As a busy independent contractor, it can be hard to keep track of your client relationships. There are so many different factors that can affect how well you’re doing with your clients and what you need to do to improve them.
It’s important for you to constantly assess the progress of your relationships with your clients in order to identify any issues or opportunities that come up. Here are some ways to improve client relationships by staying proactive in the process.
Identify the Factors That Affect Relationships
Many different factors affect how well you’re doing with your clients. Some of these factors might be more present in certain clientele relationships while others are more prevalent in others. As an independent contractor, it’s important to identify the different factors and understand their effects on your client relationships. This will allow you to create a clear strategy for dealing with each factor so that you can make improvements where necessary and stay on top of any new issues that come up. What can you do to identify the different factors? Ask yourself questions about the work you’re doing, such as:
- What does my client want from this project?
- How long has this relationship been going on?
- How difficult is it for me to reach my client?
- Are there any red flags I need to watch out for in the relationship?
Stay Proactive by Building Rapport and Trust
The key to building better client relationships is having a strong relationship with your clients. In general, the more you build rapport with your clients and trust in them, the better their experience is going to be with you. So, it’s important for you to start building rapport from the beginning of your relationship by being friendly and personable.
If you are approaching a client that you’ve never worked with by phone, read our guide on how to make a cold call. In the guide, we cover some of the best ways to build rapport with a client during a cold call and how to get them interested in working with you. Following these tips should help you to improve client relationships increase your chances of winning their business.
It’s also important for you to show that you’re technically competent and that you care about delivering a high-quality result by providing updates on progress as often as possible. This will build a sense of mutual respect between the two of you and make it easier for your client to feel confident that they made the right decision in choosing you over other freelancers out there. You can also create an open dialogue between yourself and your clients so that they feel like they have a voice in their own project and know what is going on during its process.
Establish Clear Expectations
One of the most important things you can do to improve client relationships is to create clear expectations and manage those expectations. This means setting a clear timeline for the project, outlining what will be included in the finished product, and making sure that you and your client are on the same page when it comes to the work that needs to be done. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or missed deadlines that can cause tension in the relationship.
Your clients need to know what they’re getting from working with you and what they should expect when working with you. One way to establish clear expectations is by setting up a contract. As part of your contract, be sure to include a timeline for each project phase and set clear deadlines for yourself and your clients. It also helps if you include any outside factors that could impact the timeline and how it should be handled. Additionally, if you want to make sure your contracts are understood and agreed upon, ask friends or mentors who have experience in similar fields to review them with you before signing anything.
Keep Track of Existing Client Relationships
If you want to continuously improve client relationships, it’s important that you keep track of the existing client relations. This way, you know your clients better and can better anticipate their needs. You also have a greater chance of meeting those needs by keeping track of what’s going on in the relationship.
The idea is to make an organized list of all your current clients, their contact info, and any past projects they’ve worked on with you. This way, you always know who to contact for help when needed. It also shows other members of your team when someone’s working on an important project with one specific client so they don’t have to spend time looking for that information.
In a recent article, we covered some of the popular customer relationship management (CRM) software tools that can help you keep track of your clients. These tools allow you to store and access client information, track interactions, and create reports on client activity.
⚒️ Build Your Portfolio
One of the most important things you can do to build and improve client relationships is to create a portfolio that demonstrates what you’re capable of. You want your portfolio to show off your skills and show how you can help clients grow their businesses.
To do this, focus on your freelancing skills, in addition to the business management skills that are necessary for freelancers. Build up a strong portfolio on social platforms, get positive reviews, and then use those to show potential clients what they can expect from you.
Another way to improve client relationships is by creating a personal website with your work and reviews on it. This will allow you to showcase your talent in one place.
In addition to building a portfolio, we also recommend automating your email process to showcase recent work and reviews with semi-regular newsletters. This will help you stay top-of-mind with your clients, and it can also help to increase the chances that they’ll work with you again in the future. Email marketing tools will allow you to create custom templates, send automated emails, and track the results of your campaigns.
❓ Ask For Feedback
One of the best ways to build stronger client relationships with your clients is to ask them what they think you’re doing well and what can be improved. You don’t have to hold these conversations in person; you can do this over email or by phone.
The important thing is that you take the time to talk with your clients about how they feel about your designs, strategies, or marketing efforts. Gathering feedback from them will help you stay focused on improving your client relationships, and it will also provide opportunities for you to get more business from them as well.
We definitely recommend automating the feedback process but only after contacting your client directly and making sure that they are happy with your service. This is a great way to make sure you receive 5* ratings on popular feedback platforms like TrustPilot or Google.
Meet Your Clients in Person
The best way to improve client relationships is by meeting them in person or at an event. It’s hard to build strong relationships over the phone or through email, but it’s easy to build relationships while laughing, listening, and engaging with your clients in person. Additionally, you can establish a more personal relationship with your clients when they meet you face-to-face.
Another benefit of meeting your clients in person is that you can have conversations about their specific needs and goals for their project, rather than just focusing on the work itself. This will help give your work a better meaning for them and vice versa.
Never underestimate the power of meeting clients in person.
☕ Take an Interest in Your Clients
One of the most important ways to improve client relationships is to show your clients that you care about their work (and them personally). If you’re interested in what they do, it means they can trust you and know that you’ll be committed to working with them on their projects. This will go a long way in building trust between you and your clients, which will make it easier for them to work with you in the future.
Another way to improve client relationships is by staying up-to-date with your clients’ current events. If something newsworthy happens in their industry, let them know so that they feel like they’ll be informed about what’s going on. This could be anything from an update on their project to a change in the industry that impacts their business. By staying up-to-date with your clients and their work, you’ll show them that you’re invested in their success.
Although it’s important to stay in touch with your clients, you don’t want to be a nuisance. Monthly newsletters could be a good way to update your clients without bombarding them with emails all the time. You can also use this opportunity to share your latest work with them.