Business is all about happy clients. A happy client creates a repeat business and brings in much more happy clients. As a freelancer, the biggest challenge is to establish long term relationship with clients. So how do you make sure to win clients? Once won, how do you keep them happy and bring in repeat business?
Negotiating and winning clients is an art. Success doesn’t endorse you always, when it comes to winning clients. So what are the basic criteria to increase the probability?
1. Be Reasonable
Always be reasonable with your clients. Especially, your initial clients. There are many factors where you have to be reasonable – cost, effort and duration. Never quote sky-high costs or absurd time lines. Make sure to understand the project and quote reasonably. Remember – whatever compromise you make here is an investment into your future relationship with the client.
2. Be Clear and Informative
Whether it comes to your understanding of the project or putting forward your suggestions – be very clear and informative. Never confuse the client with jargons – as 80% of the time they are unclear about the technology. Also, when you assume or suggest something, make sure to be informative. Don’t do these without backing them up with real facts or analysis data.
3. Be Precise
Be very precise with your commitments, time lines, payment schedule and the overall cost. Never let your assumptions come in here. I have seen instances where freelancers assume a monthly payment schedule, just to know later that the client committed only at pay-for-deliverables. Make sure this doesn’t happen with you.
4. Be Honest
This is subjective, but yet very critical. Be honest with the feasibility of the solution and the timeline. Don’t commit for a solution that you are unsure of, with an assumption to further analyze it after the project start. If you are unsure, let the client know about it and give a “go ahead”. Such an honesty will do a lot of good.
Keep them Happy Forever
So you won the client? Now what? How to make sure that they are happy with the relationship? How to make them bring repeat business?
1. Be Committed
Try your level best to meet all the commitments. If you foresee any problems, bring it to the notice of the client as early as possible. Never take back commitments at last stages. This makes you look unprofessional and poses a risk of losing the client.
2. Be Punctual
Deliver or complete the committed work, in the time frame agreed upon. Though there are instances where the project might overrun, try your best to keep it on time. Again, intimate the client about anticipated delays and keep them in the loop.
3. Be Regular
Regular updates to the client, makes sure that the project proceeds in the right direction. This also enables your client to provide periodic feedback – that can eliminate last minute surprises. Come up with an update schedule with your client – may be weekly – and stick to it. Even if there is little progress during a week, update the client at the stipulated time, as it creates a positive image around you.
4. Be Patient
There are many clients who are very unsure about the requirements at the beginning of a project and develop ideas during the project life cycle. It might require you to make a big change in the design, to accommodate the ideas. Be patient when such things happen. If the change is unfeasible within the given budget, let your client know about it in a professional manner. Never lose your patience and this can reap you benefits.
These are some basic tips to win and retain clients. So what is that you do to win clients? How do you make sure they are happy with the relationship? Shoot in your comments and I love to hear them all.
Photo Credit: Cocoabiscuit