• Health, Advice

Phone calls with prospective clients are an anxious freelancer's worst nightmare

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

One in five people suffer with anxiety disorder, according to Mental Health America. I am one of those people. It's called generalized anxiety disorder.

I want you to think about something for a moment. You e-mail a company you want to partner with out of the blue. You took the chance to let them know you exist.

Without that initial contact, you know they wouldn't even realize you exist. Why would they when they are a powerhouse of money with more customers than they know what to do with?

You are biting your fingernails as you await their reply with a newfound nervousness. That's when you notice it – that e-mail from the marketing manager, wanting to call you for a chat.

You feel your heart drop into your stomach and then rise into your throat all over again. Why did you even e-mail them when you knew they would ask for a phone call?

Phone Calls: My Worst Nightmare

You can feel the fear in your throat as you wonder if you're going to throw up at the thought of calling them. What the heck were you thinking by asking for a phone call?

This is the type of scenario I deal with every day as a freelancer with an anxiety disorder. Prospects wanting phone calls with me make me want to vomit.

They fill me with fear and make me want to hide underneath my bedsheets. I want to share some insight about these phone calls with prospects to give you new perspective.

"The prospect is already interested in your services."

Yeah, that's right. I wrote it that way on purpose. You piqued the prospect's interest when you e-mailed them.

Nine times out of ten, I hate to say but I will, you e-mailed them at the exact right time. You couldn't have timed it better and you didn't even know it.

Chances are, the client already needed your services. They're busy with other projects and can't perform the services that you can. It is your chance to swoop in and save their day. Cliche, I know, but you get the picture.

When the prospective client asks for a phone call, they want to speak with the person behind the e-mail. They want to find out more about your services and why you reached out to them.

"You don't have to sell anything other than your personality."

When I first started as a freelancer, I didn't realize that I wouldn't have to sell myself during these calls. I thought this would be a call where I'd have to prove myself to the prospective client.

Instead, my first interaction over the phone proved to be quite different than that. The man, the VP of a non-profit organization, wanted to know more about me to hear it from my own lips.

You could definitely say I walked away from the call, shocked, when he told me of his interest in my services. I couldn't believe what I was hearing at first.

That turned out to be my first client. We are still working together and he taught me a very valuable lesson.

When you send someone a cold e-mail, you aren't telling them everything about you. You are telling them a piece of that pie and they want more pieces of it. That's why they want that call with you.

The fact of the matter is, they want to know more about you. They do want to know more about your services, which is why you only have to be yourself in these calls.

Clients want natural interactions with the freelancer they might end up hiring. They don't want you to be anything you're not. If you fake this part of the process, you could lose them.

"They want to see if you are a good fit for the money."

To be frank here, they want to see if you're worth the money you want them to pay you. The prospect wants to see if you can provide the ROI (return on investment) for their "hard-earned" money.

They will never tell you this outright, of course, but they do want to know more about what you charge. They might also ask why you charge the amount you do but your website should answer that.

A lot of clients will look at your website before getting on the call with you to get a better idea of who you are. They want to know why you contacted them and if you're an expert in their industry.

The chances are higher of them hiring you at your highest rates if you can prove to them that you can provide a great ROI. And why wouldn't they? A great freelancer is a great investment, right?

"They have questions they want answered before hiring you."

I've also had calls where the prospect asks questions of you before they hire you. They want to hire you before jumping on the phone with you but they have some questions for you first.

They might ask you if you provide x, y, or z service that might not be on your website. This has happened to me enough times that I have added those services to my website in the end.

They might want to know what happens after they tell you they want to hire you. This question always comes up at the end of phone calls with prospects.

They'll want a quote for the services you're giving them and want to know how to pay. Most freelancers ask for 25% of the invoice amount upfront, if not 50%. I ask for 25% on a personal note.

Ready to Get on that Darn Phone with Prospects?

According to Mental Health America, over 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. I am one of them but I work around that anxiety to build the freelance business of my dreams.

I know there is a lot of anxiety around the thought of jumping on the phone with a prospective client. It's worth it when you use the tips outlined above.

I can assure you the client already wants to hire you before they even jump on the phone with you. That has happened to me 100% of the time!

Ready to get some clients and stop complaining about a lack of results in the client-getting game? Let me know in the comments below!

Lizzie is a freelance writer who writes blog posts for the health and wellness niche. She is addicted to Facebook and chocolate. Want to talk blog posts? Go to her website at!