Due to the rising number of quick call requests I get from prospective customers, I decided to dedicate a blog post on the topic. It appears I really need to convey the message that we, freelancers, are not just sitting around waiting for someone to ask us to talk on Skype, with no preliminary information whatsoever.
Quick call requests vs proper inquiries from prospective customers
I have a detailed contact form on my Hire me page. It’s not an accident – I put it there on purpose.
The fact that I have put a detailed contact form on that page means I do need that information when you contact me for possible collaboration.
Yes, not all fields are required but that’s because not all projects require the same preliminary information. Nevertheless, taking your quick call is not really an option and I will explain why. Read on.
What happens when a prospective customer sends me a quick call request
When I receive a message through my ‘Hire me’ page with nothing else but the client’s name and email address with a request for a “quick call”, it raises a red flag that this prospective client might not be a good one – if nothing else, they ignored the questions I asked on the very same page they contacted me through. Not a good start, wouldn’t you say?
Such emails suggest the client doesn’t respect my time and/or preferences. They most probably think I have nothing better to do than to meet with them; and that I automatically start hoping I will land their job only because they asked nicely to meet.
And what’s even worse – ignoring my preliminary questions and asking for a quick call anyway suggests they are choosing the freelancers with whom they work but they don’t think a freelancer gets to choose the clients with whom he or she works.
Please know that the “quick call” you want is never just a quick call
To talk to you on Skype, I need to set time for it. I need to set time to research who you are and what you do. I need time to arrange my schedule in order to meet yours – which means I need to rearrange the rest of the items on my calendar, too; which in turn impacts the rest of my work and my current clients’ projects.
Why would I do all of this if I am not interested to work on your project; or if I don’t have the needed availability; or if I am not even able to help you?
When you give me preliminary information, I can decide in advance if I am interested, available and able to help – and only then take the extra steps to meeting with you, if need be.
What would happen if I started taking quick call requests without preliminary information
I get between 5 and 10 customer inquiries via email each week. If I speak to every prospective customer who asks for a quick call – this is up to 5 hours spent in speaking on Skype alone; and at least 5 more hours spent in preparing for meetings and recapping afterwards. These amount for up to 10 hours per week.
If I were to take all quick call requests I get without any preliminary info, 2 things would happen:
- I would waste 10 hours accommodating the needs of prospective clients with whom I have no idea if I want to work or not
- I won’t have much time left to do any actual work
From where I stand, these are 10 hours gone to waste for one reason only – because the prospective client didn’t bother addressing the questions I asked in advance.
A few reasons why I wouldn’t meet with a prospective customer without preliminary information:
- I might not be interested in working on their project – e.g. because I don’t like their product or service, I can’t relate to it, I wouldn’t buy it for myself, etc.
- I might not have the time to work on their project – e.g. their project would require 10 hours per week for 6+ months and I have only 5 available per week within the next couple of months
- I might not be able to talk to them in real time for some reason – e.g. I am traveling, I am unable to rearrange my schedule on short notice, I don’t have available time slots in their preferred time zone, etc.
- A request for a quick call without preliminary information is not professional from my point of view because they are forcing me to come to a meeting unprepared
- I am not competent enough to help them – e.g. they need SEO and SEM consultancy; and while I can help on strategic level with their SEO, I am totally not suitable to manage their Google AdWords or PPC campaigns.
Bottom line – I do have reasons for asking all prospective customers those questions in advance.
The more preliminary information you give me, the less time we will waste and the better chances we’d meet on Skype and maybe work together, eventually.
I sure don’t have a problem to talk to you on Skype or elsewhere –but to do so, I need to know I am interested in working with you and on your project; I need to know I am able to help you; I need to know I am not wasting my time… and to know that, I need all my preliminary questions answered.
I respect your time – please, respect mine. If you are truly interested in working with me, invest the 10 minutes (or less) needed to complete the detailed contact form on my ‘Hire me’ page. This is the first step toward successful collaboration.
Ignoring my questions and sending me a quick call request anyway is a red flag and is a sure way for you to get rejected. Yes, I too chose the people I work with and the projects I work on!