Productive Business Calls

As a freelance writer that works primarily online, I seldom need to use the phone or skype with my clients. I do, however reluctantly, speak with clients directly from time to time. Knowing how to sound professional and make a positive impression on a client (or potential client) can make the difference between making money and missing an opportunity. Here are a few pointers that can help you survive the dreaded vocal exchange and somehow resonate competence and offer quality customer service.

Generally, you should speak clearly, concisely, and professionally. There is no real need to be totally formal if you are courteous. Some small talk is fine, as this can help you build a relationship with the client. Be careful, however, not to drag the conversation out too long.

Phone Call Etiquette

The greeting is important. Smile (they can hear that believe it or not) and say hello. You can start your conversation off ┬áby saying your name or business name. You might say something like, “Hello, this is ____. How can I help you?” This assures the caller that they have dialed the correct number and that you are interested in helping them. It does set the tone for the rest of the conversation.

Once they let you know what they are looking for, it is good practice to ask questions for clarification. If you think you understand what they need, rehash what it is so they know that you understand. This can quiet the nervous type who feels like they need to repeat themselves. You are also demonstrating that you have good listening skills, which can inspire confidence in a potential client that you will give them what they ask.

It is perfectly fine not to give straight answers right away. I don’t mean ramble or avoid questions, but you don’t have to agree to a project over the phone if you aren’t ready. If they need a quote, make sure that you understand research requirements, deadline, piece length, etc. before you blurt out a price. You can always tell them that you need to call them back or email them within a day with a more solid answer. This is particularly a good idea if they caught you in the middle of something and your mind may not totally be in the conversation.

Before you end the chat, ask if they need anything else. Be polite and let them know when you plan to be in touch again. You might also want to be specific about the actions you will take before you speak again. For example, you might say something like, “I will have a more accurate quote for that ebook on arthritis you need by tomorrow night.” After that, it is up to you to deliver as promised.

For some freelance writers, it is much easier to type up a nice professional email than to actually speak to a stranger. Do you dread business calls like I do?


Wrestling with the Fear of Successful Freelance Writing

I have been dealing with some underlying issues that have affected my writing career recently. One of them is the fear of success. I was reminded of this when I came across a blog post about the fear of success and it talked about self-sabotoge and it really spoke to me. I must admit that there are ways that I have certainly self-sabotaged my writing subconsiously, and I am starting to realize why.

The fear of success can be paralyzing and distracting. I have found myself really wanting to succeed and yet I have really struggled at following through with my plan, purusuing the goals that I have set because I worry that I may not continue to be as successful as before or that if I do one thing well I will be exposed as some sort of fraud or someone will realize that I am not perfect and the clients will change their minds about me.

I am overcoming that fear now. I am ready to be successful, finally and I am not afraid of it anymore. I am ready to take the bull by the horns and just do what I need to do to make it.

Have you struggled with the fear of success?

Self-Respect and Working from Home

Being your own boss requires a certain amount of self-respect. You might think that you are worthy enough to be your own boss, but your actions might reveal that you undermine your own authority or abilities. There are certain limiting thought patterns and behaviors that will hold you back from reaching your full potential while working from home, and it is vital that you avoid them. He are some common ways that you might disrespect yourself as your own boss.

Procrastination. Everyone puts off work once in a while, but if you have made a routine out of placing other “priorities” over completing projects and taking care of important business tasks, you might be undermining the importance of what you do.

Mediocre or poor quality work. People who take pride in their career won’t settle for the products and services that are of poor quality or below the highest of standards. If you really respect yourself as a serious business professional, you won’t allow poor service or substandard products to carry your name or company name.

Undercharging. If you value your time and the effort that you put into your products and services, you won’t sell yourself short. Naturally, to be competitive, charging top dollar will not always work to your advantage, but you will charge a fair price that makes your labor worth while for you.

Focusing on mistakes or negative thoughts. Everyone thinks negative thoughts sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes. The truth is, however, that those negative thoughts and mistakes should not be your focus. Sometimes you need to work hard to think positively, but it is a worthwhile investment of energy.

Believing more in your limitations than your potential. Some people don’t believe that they truly have what it takes and are just “testing the waters.” These individuals often succumb to the thoughts that tell them that they just aren’t “cut out” for the job, even though they might actually be better at it than others. Have an accurate yet positive attitude regarding your abilities and don’t allow negativity to hinder your progress.

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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