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Thread: Phone call with potential client

  1. #1
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    Phone call with potential client

    Hi

    I just launched my business last month. So far, I have two sites that I am working on from people that I know fairly well. Just yesterday, I received, via email, the following ( I have xíd out info that might identify the business and her responses are in red, mine are in blue):

    My business offers xxx. I am serious xxx-xxx-xxxx.


    Now, I have to say that the ďI am seriousĒ part just didnít sit right with me for some reason. I know that there are a lot of prospective clients who are not serious or may even be scammers, so I am cautious about that. Also, I much prefer email correspondence, and admit that my dislike (fear) of speaking to a client over the phone may be clouding my intuition.

    So, I emailed this response:

    Thanks for contacting xxx. I see that your website address is parked. Is this a new business that you are launching? Itís always a joy to speak with someone launching a new venture. I have a few questions for you:

    Are you looking for web design services, content for your site or both?
    When would you like your website site to launch? *
    Also, what is your budget for this project?

    I look forward to hearing from you so that we can start the process of finding out more about your company and what you need.

    Sincerely,

    xxx



    They responded with:


    can i call you?* A bit easier for me to talk over the phone. thks

    So Iím not going to turn down this opportunity, nerves or not. And I think it is a good to just practice talking to people over the phone to become more comfortable. So I do a little research, sign up for Google voice and send them my number

    and this is the following exchange (her in red, me in blue),

    Yes, of course. I would love to speak with you over the phone. Iím in the central time zone, so it is 9:30 am right now. Would today, sometime after 3:00 pm (CST), work for you?



    sure.* I will call you around 5 pm my time if that works.

    Ok, so you are in xxx? That is an hour later than CST I believe, so that would be 4:00pm my time. That sounds great. My number is xxx-xxx-xxx I look forward to speaking with you,

    Thanks,

    She doesn't email me back but all is well, Iím a little nervous and excited. Until my phone rings at 12:30pm and I see that it is the potential client calling me 3.5 hours ahead of schedule I didnít answer and she did not leave a voicemail. Once again, my intuition is telling me something is not right because I just don't get why she would call 3.5 hours ahead of schedule or why she would make a point to say, "I am serious" in her initial email.

    Also, my business just launched and before I had a chance to promote it, I received the chance to work on two sites for people I know personally. So I don't know how she even found my site and picked me, etc. But maybe I am overthinking all of this.

    I thought the email that I sent earlier asking a few basic questions would be a good way to prescreen and did not count on the person not answering them, that was my newbie mistake. But now I would like to know what a good phone script would be to screen out anyone who is not serious, etc. I don't want to get cornered into giving a set answer on some things like cost without having a chance to have the person fill out a questionnaire about the potential job.

    This is my first business phone call and I just want to do it right.

    Thanks for any feedback.
    dwayne1964 likes this.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Now that she has your phone number, let her call and answer it.

    I'm just dying to know what she says.

    And if she has a foreign accent.
    ceah likes this.


  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    This sounds like a scam as well. Usually people can answer basic questions, even if they don't provide full details. What they offer is somewhat important as well...if they offer some vague, non-descript service it may be a red flag.

    What do they offer generally?
    ceah likes this.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    i think you're overly cautious here. you can be cautious, but you have to be willing to answer a phone to possibly get business.

    it's not like you're inviting this person into your home and they burglarize you and steal your food. no, it's just a phone call. if they are even a shady person (big if), the worst they can do is sell your phone number to a spam calling company or try to scam you over the phone, in which case, it'll be pretty damn obvious (i'll give you a down payment of $1000, but please take this $2000 credit card payment and then send $1000 paypal to my friend).

  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    I want to know what it's about just for the entertainment value.

    A few years ago, I got an email from someone that wanted help with a project. It turned out to be a scam where the guy wanted me to eventually send him money as a payment to be in a partnership. I strung him along for about three weeks. I even got him to send me (via postal service) some souvenirs from Africa (Nigeria to be exact). One package had a couple of 8 X 10 African prints, of some safari-type thing. Another package was a black plastic doll ... I thought maybe it was a voodoo doll. If I can find it, I should post a picture and see if anyone can tell me what it is. I of course never sent him money, but I did demonstrate a few PHP scripts that got him excited enough to mail things to me. He was my "best friend, sent to him from Our Almighty God" (as he mentioned in every email). He kept calling me "Boss". I don't know if that is a cultural thing, like "Sir"? Anyone in America being called "Boss" by an African man realizes the importance of that, pertaining to our past history. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

    If anyone else has an interesting story or experience like that, please post ...
    Last edited by mlseim; Mar 10th, 2015 at 04:50 PM.
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  7. #6
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    Hi,

    It's 7:45pm and the person never called me. I'm a little bummed it didn't turn out to be legitimate, but I'm kind of glad that my intuition turned out to be correct. I don't know WHAT all of that was about, what the intention was or is, I just felt that something was off.

    The actual message they initially sent was:

    My business offers wellness retreats and mindful eating workshops and coaching sessions for bariatric surgery patients. I am serious xxx-xxx-xxx



    Bizarre is all I can say.

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That sounds a little out in left field, but certainly not anything that should raise a red flag. I would suggest "probably legitimate, but possibly goofier than a pet coon." A lot of medical stuff out of the mainstream has an element of "space case" to it e.g. the physiotherapy places with the massage therapist that insists on putting on that sounds of the secluded Pacific island retreat CD or MP3 playlist on while she turns the lights down really low. It's often effective, but it can be pretty weird.

    Someone calling you early and not calling you late is not out of the ordinary, either. People do that all the time. They get their schedules mixed up. In fact, I'd suggest that would be consistent with someone in that sort of an industry.

    I think your intuition is off, but I suspect it might not be someone you're compatible with.
    ceah likes this.
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  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim View Post
    I want to know what it's about just for the entertainment value.

    A few years ago, I got an email from someone that wanted help with a project. It turned out to be a scam where the guy wanted me to eventually send him money as a payment to be in a partnership. I strung him along for about three weeks. I even got him to send me (via postal service) some souvenirs from Africa (Nigeria to be exact). One package had a couple of 8 X 10 African prints, of some safari-type thing. Another package was a black plastic doll ... I thought maybe it was a voodoo doll. If I can find it, I should post a picture and see if anyone can tell me what it is. I of course never sent him money, but I did demonstrate a few PHP scripts that got him excited enough to mail things to me. He was my "best friend, sent to him from Our Almighty God" (as he mentioned in every email). He kept calling me "Boss". I don't know if that is a cultural thing, like "Sir"? Anyone in America being called "Boss" by an African man realizes the importance of that, pertaining to our past history. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

    If anyone else has an interesting story or experience like that, please post ...
    Mine's not that good, but I do have a scam story.

    About 6-7 years ago, I got a call at 8:00 on a Saturday morning. Bear in mind that this was pre-design-crowdsourcing.

    "Hi, I'm on your website right now, and I want to see if you can work for our company."
    "Great! I'm available a few hours a week. What sort of business is it?"
    "We're a web design firm out of Windsor (Ontario)."
    "Okay, so what is it that you're looking for from me?"
    "Well, we want to give you a site to do for one of our clients to see if we like your work and if we want to use you."
    At this point, I sensed a red flag. "I'm not sure I understand. You'd be using me on a trial basis to build a site for your client."
    "Yes, exactly, a trial basis. That's what we want."
    "Okay, no problem. Just so you know, my hourly rate starts at..."
    "No, no, no, it's a trial basis."
    "I've worked with agencies in the past. I have several I've worked with that have given me 10, 15 sites to work on after seeing how well I did the first one."
    "Okay, so you do understand. You built the first site for free, right?"

    NOW
    the red flag is at full mast and flailing in the wind. "No, I didn't. They gave me small projects, usually a registration form or something simple, to see how I accomplished them."
    "Well, that's not how we do things. We do them on a trial basis."
    "Okay, then I would suggest doing as my other clients have done...give me a small task such as a form or a search function or an application to solve and see how we work together."
    "No, we want a full site."
    "Okay, so my hourly rate is..."
    "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! We're not going to pay you for the first site."
    "So you want me to build an entire site for you for free, without knowing anything about it, without knowing how complex it is, without knowing how many changes or alterations that will need to be made, just to see how I do things? If you want to see my work, there's a portfolio on my site."
    "We saw it. That doesn't answer our questions."
    "What questions do you have?"
    "How well you build OUR clients' sites. That's why you have to build the first one for free."

    At this point, it's clear that they're trying to get work for free, so I answered them simply. "First of all, I'm under no obligation to do anything for you just because you called me. There are other people who may be in a position where you might be able to take advantage of them. I'm not one of those people. Second, I charge..."

    * click *

    I never heard from them again. Too bad, too. I was looking forward to working for nothing for a complete stranger.
    mlseim, ceah and Vapr_Arts like this.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member breno's Avatar
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    I've had this, they get your information from when you register a domain, you get emails and phone calls. It all stopped when I changed email address and phone number. There is an option when paying for the domain to put it on a privacy list (i forgot what its called)

    I had a guy call me once, it was like he was on the street or something and he said, are you the registrar (of the domain I just parked) and I said yes and he said are you looking for a web designer, I have great service blah blah blah and I said no i'm going to do it myself and he hung up.
    ceah and TheGAME1264 like this.

  11. #10
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That's called a private registration. Some registrars (e.g. Sibername.com) offer it as a free service. That's why I primarily use them. Saves on a lot of those calls.

    That, and my VoIP provider has a portal where I can block most telemarketers before they even get to me. Saves a lot of grief that way.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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