If you want to win your clients over and retain them long-term, you must avoid making silly mistakes. By “silly,” we mean mistakes that are totally avoidable. Here are some tips to help you ensure that you are putting your best foot forward when it comes to working with clients.
Being Critical of Client’s Work
One of the strategies that freelancers use when they are looking for work is researching businesses in their area of expertise and then contacting them to provide an unsolicited critique of the work performed by those businesses. The critique often points out the weaknesses of the business and then provides solutions on how to do things better.
You have to be very careful when you use this approach because it can backfire if you come on too strong. Using a hard nosed approach is going to put your client on the defensive and make you look like a “know it all.” Although your intentions are meant to try to help the client it can actually result in alienating him or her.
Avoid the Word “I”
When working with clients it is important to remember that they always come first. That being the case, you should always focus on their needs. Whatever your accomplishments were in the past and however proud you are of what you have achieved so far in your career, those things do not matter to the client except to the extent that he or she can benefit from it.
Keep Your Cool
As a freelancer you know that some clients can really test your patience. Losing your cool with a client is a freelance big mistake to avoid if you want to retain your client base or your reputation. A bad attitude can not only lose you that client, it can lose you other business opportunities also if that client goes out and relates his bad experience working with you.
Keep your cool and avoid being negative. Try to remain positive at all times.
Avoid Being a Phantom Freelancer
Another freelance mistake to avoid is dropping a project midway and putting other things ahead of completing the project. Many clients have complained about this even with experienced freelancers. The freelancer takes on the project and then disappears half way through. Landing a contract is only the first step. You must complete the contract within the guidelines set forth and, if possible, even exceed those guidelines. Adopting a laisser-faire attitude once you have landed a contract is simply wrong. You don’t have to take on a project, but once you take it on, do the best you can.
Offering Too Much Information
Although you may want to be helpful and accommodating to your client, if you offer too much information before you land the deal, the client can take your ideas, but not retain you to implement those ideas. You want to avoid those situations from happening. Instead, when you are asked what you can do to help the client reach their goals, provide an outline that reveals just enough information to let them know how you can help them but not so much information that they may no longer need your expertise.
Failing to Pay Attention to the Client’s Style
It is easy to operate a project “your own way” and forget to pay attention to how the client does business. Keep in mind that every client has his or her own approach to work. Hence, it is important to tailor your interactions with that client in accordance with that client’s style. For instance, some clients may be skeptics where as others may be followers looking for guidance. Some may only care about the big picture while others may be more hands-on.
As you conduct your freelance business, it is important to take a step back once in a while and analyse how you do things. Detach yourself from your projects and look at how you approach things as a third party observer.
by John Sylo