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What never to say on a client phone call

By 04/04/2014August 12th, 20225 Comments

what never to say to on a client phone call

It’s the moment of truth. Your lead magnet did its job – it generated a lead.  (You do have a lead magnet, right?)

You’ve scheduled a phone call with the prospective client. Now what?

Well, first you’re going to do the proper research. Stay tuned a couple posts from now and we’ll come back to that.

And the next blog post I’ll tell you what you should say on these phone calls.

Today, I want to tell you what not to say.

I haven’t always done this right. But over the past year or so I’ve refined my phone technique, style, and line of questioning.

The result? A closing rate of 57% , my biggest project to date, and some good, ongoing monthly client work.

The top three things you never want to say to prospective clients:

1. “Sure, I can start right away.”

Want to exude an air of desperation? Say this, and you’re basically telling them that you’ve been sitting around waiting for their call.

You have nothing else lined up in the foreseeable future, and no matter what they’re going to pay you, you’ll take it!

Not exactly a position of strength, is it? Okay, so that one’s a no-brainer, and I’ll explain next time what to say instead.

2. “Who is your target audience?”

Wait a minute. This sounds like a legitimate question, doesn’t it? Isn’t asking about the target audience one of the most basic things you should ask?

If you haven’t done your homework, this is a good question. But you have done your research (we’ll cover this two posts from now), and you won’t schedule a phone call like this until you have.

I’ll also share with you a better way to frame this next time.

3. “What is your budget?”

I know I’m going to get some serious flack for this one. Many copywriters would tell you this is one of the first questions you should ask.

The theory is that if they don’t have the money to pay you what you’re worth, why waste time talking to them? By asking this question, you get a good idea if they’re in the ballpark with what you normally charge, right?


Do you really think the prospect is going to tell you exactly what their budget is? No way. That’s like asking them right up front, “How much would you like to pay me?”

Ask them before you’ve established your value, their need, and exactly how you can help them, and you’ll get a false answer.

If their real budget is $10,000, they might tell you $5,000. Then you’ll structure your proposal to come in right at or slightly under $5,000.

That’s not very creative, you’re leaving money on the table, and it’s doing them a disservice.

Don’t put prospects on the spot by asking this question. There’s a better way to handle it, which I’ll cover in my next post.

There you go. Three things you don’t want to say to prospective clients. Eliminate these, find a better way to frame the conversation (next blog post), and you’ll land more projects.

How about you? What is one thing that you’ve learned not to say to prospects on the phone? I’d love to hear from you, and so would your fellow copywriters. Let us know here.

Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Sandy Smith-Queen says:

    I am so new and studying everything I can get my hands on. This is the first time I have read lead magnet. Is it a magnetic business card?

    • Steve Roller says:

      Sandy, “lead magnet” is another term for “bait piece” – something like a free report, an ebook, or some giveaway on your website that addresses your audience’s number one pain point or challenge. The idea is to give them something of value in exchange for them giving you their email address. You can then start building trust with them and adding more value by having them on your email list. The “lead magnet” is the first of what are usually five steps in the marketing funnel to get people in your pipeline, engage them, deliver value, and offer products or services for them to buy.

      I’ll delve into the different components of the marketing funnel in future posts. Stay tuned…

  • sandy says:

    Thank You for taking the time to answer my question, as I was completely wrong!

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