Written by Mat Casner

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So, you’re hustling for clients and you get a call: “Hey Mat, I think I need a website and I hear you build them. Can you help?”

When I started out as a freelancer 20 years ago an eager, “Yes! Let’s get started!” was the obvious answer. But as I’ve matured in my business, I’ve realized that often business owners have a limited understanding of what they need in order to achieve a solution, so they come to me with what they know: they want a website. Or rather, they THINK they need a website. 

Here’s where you hit the PAUSE button, and schedule a discovery call. 

You probably already know the discovery call is a crucial step in sussing out what the client actually needs, as well as whether or not you’re the person to fulfill those needs. But it is also critical in establishing trust with the client; because if you can do that, you’ve got the gig.

Watch the video below or scroll down to read my discovery call strategy to landing clients.

1. Listen

Avoid a kneejerk reaction, (“Yes I’ll build your site!”) and just listen during the discovery call. When a client reaches out for your services, they will ask you questions based on the limited information and knowledge they have about the solution.

Before you jump back with a response, just listen.

They’re going to tell you what they need, and that information is going to be crucial to not only helping you develop an accurate solution to their problem, it’s also going to help develop a sense of trust between you and your potential client.

2. Ask Why – Then Ask Again

Asking why will help you (and the client) get to the center of what the problem really is. Maybe they want more sales. Or maybe they want help creating a different identity in their market space. Perhaps they’re trying to recruit new individuals to partner with them, or grow their network, or find donors.

Whatever the situation is, you need to get to the WHY. Keep digging down until you find their ultimate goal or outcome with the project.

Be meticulous in listening to what they say, and take notes during the call. This is going to be the prescriptive problem that you are going to solve. 

3. Build a Solution

Here’s where the client is yours to win. Based on what you’ve learned about what your client strives to achieve, you must articulate a plan that will meet their goal. 

Remember, they don’t really WANT a new logo/website/service! They are trying to solve a real problem in their business and they think a new website or logo is going to do it for them. They want a solution, not the thing. Keep that in mind.

Your clients are unlikely to know what the entire solution looks like for their business and it’s up to you to help create a holistic plan that solves the problem, then communicate the solution to them along with the price. By diving in and understanding their problem, it may mean there are additional services needed that they weren’t even aware of. 


Resist the temptation to be overly technical in your communication. As creatives and technical people, we know the jargon and lingo, but we need to remember your client probably doesn’t. We don’t want their heads spinning with confusion, we want them to have a clear, concise definition of the solution so we don’t scare them off! 

And finally, remember the biggest challenge we have as freelancers is creating trust with the people we serve. When we are able to close any gaps in trust, it means we’ve got a sale ready to happen.

If you’d like to get additional trainings like this each week, along with accountability and answers to your freelancing questions, I invite you to join my free community on Facebook. I pop in and answer questions and love helping fellow freelancers start and grow their businesses. Join me at fb.com/groups/freelanceonfire.

Download your free blueprint to getting started as a freelancer here: www.freelanceceo.com/blueprint

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