You know how it goes, someone contacts you and wants to find out more about "how do you work". God, I loathe that phrase. How do you work? Absolutely fabulously, uh duh! Anyway...
If you find a prospect who wants to work with you, but wants to hop on the phone with you to discuss their project (for free), you need to set the stage for the call. You are leading this from beginning to end.
*Note: If you are going to their home for this initial interior design consult, charge them. This way you can feel free to share ideas and not leave the appointment feeling used. Also it shows the client that you are serious about your business, not some desperate hussy, because you KNOW your expertise is valuable. And you're obviously not a hussy.
So here's Joan. She emails you and wants to set up a time to talk to you about working together. Well, you need to Joan to jump through a couple hoops first. Why? Because you're a top-shelf bitch and you don't just talk to anyone who has a wild design hair up their ass.
You direct Joan to fill out your application so she can hop on the phone with you. You can find out those important details about her project to see if she may be a fit for your business. She may not be and that's what your application is there to do so you don't hop onto a call with someone who has wild design fantasies.
Joan fills out the application, you accept and she schedules her appointment to talk to you. Before you hop on this call with her, send Joan an agenda. An outline of how the call will go.
When you do hop on the phone with Joan, lead the conversation. Briefly go over how the call will go and begin.
This is your opportunity to interview Joan. Joan may have thought she was jumping on the call to "pick your brain" but instead you are going to find out if Joan is the dream client you work with.
Get an application in place so you can decide if a phone call is prudent.
Outline the agenda for your discovery calls.
Practice with a friend who will play the role of "Joan".
Remember that the purpose of the free initial interior design consult call isn't to give them anything.
When you hop on a call with the lawyer, he isn't telling you how to win the case. He wants to see if your case is one that he can win. He finds that out by asking you questions. You have the same job.