The success of a freelancer depends on the quality of their work but most importantly, it depends on the happiness of their clients. For example, you can be the best freelance designer there is but if you don’t have the client feedback and reviews to back your work, you’ll struggle in your career.
A freelancer’s strongest marketing tool is their client’s happiness because this would encourage them to recommend your services to other people and positive reviews on your profile or website will only boost your chances of landing more projects. Whether it is getting new clients or maintaining repeat clients, the impact you leave on your clients matters just as much as the quality of your work, if not more. We’ve put together a list of tips you can do to impress your clients and guarantee long-term business.
1. Show them loyalty, don’t treat it like a one-time job
One of the biggest things clients fear about freelancers is that they wouldn’t care for the client’s interests like an employee would. Unfortunately, in many cases, that is true. As a freelancer, you should ensure that you’re reachable and genuinely care about the project you’re working on, don’t just treat it like a gig to get quick money from. Let your client know your working hours or what the best way to reach you is. Show them that you care about their business and don’t just want their money.
When a client feels that you’re loyal, they’re encouraged to trust you more and it’ll potentially create a long-term business relationship. What you thought was a one-time thing can turn into a long-term job.
2. Openly Communicate and be proactive
Moving on to another fear clients have, which is freelancers ghosting them. For example, when a freelancer is knees deep in a project and then just disappears for a few weeks, leaving the client in distress. A rule of thumb to impress clients is communicating and being proactive. If you’re going on vacation or wouldn’t be available next week, give your client a notice before it and don’t just disappear.
If you encounter a problem or have a question about the project, be proactive and reach out to the client to talk it out. Show them that you’re focused by letting them know how your progress is going or offer weekly updates. Communicating will help you understand the client’s needs better and help the client know you better.
3. Be professional and organized
In freelance, small things can make a big difference with clients like dressing professionally for a meeting, setting deliverables, creating a contract, or detailing your invoice. Clients appreciate it when a freelancer is organized and has a clear plan; you could create a timeline for the project and let the client in on the tools you use while working like a project management tool, where they can check on your progress. Being professional also scores high with clients like setting meetings in a corporate space, having a virtual mailing address to receive business mail and packages, or your own website displaying your services and skills.
Some freelancers even create a welcome package for new clients, where you provide them with info like your working hours, payment process, project details, PO box number the tools you use, and any other helpful information. This will increase your credibility with clients and give new clients a sense of comfort with your organization skills.
4. Don’t shy away from asking questions
First meetings with new clients can be stressful, especially because you’re feeling pressured as the client evaluates you and what you can offer their business. You can contribute to the flow of conversation by asking some questions yourself. This will make the client feel more comfortable as well as help you understand the business and your task better.
Get to know the business more by asking questions like what businesses inspired the clients business, what makes their products unique, or where do they see their business in the future. Don’t hold back and show the client that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about their business.
5. Take notes and recap meetings
Whether it is a meeting in person or through zoom, taking notes on what the client says and what you understood is very important. Clients would be reassured knowing that you’re focused and keen on doing the best job possible.
At the end of the meeting, recap everything the client said to ensure you heard and understood everything. This is a good way to clarify any misunderstandings as the client could correct you or elaborate on a point.
6. Break the ice before getting into business
Breaking the ice may be a bit difficult if you’re not the most social person but with practice and multiple meetings, it’ll build your confidence and get easier to do. Trying to set a friendly base before getting into business would make you and the client feel more comfortable.
You can ask general questions like where they’re from, what inspired them to build this business, what’s their favorite product of theirs, or anything else that comes to mind. You can even share an experience you had with a similar business to theirs or something about yourself.
7. Do your homework before meetings
Before meeting with a client, get to know everything you can about their business beforehand, like their products, business goals, mission, and anything else you can find. Being prepared will ease your nerves and it’ll also show the client you care and took the time to do your research.
And if you really want to impress them, you can research their industry and competitors as well. Getting to know the industry problems or its latest updates will make you look knowledgeable and increase your credibility with the client.
8. Hone your craft
Even if you have years of experience in the industry, there is always something new to learn. With changes happening every day and new trends appearing, especially in technology, web development, design, and marketing, you need to be up-to-date with everything new in your industry.
Be honest with the client if there’s something you couldn’t do but also don’t say no to a new challenge and try to make it work. For example, if you’re a copywriter but haven’t written a press release before, it’s okay to tell the client you don’t have experience with this but will learn how to do it.
Even though the first meeting is important, it’s not the only chance you’ll get to impress a client. Something as simple as a thank you note or email after the project is done can leave a positive and memorable impression on a client.