What do you say when a lead comes to you from a bad experience with another freelancer?

I’m going to get up on my soapbox here for a minute, so if you don’t want to hear it, scroll down a little bit.

Over the past decade, I’ve run into many leads and clients that have had terrible experiences from flakey freelancers who have either disappeared, communicated poorly, didn’t deliver a project, or just didn’t set the expectations the client had.

If you are a freelancer in business, please, please, do right by your clients. Be honest and don’t get in over your head.

If you find yourself in a sticky spot, there’s nothing that communicating to the client can’t fix.

If you are a freelancer and asking questions like “how come clients don’t respect my value?” or “how do I charge more than bottom dollar hourly rates?” The big reason is that of these flakey freelancers who don’t do right by their clients and then those clients are jaded and don’t want to be burned again.

If nothing else is taken from this, please communicate clearly and often with your clients so that it raises the bar for all of us in the services based industry.

Rant over!

This is actually an easier answer than you may think.

Be empathetic

Tell them that you are very sorry and can appreciate their apprehension based on their past experience. I’m sure you’ve had bad experiences in the past with either a product or service, right?

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and support them. Don’t be confrontational.

Don’t throw anyone under the bus.

You only know one side of that story and you have no knowledge of the situation. However, you can call upon your own experiences of bad service in the past and how that made you feel.

You have your guard up and don’t want to be burned again, and that is exactly how they feel too.

Reflect the conversation back to how they found you

Once you are able to put your arm around them, next reference back to how they found you.

If it’s a referral, that’s great, because referencing the person’s name you pull that trust factor back into the conversation.

If it’s by some other means, say an article or podcast you were in, mention that big takeaway. No doubt it’s the reason why they wanted to get you to work with them in the first place.

Give them confidence

Tying in that takeaway, ensure them that they won’t find themselves in a similar place again because of how you run your business.

Share with them some behind the scenes workflows and processes if you need to.

But what you want to do is instill confidence quickly that you’ve got things under control.

By talking through these 3 points, you’ll find that most of that initial baggage the lead has, will be put aside. What you want to keep in mind though as you work together is that baggage is not gone.

They will be on the watch for the signals of getting burned again, so you need to be as well so that the trust you’ve developed and earned doesn’t chip away.


You rock! 🤘


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