Hello, my dear readers! Hope this week finds you well.
I like to think I maintain a fairly professional demeanor with my clients (and I’m sure you do, too), but it’s important to stress the value of professional perception; having your clients and employers see you as a professional with high standards. This is the start of a periodic series on enhancing your image as a professional and boosting your chances for business success.
If you haven’t already done it, take these communication tips into consideration:
1. Quick Communication is Key
In my research and personal experience, I notice quickly responding to job inquiries tends to impress clients. It sometimes comes as an unexpected surprise to some of my prospects and clients when I respond right away to their questions. In this world of instant gratification, sometimes clients will pass you by either out of annoyance that you haven’t responded yet or another client beating you to the punch by communicating first.
2. Keep Causal Language Down
Keeping your correspondence from straying too far down the small-talk and casual conversation road is a balancing act. On one hand, you’re not a robot (are you?) and you want to establish a good rapport with your customer, which involves getting to know them personally and vice versa.
However, you also don’t want to fall into the trap of getting too close to your clients, which is something I talk about in this post.
When it comes down to it, better to err on the side of caution and remain professional with little sprinkles of personal notes here and there.
3. Email First
Look, you don’t have time to waste, do you? Neither does your client. Generally, I find email or website messaging is the least intrusive way to get a hold of your clients. It doesn’t require an immediate answer, gives them time to think on their response and doesn’t take as long as, say, a Skype encounter (although if that’s your client’s perferred method of first meeting, you can read up on some tips here). It’s efficient and convenient and, as a writer, it’s my preferred way of ironing out details and maintaining communication.
4. No Means No
I’ve had my share of rejections for various reasons. Some prospects didn’t like my prices, sometimes it was deadline issues and still other times, they required me to live nearby (which, in all liklihood, I don’t).
Negotiating to come to a mutually beneficial deal on a particular project is fine, but there comes a point in negotiation where the client draws the line, and if you can’t cross it to meet them, that’s it.
No amount of pontificating or pleading will get your client to move the line closer to you or cross it themselves. When you’ve reached an impasse, cut your losses and move on. It’s possible for the client to come back to you with another project and you want to ensure you leave the conversation on good terms.
So in short, to keep on their good side, know what to say and when to walk away.
What are some tips you have for communicating with your clients? Discuss in the comments below!
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Happy freelancing and we’ll talk again next week!