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Why “jumping on a call” is not always the best thing

Moan time. Or maybe “alternative way of looking at the same thing” time.

You often hear people saying “why not just pick up the phone?”. “I like to get on a call with them”. “What’s wrong with speaking with them?”

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it.

It’s an interruption.

When I’m deep in work, an interruption of 30 seconds can knock me off my stride for 30 minutes or more. It takes time for me to get back to where I was, for me to straighten my head out again. I need to focus and to concentrate and that focus is easily lost.

But my work is mission-critical for some of my clients. So I need to keep my phone on just in case they ring me with an urgent problem (and they have multiple offices and I don’t know all their numbers).

In that case, I want to be interrupted, because it’s costing them money.

But for someone I don’t really know trying to figure out whether they can sell me something I probably don’t want …

Your call is costing me money. Because I’m losing a significant amount of productive time.

That’s why I don’t want you looking up my number and just “jumping on a call with me”.

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Getting paid

I used to worry about asking to get paid. I still do. There is (was?) some part of me that feels like a scumbag because I’m asking for money.

But it’s not actually like that. I realised that my clients WANT to give me money.

One client is struggling because their client can’t afford to pay them. But they are putting a plan in place to make sure I get paid. They want to pay me.

I’ve got a new client and I was holding off writing the contract because I thought they weren’t ready. He rang me up, interrupting me, and made me do it.

I had a coaching client and I was struggling to charge him because I was unsure if what I was doing was helping or not. He kept ringing me up reminding me to send him an invoice.

People WANT to pay you. They want to give you a fair rate. They trust you to do a good job and they know what that’s worth.

The clients who battle you on price – they don’t believe in you – and they’re invariably the cheapskates who never get what they want.

So don’t work for them.

You know you’re good at what you do. That’s why you dropped everything to work for yourself.

Find the clients who can see that. Find the clients who value what you do.

They’re out there. You just need to look in the right places.

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What’s the budget?

Isn’t it nice when a potential client tells you their budget before you put together your proposal?

That way you can be sure you hit their numbers perfectly.

But let’s face it, it doesn’t happen often does it? Budget is a closely guarded secret, an adversarial tool in the war of attrition between you and your client.

Firstly, why is it so adversarial? That’s surely a bad sign for your future relationship. That’s why, for some of us, putting prices up front is helpful – it acts as a filter.

But you can also spin this around.

Instead of asking “how much are you willing to spend?” You can ask “what are you going to gain from this?” “If everything goes according to plan what difference does this make to your business?”

Everyone loves to talk about how great their idea is and you can use their measures of success to calculate the value of the project.

And then use that to price your proposal.