In the world of freelancing, you’re only as good as the relationships you develop. After all, if you don’t build relationships, you don’t get any business. It’s as simple as that. You need to invest a lot of time and effort into building professional relationships with your clients, and whatever you do, don’t take your customers for granted. In the early days, finding clients can be incredibly daunting. You will sit there and wonder how you are going to find people to work with. But opportunities will present themselves; you just need to be ready to identify them and take advantage. Here are five easy ways to build long-lasting relationships in freelancing.
Respond to every message you receive
In the early days, you must respond to every single message you receive. Even if you don’t think it’s work that you’re interested in, take the time to respond to the person politely, as you never know when they might come back to you with a more suitable project. This also helps increase your confidence, and it gives you experience interacting with clients. Regardless of whether it results in business for you, it’s imperative that you respond to the messages you receive in a timely and professional manner.
Provide regular updates
When a client pays for a service, they expect to be kept informed about how things are progressing. It’s your responsibility to keep them regularly updated with how the work is coming along, particularly if it’s a long-term project. Just checking in every couple of days telling them that things are progressing as expected will be greatly appreciated, and they will know that you’re working hard on delivering their work on time. The more you keep in touch, the more trust can be built between you and your clients, which will stand you in good stead in the long term.
Reward customer loyalty
As you progress through your freelancing career, you will find that you receive a lot of repeat business from the same clients. It goes without saying that it’s incredibly important to keep these clients satisfied, but you should consider going one step further and rewarding their loyalty. You can do this in various ways, whether you offer them a small discount or perhaps expedited delivery. Your loyal customers are the heartbeat of your freelancing business, so you need to make sure you take care of them as best you can.
Be transparent about your gig
There are few things more harmful to a customer-freelancer relationship than a lack of transparency. You need to make sure you are crystal clear about the service that you offer, what it includes, and what it doesn’t. Don’t be tempted to work in hidden extras just so you can make an additional few bucks. This kind of practice won’t sit well with customers, who will simply go elsewhere for their required service if you begin messing them around. When you’re publishing your gig, think about including the following for clarity:
- A clear and concise title.
- An accurate description of your work.
- A bullet-pointed list of the services offered as part of the gig (you might even want to mention things that aren’t offered if there’s potential for confusion).
- An addendum of extras that can be purchased for a fee.
- Your delivery time and details of how the delivery will be made.
Gig transparency is so important if you want to build successful long-term relationships with clients. Surprising them with extras or not delivering when expected will tarnish your reputation and lose your customers.
Ask for feedback
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, constructive feedback is one of the best things you can receive from clients. Even if they’re thrilled with your overall delivery, you could send them a short message asking them to provide you with some honest, constructive feedback about how your gig could be improved. Receiving feedback is such an important part of market research and will show you exactly how you could improve your service in the eyes of your paying customers. While you don’t need to take on board everything people say, you should try and take feedback from a number of sources, as this will give you a fairly representative picture of reality. What’s more, people like being asked for their opinion, so customers will feel that you value them when you approach them for such feedback.
From the very start of your freelancing career, you need to be willing to invest time and effort into building long-lasting relationships with your clients. You should be aware that you need to do everything you can to keep your clients happy and be prepared to go above and beyond to deliver exceptional work on a consistent basis. If you fail to invest in relationships with your clients, you will struggle to win and keep business, which isn’t a good sign for your fledgling freelancing career!