Getting Started with Clients: Leading Freelance Calls | Carmel Kundai Makaya | Skillshare

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Getting Started with Clients: Leading Freelance Calls

teacher avatar Carmel Kundai Makaya, Social Media Manager | Content Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Course Project


    • 3.

      Types of Client Calls


    • 4.

      Discovery Calls


    • 5.

      Onboarding Calls


    • 6.

      Touchpoint Calls


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Offboarding Calls


    • 9.



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About This Class

Leading client calls can be overwhelming at first, but with preparation and practice, they don't have to be.

This course is for anyone at the beginning stages of their freelance career who is unsure of what types of calls they need to set-up, or is nervous about how to lead these calls.

We will cover the 5 main types of calls freelancers have, their purpose, and what to keep in mind when having these calls. Everything you need to know about client calls at the start of your freelance career is in this course.

Meet Your Teacher

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Carmel Kundai Makaya

Social Media Manager | Content Creator


Hi! My name is Carmel Kundai Makaya. I am a writer, social media manager, Youtuber, smile-r, and a host of other things.

Ever since I was little, I've loved to create and grow. From writing short stories, to blog posts, to YouTube videos, and now Skillshare courses! Thank you so much for stopping by, I'd love to connect with you more via my courses and social media.

- With a smile, Carmel

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is cobalt can die MCI it and welcome to my course about how to lead an effective client call. If you're looking to get into freelance work or you've already started freelancing, then client calls are an inevitable and very big part of the work that you do. Not every bit of communication between you and your client should or will happen over email or messaging platforms. When I first started freelancing, I didn't realize how many of these calls I would end up having. I also didn't realize how crucial they are to creating a smooth and positive experience for both myself, the clients I'd go on to work with, like with the rest of life, communication is key. In this course, we'll be going over the five most common client calls that you'll be having as a freelancer while you will be having them and how to make them worth your time and your client's time. 2. Course Project: For this course is class project. I'd like you to come up with three to five questions for each of the categories we'll be going over. This exercise should help take off some of the pressure that comes with running client calls. Because you'll know ahead of time what information you'll be looking for. These questions can be serious, silly, or somewhere in-between. The point is to get to know your client and their needs. Your question should be a gateway to further communication. So don't worry if your questions are simple on the surface, you can write your answers in a notebook or you can fill out the worksheet provided in the projects tab. Once you have your questions, feel free to share them with your fellow classmates and with me using the Projects tab, if you do decide to share also let me know what your most and least excited about when considering leading your own calls. I look forward to seeing the questions you come up with. 3. Types of Client Calls: Before we get into the details, let's briefly go over the main types of calls you're likely to have with clients. Elements of each of these calls may cross over into other calls. Don't worry too much about keeping each of these completely separate. Do whatever works best for you, your client, and your process. The first of these calls our discovery calls. A discovery calls an initial call you'll have with someone who's interested in your services. At this point that interested party is not a client and likely knows more about you than you do about them. In this call, your goal is to get to know the person or the brand on the other side of the call. The next call you may have is an onboarding call. Once you've had a discovery call and you both decided to work together, then it's time to do some onboarding. The purpose of an onboarding is to make sure that both parties have everything they need to move forward with the project. Next, Our touchpoint calls, unlike discovery and on-boarding calls, which only happened once per client or per project. You'll likely have multiple touchpoint calls with each client. These calls are a way for you to touch base and debrief with your client to make sure that the two of you are on the same page. A majority of your touchpoint calls are also going to be presentations. During presentations, your job is to explain and present your client with the decisions you've made on a project. This is an important part of the freelancing process because if your client doesn't understand why you did what you did, they're less likely to approve of the project and less likely to feel satisfied overall. Finally, you'll have off boarding calls. I'll be honest. These are the hardest calls for me to have. If you're like me at the end of the project, you may feel excited to wrap up and move on to the next project, but this excitement should not get in the way of affording your client. Well, during an off boarding call, your job is to give your client the resources they may need to move forward without you. This is also a great time to ask for feedback or testimonial on their experience working with you. 4. Discovery Calls: Now let's talk about each of these calls a little more in depth. In this and following sections, we will review the purpose of each of these calls. What your job is as a freelancer during these calls, things to keep in mind and four common mistakes you'll want to avoid. First up, our discovery calls. Purpose of a discovery call, like I mentioned before, is to discover more about the person and brand on the other side of the meeting, This call is essentially an interview during which you and the client ask each other a bunch of questions in order to see if you're a good fit for each other. During these call, your job is not only to get to know the details of the project, but also who you'll be working with. Getting to know the people behind the brand and the brand behind the project will help you communicate more clearly later on in the project. On the technical side of the conversation, you'll want to ask about the project scope. So the details of the project, what they're expecting from you, what your deliverables are, what you'll be giving them in the end. You'll also want to ask about timeline and budget. At this stage, I personally don't provide the client with an exact number for how much they'll need to invest in this project. Instead, I provide them with a range and then I let them know. I'll send over a few pricing options for them to look at. After I've had a few hours to review everything they've just shared with me. When I first started freelancing, I would give clients my pricing in the first call. But then I realized a lot of times what I think is going into the project is very different from what the client thinks it's going into the project. So they may think that they just need a simple one-page site. And so I give them a quote for that. But then during our call, I discovered that they actually need a seven page site that links to a whole ton of other pages. In that case, I need to quote them for a seven page site and not for a one-page site. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to have a discovery call. Taking time away also means that neither I or the client feel pressured into making a snap decision, but doesn't actually reflect our capacities or desires at that time. On the relational side of the conversation, you'll want to learn your clients communication style. And what they're big Y is you want to make sure that going forward, you communicating any and all information to your client in a way that they understand and can process. You also want to find out why is this project important to them? Why are they passionate about what they do overall, going forward, you can make sure to incorporate this y into the different services and products is great for them. Keep in mind that this call is likely the first time that you had a potential client or having a business conversation. Even if this client is a friend or family member, you'll still need to take the time to introduce herself of a freelancer and a business owner More than anything, makes sure that the potential client feels heard. This means using active listening techniques such as repeating and rephrasing their thoughts back to them to make sure you're on the same page, nodding. And overall, just making sure that they can see on your face that you were engaged with what they're saying. This also means paying attention to how they respond to your line and speed of questioning and adjust accordingly. Is the potential clients starting to get nervous than slow the conversation down? Are they starting to get jittery or maybe they think and process information really quickly, then you'll want to give them multiple questions to answer. And in that case, you'll want to move through the call a little bit more quickly. The biggest mistake you'll want to avoid is showing up to discovery calls unprepared. Make sure you have a general set of questions to start off the conversation with. Throughout the conversation, you can remove or add questions as necessary. If you find yourself needing a minute to write down or process with a potential client has said, free to ask them for a minute to gather your thoughts. You don't need to rush through the conversation. In the long run, your clients will appreciate the thoughtfulness that you've put into each conversation you have with them. 5. Onboarding Calls: Next, you have on-boarding calls. The purpose of an onboarding call it is to make sure that you and the client are prepared to move on to the next phase of the project. By this point, the client should have already signed a contract. Personally, I also have clients pay a non-refundable deposit before we have this call. Your job during this call is to provide the client with the information they need. Feel comfortable moving forward. This is also a good time for you to request any access, assets or answers to any questions that you don't already have. For example, if you're working on a website for a client and you need to link your Squarespace account with their website. Now is the time to do that. Or if you need their logos, make sure that they send those over to you or anything else that you might need to start your first draft of the project that you're doing. You will want to ask for joining this call. Oftentimes, I'll use the first part of on-boarding calls to introduce the client to the project outline and timeline. So I'll let them know after a week or two weeks, I will send over a first draft after this many weeks, then we'll go on to the second draft, etc. Then the second part of the call I used to ask the client about any project specific questions I may have. If it's a design project, will talk about their inspirations. If it's a social media project, we'll talk about specific benchmarks that they need to hit. Really, this is a time to talk about next steps. You'll want to keep in mind though that you know, your line of business inside and out. And it's likely that your client does not have the same level of expertise, concepts, and processes that may seem intuitive to you, may not be intuitive to them. So make sure you take time before the call to walk through the project process from your client's perspective, making note of anything that isn't common knowledge from there, make sure you explain these specialized steps or concepts to your client. Going back to the website example, adding yourself as an administrator to your client's website might seem super intuitive to you, but it's possible that they've never done this before. So you'll need to make sure that you walk them through the process or make sure that you have links to articles or videos prepared so that you can send them to them or screen share them with your client during the meeting. The biggest mistake I've made for on-boarding calls is simply not having them. I falsely assume that the 45-minute discovery call was enough. Then later on, I realized that the client probably didn't take as many notes as I did during our initial call. And so we're not actually as much on the same page as I thought we were on-boarding calls give you the space you need to confirm project particulars with your client, as well as the time you need to walk them through any programs or logins you'll be using going forward. These are both extremely important. 6. Touchpoint Calls: Moving on to touchpoint calls, the purpose of touchpoint calls is to give you a chance to touch point or touch base with your client. In other words, this is a chance for you to check in with your client about how the project is going, as well as a time for you both to talk about how you feel the project is going. During this call, your job is to update your client on any progress you've made. You should also ask them about their thoughts on the progress that you've made. It's very possible that in the one to four weeks since you started this project, your client has changed their mind about what exactly they want. Or more commonly, it's possible that seeing their project come to life, I had made it more clear to them what they do or do not want. For example, your client may have thought that they wanted a green website, but after seeing what a green website actually looks like, they may have decided they would rather go for something less bold. This call is also a great time for you to remind your client about any particular is such as photos or copy that you need them to send to you. You also want to find out if there's anything else your client would like to discuss in case circumstances have changed since you last spoke. Keeping in mind that these calls do not need to be super long. It may only take you and your client 15 minutes to go over the progress on the project. That is perfectly okay. This call should only be as long as makes sense. Otherwise, even your client are likely to feel like this call was wasted time and this will make it harder for either one of you two want to show up or participate in future touch. But calls, again, the most common mistake can have with touch my calls, like on-boarding calls, is not having them. It can be easy to assume that you've fully understood what your client wanted and what they meant the first time that you chatted and that you don't need to check in with them until the project is complete. But here's the thing. You and your client are. Each individuals, their own ways of thinking and communicating. The best way to make sure that you both are communicating. What you think you're communicating is to keep communicating. Checking in with your client after each iteration of the project will help make sure that you're on the same page as one another. This will also help you make necessary changes before you get too far in the project. For example, if you're creating a website for a client, rather than waiting till you have a full draft of the Polish website finished, consider checking in with your client. Once you have a layout or structure of each page done, if your client approves of the layout, then you can begin adding more design elements including copy and photos. If your client would like changes to be made to the overall layout of the website, that it's easier to do those changes. Now, instead of after you've already written all of the copy and added all of your visual elements to every page. 7. Presentations: Now let's talk about presentations. Presentations aren't usually their own separate calls, but instead they're a section of one of the other three calls. We've already gone over a presentation is your chance to share with your client about what you've created and why you've made the different choices that you've made your job during your presentation is not to just show your client your work. Your job is to explain why would you have made works. For example, if you've chosen a particular font for a website or graphic design project, explain why you chose this font if you decided to use certain wording on a copyrighted project, explain that at the end of the presentation, your client should have a basic understanding of what you were doing and thinking behind the scenes as you were working on the project. Keep in mind that your client is probably not an expert in the field that they're hiring you in. It makes sure your explanations are easy for them to understand. If you're using any jargon or field specific terms, make sure that you define them for your client, it's better for you to over-explain than for you to under explain what giving presentations, it can be easy to make the mistake of assuming that your client will automatically agree with every decision you've decided to make. This is rare, but that doesn't mean you can't convince your client why your route is the best way forward. So make sure you explain your position well. Also, make sure you prepare well for your presentations. Because this is your chance to show your client how much thought you've put in to the project. 8. Offboarding Calls: Lastly, you have off pointing calls. The purpose of an off boarding call is to make sure that you and your client can part ways with your client having everything they need to excel moving forward. Your job during this call is to make sure that your client is set with any assets, logins in general, know-how they'll need going forward without you. For example, if there are any final files that you still need to send a route to your client, make sure you discuss this then and let them know that you will send those right over to them. Or if you need to teach them how to update basic parts of their website, take the time to teach them about that during this call, if you need to remove yourself as a contributor or add your client as an administrator to any of their accounts, now is a good time to go over all of that. You can also remind your client and any payment deadlines or contract terms you had set before the project began. This call is also a great time to let your client know if and how they can get a hold of you if they have any issues or other projects come up. Keep in mind that this call should at the end of the day. So center around your clients experience and their project. As such, make sure you focus on your client's needs to succeed and help them feel supported all the way till the end. If your client's last interaction with you is a great experience, they're likely to refer you on to other potential clients. On the other hand, if the entire project went well, but your clients last interaction with you is a bad one. They're likely to remember this and focus on this bad experience going forward. And so there's a less chance or referrals during this call, you might feel tempted to only focus on what you need to wrap up this project. For example, a final payment while your needs as a freelancer are legitimate and getting paid is super important, make sure you only start this conversation after you've made sure that your client has everything they need to succeed. 9. Conclusion: Thank you for tuning into my course about how to lead effective client calls. I hope that you now feel more prepared and equipped to show up for clients and ultimately to move forward in your freelancing career. Like I've mentioned throughout this course, communication is the most important aspect of any of these calls. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you're understanding your client's needs so that you can best serve them. You also want to make sure that your client understands your perspective so that they can see for themselves the serving that you were trying to do. Thank you again for watching. I look forward to looking at through your client questions in the projects tab. If you have any questions about anything I've said or anything relating to client calls, feel free to leave them in the discussions tab, and I will see you in my next course.