:
If we can't communicate well via a call, then we're not going to communicate well via email - Yup, I said it. If a call isn't going to clarify services, your needs and if we're a good match, no amount of emails on the back end will fix that miscommunication.
It's harder for me to leave an in person meeting, and I feel guilty charging to cover my time if we go over our schedule or if someone arrives drastically late.
If my business focus has changed, the call is the time to talk about it - I get it, things change, we add services or make adjustments to what we offer. Sometimes our website isn't a current reflection of our services, but our call should be! Time to chat to share our passions, interests and our focus right now!
Not everyone has the time to meet in person, but if you can't spend 20 minutes with a potential client over the phone, how will you find it in your calendar to take on the client's project?
Over time, you might have a goal to hire a salesperson to conduct the initial calls or have a studio so your day isn't disrupted in a way that has you driving around town. But in the meantime, let's say a worldwide thank you to acuity scheduling and calendly; the badass scheduling software so potential clients and I don't have to waste precious time emailing back and forth forever before we finally set an appointment!
Brooke Olsen Consulting is a pricing and business strategist team. We specialize in pricing + profitability, financial education and business strategy for creative business owners and entrepreneurs just like you! We're focused on creating an intentional business and life by breaking down the black box of your financials and system processes. Check out our core values for more of the heart behind our corner!