The first call with a new design client can be intimidating. You’ll want to make a good first impression, start the relationship off on a good foot, and truly understand their needs so you can leave them with more than what they asked for. This initial meeting, whether a phone call or a Zoom meeting, is what many of us in the industry call a "discovery call." Discovery calls are essential to not only learn what a client may need for us but to also understand if the client is a good fit for what we offer.
Nailing this call is certainly an art - one that can easily rattle any new freelance designer. If you're anything like me, being in the company of an Adobe program is much easier than talking to other people. Nonetheless, with a plan of action for your next discovery call, you can master the art of onboarding and get started on a meaningful rebrand right away.
So what does a strong discovery call look like? What kinds of questions should you ask when talking to a prospect for the first time?
After my first few months of being a full-time designer, I've developed this structure to get to know my clients and their needs better, along with a few examples of what I might say:
Start the call with a friendly greeting. Let them know how the conversation will unfold and take the opportunity to foster a connection.
Thanks so much for hopping on this call! I just wanted to take the next 20 minutes to get a deeper understanding of your needs to help you make the most out of your rebrand.
2. About the business
Get to know the business owner, the goods or services they offer, and what their typical customer journey may look like.
Why did you start this business?
How do your clients find you?
What does it take to close a sale?
How would you describe your business in three words?
3. Project Details
Be careful not to dive into strategy and reserve your creative ideas for after you're officially hired. Get just enough information you need to provide your client with an estimate.
On my contact form, you mentioned you would need both digital and print marketing materials along with the new logo. What kinds of collateral did you have in mind?
4. Your process and pricing
This is your chance to establish healthy boundaries before the project start. Let them in on your creative process and provide an estimate for turnaround time and prices.
I usually provide my clients with three drafts of the logo design along with moodboards and color palette concepts within 10 days. For everything else we discussed, I can create those materials in the 20 days following for around $1,300. Does that work for you?
Sometimes, clients will resist your pricing if they don't understand the industry or value of your services. Don't feel offended when they're apprehensive. Share your value proposition and let them know what is possible, if anything, with a more realistic budget.
5. Wrap up
Let your client know what the next steps are, what they can expect from you, and when.
I can send you a final invoice, a scope of work with milestones and contract after our call. You should receive an email from me within the next hour! Of course, ask me any questions you have if they come up.
Easy enough, right? Tailor your conversation to answer the questions you need to develop an impressive and memorable rebrand for your client. Like with anything, practice makes perfect and prior planning will give you the confidence you need before your discovery call.
P.S. I share tips for thriving in design on my Instagram, @genesis.creates, where you can save this checklist for easy reference later :)
Genesis Cosme is a graphic designer and digital marketer based in Miami, Florida. She has over five years of experience in helping small businesses and startups find their creativity to compete amongst giants. Contact Genesis.