At this point in your entrepreneurial journey, you realize how much easier it is to work with current clients than it is to generate new clients.
Unfortunately, it’s really easy to lose a lead or a client if you have poor communication skills.
1. Set a Consistent Communication Schedule
One of the biggest mistakes that freelancers and self-employed professionals seem to make is not nurturing their relationships. Once the job is done and the deal is closed, client communication slowly fizzles out.
Now, you definitely shouldn’t be calling your clients on a daily basis. For one, it makes it seem like you have poor time management or business process skills. Two, it’s the quickest way to get your number blocked and lose clients for good!
One of the best client-facing strategies is to set a consistent communication schedule.
So, for your client-interfacing method, you might want to:
- Email your clients once a week through a drip campaign tailored to them.
- Call, text, or snail mail your clients once a month.
- Schedule a face-to-face meeting once every few months.
- Reach out for major events or holidays.
- Stay in touch on LinkedIn.
Sticking to a consistent schedule is the best way to keep in constant contact and retain your customers. Plus, your clients will appreciate hearing from you every once in a while.
How does Calendly compare to other scheduling tools? Find out in our 5 best Calendly alternatives review.
Simplifying the Process
When you build a successful client base, it can be hard to keep track of who you’ve contacted and who you still need to reach out to.
Make it easy on yourself.
Use a CRM app with a drip campaign feature. Instead of emailing all of your clients one by one, you automate your software to send out emails once a week.
You might not be thinking about all of your clients every week, but they’ll surely be thinking of you.
Bloom can help you stay in touch with your clients.
Try it for FREE!
2. Allow Your Client to Take the Lead
There’s no doubt that you’re an expert in your field. But you have to be careful about how you communicate your expertise.
If you’re too pushy, you’ll drive customers away. The last thing you want to do is lose clients because you talk too much.
Take a Step Back
Have you ever had a company call you so often that you dreaded looking at your phone’s screen when it rang?
Overcommunication kills business.
Though you might think that your constant calls and texts come off as passionate, your clients might see it as you being money hungry. Clients want a professional that cares, not one that’s simply using them for a paycheck.
Sometimes, it’s best to let your client take the initiative to call you every now and then.
Let Them Talk
Although you might know everything about your service and business, your client generally knows what they want from you as well.
Now’s the time to sit back and let your client do most of the talking.
3. Don’t Be a Secret Agent
Your closest friends and family members know what you do. In fact, it’s the first thing they probably ask you about whenever you see them.
But does anybody else know what you do?
You need to get your name out there. And you need to keep it out there, too. When clients hear your name, they should immediately think of your product or service.
Stay top of mind.
When you stay in contact with your clients, you’ll be the first person they call when they need a professional in your field.
4. Offer Your Expertise
As much as your client knows what they want, you know what’s realistic. It’s your job to guide them in a feasible direction without coming off too strong.
If they approach you with a bad idea, use your client-interfacing skills to respond with tact.
The best thing to do is to make helpful suggestions and try to change their mind.
Know When to Stop
Some clients know what they want and won’t accept anything less. If your client still refuses to budge after all of your recommendations, it’s best to back off and let them have their way.
At the end of the day, you can’t always change your client’s mind.
It’s better to help them fulfill their dreams than to come across as a controlling know-it-all with poor problem-solving skills.
5. Treat Each Client as an Individual
We went over the importance of staying in contact, but some clients have different communication preferences. It’s your job to figure out how your customers want to be communicated with.
So, how do you find out?
Easy. Ask them!
When you first bring a client on board, make a point to discuss how they’d like to communicate throughout the project’s life cycle. After all, we all know somebody that hates talking on the phone but can fire off a series of text messages in three seconds or less.
Making a Contact Schedule
Sit down with your client and discuss communication.
- How often they want to be contacted
- The days and times that are best for them
- The best method of communication (phone call, text, email, etc.)
This is the time where you might have to bite the bullet and stray away from your comfort zone. If your client likes weekly phone calls, then it looks like you’re doing weekly phone calls.
6. Build a Relationship With Your Clients
You have a service. Your client wants to use that service. But, that doesn’t mean your relationship has to be strictly professional.
Well, what else is there?
Stop looking at your client as just a client and start viewing them as another person. It’ll make a world of difference!
How to Build a Personal (Yet Professional) Relationship
There’s a fine line between a personal relationship and a completely professional one. Your job as an entrepreneur is to find it.
Clients want to know that you care about them, not just their business.
Be careful how you approach this. The goal is not to reveal everything about your own life, but to learn more about theirs.
7. Know When to Say “Yes” or “No”
When you were just starting out, you may have been told by others in your profession to say yes to everything. It’s great advice for anyone just starting out and looking to get their career off the ground.
But now that you’ve been in the business for several years, you don’t have to be a yes man anymore.
Setting Your Own Limits
A good way to set yourself apart as a professional is to stop settling for anything you can get.
It’s absolutely okay (and even recommended sometimes) to say no to a client’s requests.
Let’s say a client asks for something unusual.
You know most professionals in your field would just fulfill the request and move on.
But, there’s something about it that just isn’t sitting right with you. Maybe it’s immoral, unethical, or just not something you agree with …
A good project manager knows when to say when.
If it goes against everything you believe in, or you think it will hurt your career, deny the request. Don’t feel like you have to do everything your client wants.
Clients don’t necessarily like to hear the word no, but they might appreciate it if you used your negotiation skills to offer an alternative or guide them in another direction.
8. Practice Clear and Direct Communication
Miscommunication happens. It’s just a part of business.
Yet, there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen as often! As a professional, that means being direct when talking to clients.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can make sure that everyone’s on the same page:
Get Right to the Point
It might be something that your client doesn’t want to hear, but that’s no reason to keep it from them. Tell them exactly how it is. Make sure they truly understand what you’re saying.
Make Your Rules and Expectations Clear
If you don’t let your clients know about your rules and expectations, they won’t even know if they’re crossing your boundaries. Try to make your rules clear from the get-go.
Reverse the Roles
Picture yourself as the client. If you weren’t a professional in your field, what questions would you have? Consider these and try your best to answer them before they’re asked.
Keep Your Client in the Loop
Not all news is good news. But at the same time, you owe it to your client to keep them up-to-date. It’s better they know what’s going on than assume things are going great.
When you work on clear and direct communication, you’ll notice it helps you build stronger relationships.
9. Be Respectful of Your Clients’ Needs and Time
No one will appreciate you showing up late to meetings. They’ll see you as disrespectful and get the impression that you think your time is more valuable than theirs.
Yet, there’s a lot more to respecting your clients’ time than simply being punctual.
Gaining a Client’s Trust
Your client is coming to you for a service. At the same time, they don’t have to work with you. They can change their mind at any second.
Clients want a professional that they can trust.
So, how do you build trust?
You need to show your clients why they should work with you instead of someone else. Basically, set yourself apart from the norm.
Ask yourself, “Why should clients work with me?”
Being able to answer this question will help you understand your value. You can then communicate these ideas directly with potential customers.
10. Use an Efficient Customer Relationship Management System
As your customer base continues to grow, it might get a little out of hand. You might forget who you’ve contacted, who you need to reach out to, and the needs of certain clients.
If communication falls by the wayside, it can hurt your relationships (and your business).
Benefits of a CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you organize all your relationships in one place. These web applications provide the tools you need to stay in touch with clients.
Bloom, for example, is an all-in-one service that allows for streamlined project management. You can message clients and book appointments through the app, which simplifies communication and eliminates the need for phone calls and emails.
No more going back and forth, trying to find a time that works best for both of you!
The best part?
You can keep track of your communication with your clients. That means you’ll know exactly when you contacted them last and what you talked about. You can even leave notes to remind yourself how the conversation went!
Download our all-in-one CRM app on iTunes!
As a freelance professional with an impressive customer base, it’s important that you nurture your relationships.
Good communication is, by far, the best way to achieve this goal.
Make sure that you’re building solid relationships, putting your clients’ needs first, and making every effort to maintain consistent and effective communication.