So the perfect potential client has just landed in your inbox and you are determined to absolutely nail this consultation call and get them on the calendar STAT!

But what should you say?

Believe it or not, it’s not so much about talking about you!

(Or how long you’ve been a designer, your super-genius coding skills, how many websites you’ve built or which impressive publication or platform you’ve recently been featured on!)

It’s actually about asking the right questions and getting your potential client to talk about themselves!

By asking/listening rather than talking, you are:

  • Taking the lead, establishing your authority as a web designer

    Your client might have a general idea of what they want their site to look like, but beyond that they likely have zero idea how this is all done and have probably never worked with a designer before.

    They are looking to you to take the lead because after all you’re the expert (even if you don’t feel the part quite yet!)

    Plus, if your website is set up right, it’s already done the “selling” for you, so this is less about them interviewing you to see if YOU are a good fit, and more about you interviewing them to see if THEY are a good fit!

  • Making them feel seen and heard in their current struggle

    Your client is probably more nervous than you are for this 1:1 call.

    They are getting ready to drop a serious chunk of change on this project, and want to be reassured that you have their best interest (and not just your bank account) in mind.

    Asking the right questions, and really listening creates the impression that besides being a super talented, knowledgable designer, you also happen to care the most, and are passionate about finding out about their needs. This simple fact goes a long way in building the trust needed for them to say yes to working with you!

  • Picking up important clues about the project scope

    Your client is not a designer. (That’s why they are looking to hire you!)

    It’s 100% possible, they’ve never heard of third party integrations, custom CSS, or SEO, so they won’t be able to give you an accurate scope without a little investigative work on your end.

    All they know is their current website, or lack thereof, doesn’t do all the things they want it to, and their idea of a “basic website” or a “simple design refresh” might be drastically different from yours!

    Asking questions will help you to form a better picture of what it is they are envisioning so you can both be on the page when it comes time to send over a proposal!

So, what sort of questions should you be asking?

5 things to say to your potential client on a free consultation call

1. “Do you mind if I record our call?”

“I don’t want to miss a single detail, but I’d like to be able to chat with you without being worried about taking notes!”

If you end up really vibing with a client, you are going to want to remember what they said during the call!

But unless you are a super efficient note taker, scrambling to take notes can prove to be a major distraction for both you and your potential client.

Asking permission to record the call frees you up to be present with that person, and engage with them in a much for authentic way.

This allows conversation to flow much more naturally, as if they are discussing their hopes, dreams, and plans for their business with a friend, rather than a total stranger who is staring down at their notepad the whole time!

You can always review the call for any important info you’ll need for whipping up that proposal!

2. “Tell me about your business!”

Rather than diving straight into questions about the scope or design of the project, take some time to hear from them in their own words what it is they do!

Their business name may feel like a pretty obvious giveaway for what they do, but hearing the ‘why’ and the heart behind what they do and why they started their business can provide some pretty helpful insights into what to be including in the design to help them set their business apart.

You aren’t just designing a pretty website based after all!

You (along with whoever is handling their site copy or website words) are helping them strategically position themselves as the no-brainer best option for the exact people they are hoping to serve!

3. “What would you like your visitors to be able to do on your website?”

This question trumps “how many pages do you need?” every time!


Because most people have no idea how many pages they need!

In their research, they might have come across several designers who were basing their least expensive packages around a 5 page website, and figured that sounded good to them!

But since no two websites are the same, and a long scrolling page is very different from a short, basic contact page, it’s really important to ask what all your client is hoping their visitor can accomplish so you can get a feel for just how big this project will really be!

This will also reveal any expectations they have for their site that might not fit with what you can personally offer, or what is possible on the platform you design on!

If it is something that falls outside the scope of what your chosen platform can natively do, you’ll want to be able to give a heads up about any additional costs that might come up to achieve that function on their site, such as custom coding or even purchasing a third-party plugin!

Besides finding out what features and functions they need their site to perform, this is also a fabulous time just to get a feel for what their visitor’s site journey would need to look like (which greatly affects the design!)

4. “What do you hope having a new/better website will accomplish in your business?”

“What would it mean to your business to have a website that can do XYZ? “

This is just another great way of basically asking “what are you struggling with on your current website?”

But rather than them just talking about all they are frustrated with, and saying “Yep, I can fix that!” you are actively helping them dream about what it would be like to say yes to working with you!

You are helping them to picture exactly what could change in their business and life if they invested in a new website TODAY, and basically letting them do the convincing THEMSELVES that they can’t afford to keep putting this project off if they want to see growth in their business!

5. Use the same words and phrases they do to talk about their business

The quickest way to make someone feel understood, and like you can actually help them is to take special note of the way they talk about their business, their struggles, and the dreams they have for their website, then make use of those same words and phrases in your responses (and in that proposal you’ll send their way after the call!)

Maybe they expressed that they are struggling to get people to visit their website and how they wish they could find a way to get on page one of Google!

Rather than confuse them with fancy “designer talk” about all the BTS steps you would take and the backend settings you would change to increase organic SEO to their site, use the same phrases they did to talk about that issue!

“Together we will create a design that not only looks good, but is actually Google friendly! Making it easier for your ideal clients to discover your business!”

Not only will your potential client feel heard, but you will also keep your client from experiencing the major (project-killing) overwhelm that comes from hitting them with a firehose of techy, completely-over-their-head information!

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5 things to say on a free client consultation call