10 Ways I make my clients fall in love with me
I considered myself a big advocate of relationship marketing. It’s part of my personal brand. This is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. This customer relationship management (CRM) approach focuses more on customer retention than customer acquisition. It’s where you build strong bonds with your clients with by providing true value the aim of keeping them for life. This usually leads to repeat business and eventually referrals.
I’ve grown my business through referrals. It’s the best way to grow yours too!
The list below contains my take on some of things I’ve learned when dealing with my clients. By sharing it with you, it will hopefully help you avoid some of the pitfalls that may jeopardize your client relationship and help you make them “fall in love” with you too.
1. Be flexible
We all have ways that we like to work, but sometimes it’s good practice to be a bit accommodating especially with new clients. Don’t be too rigid and set stone with your methods. Entertain new ideas and relax a bit.
2. Be Patient with each client
Each client is different, if you treat every client you meet with the same standards of your favorite client (yes, I play favorites) then you will be setting yourself up for a huge disappointment. Each client has their own personality, they’ve had their own experiences before meeting you so the best way to deal with them is ease them into how you do things. This generally is in relation to “difficult” clients.
However, if you notice that your patience is costing you. Tell them to take a hike!
3. Availability is key
This one is simple. Be available when you’re expected to be. Sometimes this might mean availing yourself at odd hours (if your client is in a different time zone than you) in this case, know their schedule and work with them throughout their project. This will earn your bonus points in their book.
4. Clearly understand client’s needs before accepting a project
With freelancing, it’s tempting to jump on a project as soon as you have a vague idea of what it entails because you happen to know something about it. This can be detrimental. Take your time to fully comprehend what the client is asking of you before you jump in and say “I can do it”.
This will not only save you a lot of headache down the line, but it also makes you look professional- which you are!
5. Go the extra mile
If a client wanted you to crop a picture for them, go ahead crop it and maybe even edit it a bit for them. Client’s notice these things and they’ll love you for it.
6. Set deadlines and be strict about them
Deadlines help you with time management. One thing that can ruin a great relationship with your client is poor time management. When a project is delayed- whether it’s your fault or theirs normally doesn’t matter. You are to blame. So take control of the project at hand and set deadlines that you will both adhere to. Communicate them clearly with your client so they know what’s expected of them.
7. Manage Expectations
I always tell my team (and myself) that the best thing you can do to you and your client is manage their expectations. This leaves room for you to “wow” them. Example: You’ve taken on a project and you know 100% that you can deliver a “10”- we’ll do tell them that. Tell your client that you can deliver a “7-8”. What this does is, when you finally deliver a 10 when they were only expecting a 7 or 8, then you’ve won them. Simple psychology.
8. Keep calm, polite & professional
Just like any relationship, there comes a time when you will not agree on some things. Maybe a payment was late, a deadline was missed- miscommunication- you get the drift. When this time comes, remember you are the professional here. Keep calm, be polite and stay professional. No name calling and the like.
If you have a heated email exchange, stop it! Pick up the phone and call them. If it’s a heated phone conversation, explain that you both need to calm down and tell them that you will discuss this at a later time and simply hang up. Later on when both of you have cooled off, you can laugh about it.
However, if any harsh words were exchanged, it’s really hard to come back from that. So be very careful not to ruin your relationship.
9. Use a Contract & Get paid on time
This does one important thing- keeps you happy. Delayed payments can trigger “salty” feelings. So use a contract to outline payment schedules and adhere to them. I always advocate an upfront payment, you should do the same. When you’re happy, your work out put is better and your client is happy. Win-win.
10. Don’t be afraid to break up
Sometimes you can do all the above, be at your best behavior, treat your client like a king/queen, but still realize that it’s just not working out. When that time comes, it’s time to “break-up”. This can be a hard one, but can be an absolute necessary at times. One of my favorite people John Tabita puts it so well in his article Stop Abuse! 7 Steps to a well-trained client.
This list is by no means everything, so if you have any other things you’d like to share, I encourage you to leave a comment below.