How to Establish & Maintain Good Relationships with Your Freelance Clients
Freelancing is impossible without reliable clients. All your business depends on clients, which is why all the freelancers put so much effort into growing professionally, promoting themselves, and searching for clients. However, what’s the next step if you’ve already found clients you enjoy working with?
Your relationships with clients determine your professional success and have a big influence on your company and services. Good relationships with clients can ensure you enjoy your work, feel satisfied with your job, get paid on time, and have a strong networking contact. In contrast, bad relationships with clients can be a big problem for any freelancer.
The Importance of Maintaining Positive Freelancer-Client Relationships
Some freelancers work with new clients every month, while others realize that long-term clients bring a number of benefits. There are several reasons why you should maintain positive relationships with your long-term clients, and the first reason is that they guarantee a stable income.
On one hand, freelancing gives you a certain level of independence and freedom. On the other hand, freelancers don’t have some of those benefits of a traditional job, like the comfort of stability. Fortunately, if you build strong relations with your best clients, you’ll see how stability enters your life.Having satisfied long-term clients gives you a consistent income, fosters an ongoing working relationship, and makes you more reliable for future projects.
In addition, it’s easier to keep working with your regular clients than to be in a constant search for new ones. Not only do you need you to find new clients, but you also have to onboard them, manage them, and create that relationship and rapport. Just remember how you searched for your first client. Perhaps, you registered on various freelance platforms, collected testimonials, built an impressive portfolio, and participated in many interviews that took a lot of time. Building that network and creating those long lasting partnerships will save you energy and time; and, as any freelancer knows, time is important.
How to Establish and Maintain Good Relationships With Your Freelance Clients
Before you even start working on any project, you should perfectly understand what your client needs, and how exactly they need it to be done. Depending on your profession, it may be your performance, user experience, or urgency. No matter what your preferred style of work is, you should be able to adjust it to your client’s needs.
Agree on scope, strategy, and deadlines
One of the most important skills for a freelancer is the ability to manage expectations. You should also be able to clearly explain what your commitments are and define the scope and budget of any project. We suggest following the golden rule of all freelancers: promise less than you can do and deliver more than you’ve promised.
Ensure easy and effective communication
Even if you’re not a freelancer, communication is a crucial part of any business. You and your clients should perfectly understand each other — this is the easiest way to make sure nobody will be disappointed. Communicate clearly and effectively with your clients to let them know your plan and how or when you will communicate. State clearly how you should receive feedback, how many times, what your timeline is for a project’s completion, when payment is due, and when you’re available “online”.
Nurture your clients
According to statistics, 65% of a freelancer’s income comes from existing clients. It’s also much easier to win a project with the existing customer, since you know that customer’s needs, how they prefer certain tasks done, and you have an established rapport. New clients takes a bit of fostering and learning from one another in the beginning, but it’s always important to take the time to go through everything clearly and succinctly. You want to convert those new clients into long-time customers.
Advocate Your Expertise but Work with Your Client
You’re the expert in what you’re doing but it’s important to listen to the feedback you get from the client and parse out what they’re looking for. Don’t shy away from offering your professional opinion. A well-done project speaks volumes in the end, and you want to be able to take ownership of it.
Janice Simmonds, a freelance business coach at College Writers, explains: “You shouldn’t be formal all the time. Have a small talk from time to time. Send them birthday messages, hit ‘Like’ when you see posts about their achievements on social media. Of course, the main thing is to be good at what you’re doing, but a personal touch is a nice way to build good relationships.” When you have a freelance client, you are building your professional and working relationship like you would with a coworker.
Creating a positive relationship with your existing clients offers countless benefits such as increasing your networking connections, having stability, and a commitment to creating great work. The list could go on, but the lesson here is to make sure to keep your clients satisfied and to deliver a professional experience.
About the Author
Ester Brierley is a QA Engineer in software outsourcing company, seasoned content creator and competent virtual assistant for College Writers. When she’s not writing about cutting-edge digital trends, Ester takes online courses to improve her marketing skills. Follow her on Twitter.