More often than not, how successful your business becomes depends on how strong your relationships with clients are. Here are 10 easy ways to make your clients love you and your work:
1. Try to Beat the Deadline
Without a boss to look over their shoulder, many service providers and creatives only get fired up as the deadline approaches. Buck that trend if you want to get ahead of the pack and stand out. Agree on a timeline which you know you can meet, and then put in some extra effort to beat that deadline. This showcases your work ethic and makes an amazing first impression.
2. Keep an Open Channel of Communication
Don’t just sign a contract and then disappear into the ether. Clients love it when you keep them updated on the project and showcase the work done regularly. Make sure your updates and queries are easy to understand and clearly presented so that misunderstandings do not arise.
3. Go Over and Beyond Expectations
Don’t just be “OK”; be awesome! If you’ve been asked for a concept, for example, deliver 3 and ask the client to choose. If you have been asked for an opinion, go in depth and show the client some valuable insight. Just make sure you stay within budget and within the deadline.
Listen keenly to what clients want and focus on that. Save yourself from complaints from clients about why you did not do what they asked for. You want to avoid the trap of jumping to conclusions and forgetting that your job is to bring the client’s vision to life. Take lots of notes when you are talking with the client, and make sure to ask lots of questions so that you are completely clear about what the client wants. The client is bound to be relieved that you are actually getting what they are trying to convey and that the chances of them having to pay for inaccurate work are greatly reduced.
5. Be Eager About Your Client’s Success
Don’t you just hate working with people who are only looking out for themselves? Well so does your client! You get massive brownie points if your client realizes that you are as eager about their success as they are. Always be sincere, but ways in which you can show interest in their success include sharing your expertise about how they could increase their chances for success, telling them that you believe in their endeavor, and asking about the results of important events and meetings.
6. Don’t Drag Your Feet
If your client comes back with significant changes which they are willing to pay for, don’t drag your feet and make them feel bad about it. Do that one too many times and they’ll take their business to where they are not made to feel like a burden.
7. Pick Up the Phone
Leaving emails unanswered for days or allowing your voicemail do the talking shows poor work ethic and discourages a client. You want to pick up the phone and reply to emails as fast as you can. Even if you don’t have the time to give them, you can answer the phone and let them know, while not forgetting to tell them when you can speak with them.
8. Present Your Work Well
Going the extra mile to present your work nicely has a significant effect on how it is received. This happens everywhere, for example, a gourmet chef would not just off-handedly serve his work to a patron without explaining the reasoning and emotion that went into creating the dish. Provide write-ups into the thought process that went into creating your work. This leaves little room for misinterpretation and presents you as a true craftsman.
9. Learn to Take Criticism
Sometimes a client may not like your work and request changes. Rather than getting all salty, take a step back and analyze the situation: Is the client’s suggestion going to improve the work? Commend them for the idea and implement. Will the suggestion have little to no effect on the work? Implement it, then. Will the suggestion lead to overall poorer performance? Share your honest thoughts with the client and try to get the underlying reason for the suggestion so that you could suggest viable alternatives.
10. Come Through In a Bind
If you work with a client long enough you are bound to receive that call on Friday evening requesting work due by Monday--Sorry! If it is not possible, I will understand.
Before you start checking off the thousand and one reasons why you cannot give up your weekend, take a step back and decide how valuable you want to be to your client. Your value will shoot up significantly if your client realizes that you are also willing to come through in the occasional bind.
The fact of the matter is that in any business, your success depends largely on how well you deal with people. Master that aspect and watch your business take off.