Building a strong client relationship goes beyond what’s written in your contract. You want to create a relationship where your clients don’t just feel like colleagues, but instead they feel like partners.
Freelancers depend on their clients for business, so it’s important to keep building and growing those relationships over time. Remember a strong client relationship can lead to bigger and better projects, and possibly even referrals in the future (the biggest compliment from a client).
To wow your clients and create more meaningful relationships, follow our top 5 tips below.
We said it in our last article and we’ll say it again: freelancing = communicating. It’s so important to learn how to communicate clearly and directly with clients, as much of your relationship takes place over the phone or online.
It’s essential to be available to your client and communicate in a timely manner. We’re not saying you need to respond within the first 5 minutes, but be sure to do so within a reasonable timeframe, especially with new clients. It shows them that you care about the work and you value them as a client. You want each client to feel like they’re important and at the top of your list (even if that’s not always the case for the day). Remember, it’s always better to over-communicate than under-communicate to ensure nothing is ever missed.
We encourage you to check out our past blog post — The 4 Communication Styles - How to Connect with Clients Effectively — to dive even deeper into client communication.
2. Set Regular Check-Ins
When we say “regular” check-ins, we don’t mean everyday. You decide what’s best for you and your client, but it’s important to check in with them to be sure you’re on the same page. During these check-ins, you can ask any questions you might have and give them updates on projects or upcoming deadlines. These check-ins don’t have to be long. They can just be a few minutes, but it’s still a good way to build trust with your clients and keep them up to date on everything you’re working on.
3. Exude Confidence and Positivity
As a freelancer, you’re a one woman (or man) show, so you’ve got a lot on your plate. We understand you might be stressed or overwhelmed with your various responsibilities, but it’s important you show a positive face to your clients. Clients want to work with people they like and who they feel are confident about their work. Be sure to exude the same positivity and confidence that you want clients to feel about your work. Remember, a little positivity can go a long way. You never want a client remembering you as “difficult to work with” or “unhappy and stressed”, so don’t give them a reason to.
4. Build Trust
You can build trust with your clients by continually delivering projects on time, doing exceptional work, and communicating effectively and clearly, but you can also build trust by acknowledging your client as a person. Obviously how you interact with a client depends on your profession, field, and personality, but we encourage you to get to know them a little better. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they’re doing outside of work.
Sometimes we all get a little too wrapped up in our work lives, so clients really appreciate when you get to know them on a deeper, more personal level. If you feel like your client wouldn’t respond well to a more authentic relationship, then of course, you do what you think is best! We just want to remind you that your clients aren’t just clients, they are people too with lives outside of work.
5. Exceed Expectations
The best way you can build a lasting relationship with your clients is to continually exceed expectations. Your client is paying you to do a job, so the better you perform it, the more they will want to keep working with you. If you get them results, they will be more likely to continue the relationship and possibly even write you a referral or testimonial. You want your work to shine, which is why it’s important you’re always creating reasonable expectations for yourself and your client. You never want to over promise and under deliver. It’s not a good look.
Another way to exceed expectations is to go above and beyond. If you’re giving your client a deliverable, maybe try to present it in an aesthetically pleasing way or give them a brief tutorial on the finished product. Anytime you can put a tiny bit of extra effort in, we encourage you to do so. Your client will remember all those little details and will see you as a trusting partner and collaborator that they want to continue to work with in the future.
Remember, your clients can mean the difference between a flourishing business and a failing business. It’s essential that you learn how to create meaningful and lasting relationships with them, and continue to grow those relationships over time!