This post is part of a series in which I build a brand new blog from scratch and make 4 figures monthly from it in 3 – 6 months. The has blog already reached its 4 figure goal in 2 months and I’m on track to hit 5 figures monthly from it in 6 months’ time. You can find all the posts in the series on this page. On the 24th of December, 2012, I got a “hire me” email from a potential client in the radiology niche through my “blogging challenge” blog. The client discovered me from a guest post that went live on a major blog that morning and wanted like me to work on his website. Here’s how the discussion went: My email 1 (replying to the message the client submitted through my “hire me” page) Client email 1 My email 2 Client email 2 In case you’re wondering, I lost that deal and the “Client 2” email above was the last one I received from this potential client; even though I sent two follow up emails after our call. I’ll explain how everything happened in this article as well as how you can benefit from it.
This deadly mistake cost me a Five Figure Client
To most people, the above emails show harmless communication, and they seem as natural as possible so there was no reason for me to lose such a deal. Unfortunately, the mistake I made started with my second email. Whenever I get an email from potential clients, I analyze their website, their industry, what they need and a few other factors to determine how much they’ll be worth to me in the long run. If a client, like the above, seems like someone who will contribute a lot to my freelance writing business on the long run, I try to invite them on Skype.
Here are a few reasons I do this:
1. It makes it easy for me to understand their needs
2. It makes it easy for me to explain what they will be getting
3. I can observe their response to my messages – the pause, silence, excitement etc. – and as a result determine what step to take to close the deal
4. When most clients are on Skype and are excited, they are more likely to pay me if I ask for high rates. If it’s via email, they would have longer than necessary (time wise) to think about my offer. They may have some objections and as a result propose a lower rate.
5. I’d have lost the advantage of detecting their emotions from their response and can’t propose the “perfect” offer. This will make me uneasy and psychologically disadvantaged, hence increasing my chances of charging a lower rate.
Unfortunately, I’m not very confident with my accent and try to avoid audio calls as much as possible. What I meant by “getting on Skype” was to chat via text and communicate with the client until we reach an agreement. This potential client misunderstood my meaning, and instead of correcting him, I went ahead with his plan.
What I was thinking then was, “it won’t hurt to try audio this time at least!” As I agreed with the client, I logged in to Skype, dialled his phone number and started talking. As you’d expect from a third-world writer who sits in front of the computer – or television – all day, who is nervous about audio and has a very thick accent most people can barely understand, I foiled the call. I was stammering all through and the client would probably have perceived this as lack of confidence on my part or not knowing what I’m doing. I lost the client.
Essentially, what I’ve been saying is: I lost control of the situation and gave that control to the client. In most cases, when this happens to a freelance writer, if it doesn’t result in the writer being cheated it’ll result in a lost deal. That was a very painful lesson to learn, but I’m glad I did!
The Most Important Factor when Closing Deals
I’ve communicated with a lot of clients in my short career as a freelance writer and by analyzing the deals I’ve won and the deals I’ve lost, one thing I’ve realized when I close important deals is that I’m the one in control. It doesn’t matter how great your offer is, you need to be in the right condition to present it effectively. You need to be in control. For those who are wondering, some of my biggest deals – I’m talking about massive five-figure deals here – were closed via Skype chat or email. In other words, plain text. So you don’t necessarily have to call potential clients to close the deal, at least if you’re following the approach I teach.
Next time you get a client, make sure you’re the one in control of the atmosphere; what you say, where it is said and how it is said. If one of these aspects goes wrong, you’re potentially at the mercy of your client. What major mistakes have you made in your freelance writing career that have cost you clients? Comment below and share this article with your friends!