If you want to strike gold as a freelancer you need to maintain strong relationships in all areas of life. In particular, you need to show your clients that you’re a trusting and caring freelancer who deals with work efficiently. To do this you’ll have to spend time treasuring the client-freelancer relationship.
There are several traits that clients value in people completing work for them. In order to build a good relationship you’ll need to demonstrate that you possess all of them, and show this at times when it’s most important.
Honesty is the Best Policy
A shady freelancer isn’t one you want to trust with your money, or your project. If you’re working with someone who fails to disclose important details or goes off grid for weeks at a time, you should ask yourself if you can really trust them. A freelancer who is good at their job and wants to help you will be open and honest from the word go.
Send out a brief email to clients outlining what they should expect from you, how your pricing system works and how long they should expect to wait for a response from you. Tell them any information that they might want to know further down the line. This will cut down the number of questioning emails, giving you more time to work on their project.
The most important part of your client relationship is communication. Failing to engage often enough could cause a misunderstanding that makes you look unprofessional. Answer all their questions and reply within a reasonable time frame to avoid any angry emails.
Sometimes you’ll get a client who has a question a day. Emails are one of the dreaded things that seriously eat into your productivity and reduce the amount of time you have to complete work. One way to reduce their effect on your work is to set designated times in the day to check them. Explain this system to your clients and you’ll be able to get on with work uninterrupted and keep your clients happy.
Reward Loyal Clients
The more seasoned freelancers among us will know that rewarding loyal clients is (or at least, should be) part and parcel of being a good freelancer. The obviously appreciate your work and believe you’re talented – why else would they come back to you time and time again? Don’t forget the regulars in your plight to build new relationships.
Whether you want to offer them a freebie or send them some flowers, they’re bound to be touched by your appreciation. Remember, these are the ones who will be referring you the most new clients and singing your praises, so don’t be afraid to keep them sweet!
If you want to keep regular clients, keep your prices consistent. If you offer a service at a reasonable price that you then decide to double the next week, there will be backlash. Regular clients certainly won’t be happy with any unexpected charges or additional costs.
If you feel that a price change is necessary but don’t want to damage your client relationships, there’s certain etiquette that will win you brownie points. Don’t spring a price change on your clients. Send out an email with a full explanation of your change and clarify why it’s necessary. Clients will see that you’ve thought the decision through, rather than made it on impulse. This will give clients a chance to adjust to the change, ask any questions and decide if they want to continue with you, or if they want to find someone else for the next project. Even if some of your clients end up leaving at least your relationship will be intact.
Prioritize Clients Depending on Deadlines
Being organised is an asset all freelancers are expected to have. Not meeting your deadlines won’t do your reputation any good. Clients will begin to trust you less and those relationships that you strived to build will take start to turn rotten.
Any heartache can be easily avoided if you simply plan ahead. If you start delivering an inconsistent quality of work to your clients, they’ll be less likely to come back to you – just as if you had missed a deadline. Play it safe and don’t take on more work than you can handle. If you need to turn work away, don’t be afraid to so.
Remember; they’re People!
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re talking to a robot. Make your communication personable and friendly if you want a real bond with your clients. A lot of the time clients choose a freelancer because they feel that their personalities will work well together, or they appreciated their unique way of working. Keep this in mind when you’re communicating with your clients and let your individuality shine through.
Even by just asking how their weekend was or sending your congratulations on a company milestone is a good way to start a conversation that doesn’t revolve completely around work. They won’t think you’re unprofessional for a simple friendly word (and if they do, do you really want to be working with them?).
What are your tricks for keeping your clients sweet? Leave your comments in the section below or tweet us @PandleCloud!