The single most important aspect of growing your business is creating happy clients.
But creating lasting client relationships can be difficult, especially as a freelancer.
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Distance, time zones, cheaper competitors, and (if you work together long enough) the rare mistake often erode client relationships or make them tough to form in the first place.
So whether you feel like a previously good relationship has slipped a bit or just want to strengthen the bond with a client you really love to work with, try these tips to separate your business from the crowd.
In all forms of communication, be excited to communicate with them. Try phrases like:
“Great to hear from you!”
“Hope you had a lovely weekend!”
“Yay! Another project.”
“Woo hoo! Let’s get rockin’.”
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Don’t be afraid to use exclamation points and smiley faces. After all, many of your clients chose a freelancer like you because they want to work with a real person instead of a stuffy business.
As freelancers, almost all of us get anxious about client phone calls. I still do even though I’m on the phone an average of 5-8 times per week. (Truth be told, I’m anxious about an upcoming one right now.)
And when we get anxious, we usually ramble.
However, the very best thing you can do is fight the urge to keep talking. Stop and listen. Ask relevant questions. Take notes on your conversation.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey
If you’re always struggling to think of relevant questions, you’re probably thinking about your reply instead of listening to your client.
Example: Your client says they really want blue as the prominent color. Whether you agree or not, the obvious question is “What draws you to this color? Why do you feel like blue is the right color for this project?” But if you’re already formulating your objection or agreement, you might miss this valuable opportunity to learn why blue is such an important color to them.
Listen. Hear what they have to say.
Only when they’re done talking should you respond.
Repeat back to your client what you’ve understood so you know you’re on the same page. Use the same words / phrases they do.
This shows you’ve been paying attention to the conversation, and you’d be surprised how many clients will thank you for being the first person to really hear what they have to say.
Then respond with your comments / ideas / suggestions / explanation.
The coolest thing about listening?
Once you get the hang of it, you’re just having a natural conversation with someone. There’s SO much less to remember, and a lot less stress, too! 🙂
At Reliable, hardly a conversation goes by without me thanking a client in some way.
“Thanks so much for writing in.”
“Thanks for sending these over.”
“Thanks for your quick response!”
“Thanks for letting me know!”
“Thanks so much for checking.”
Your clients are busy people, and they took the time to reach out to you. It doesn’t matter if they’re mad, bringing you a new client, telling you they went with another freelancer, or answering questions about a project – say thank you!
It may seem like a small gesture, but it’s one that most people forget in business, especially when everyone is busy.
Go the extra mile
Your clients are real people. They have bad days, pets, musical preferences, hobbies.
Find out more about them!
Yep! Easy-peasy. 🙂
Sometimes these little gestures seem like no-brainers, but think about the last time you, as a client, were on the receiving end.
Those who really did seem to go out of their way for you stick out in your mind, don’t they? And when someone you know needs their services, you’re quick to point out that great experience.
It’s no different as a freelancer. It’s the little things in business (and in life) that separate you from the rest of the herd.
Clients will remember kindness, generosity, and genuine care in their success far longer than they’ll remember the projects you complete together.
And that will make them a client for life.
I’d love to hear your tips on communicating with clients. Comment below!
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