The Ultimate Guide to Building Client Relationships - Double Your Freelancing
When all else is equal, strong client relationships set you apart from your and working collaboratively with the client stakeholders to build a solution together.". Building strong relationships with existing clients can set you up for repeat business. Follow these 6 tips to ensure your client relationships last. Some companies manage to build a steady business that strengthens over the years, while others have huge swings and eventually close up.
My favorite involves free kimonos. Why build an audience from scratch when you can borrow one that someone else has spent months or years growing? What is your silk kimono? Your strategic partners will love your silk kimonos because you enable them to be generous to their clients. People will loan you their audience if you make them look good.
Treat people to lunch. Growing your network of relationships is easy. Invite strangers and acquaintances to go to lunch. Everyone has to eat, right? Tell them in advance that lunch is your treat. Find the right blog post. Make some recommendations for strategy or resources. Here are more thoughts on free lunches. Give your clients the perfect gift. Earlier this year, I began experimenting with something similar.How To Build Relationships With Clients
But instead of cash, I give gifts. For example, I bought KUIU ultralight hunting gear for a client who sent me a referral, and a hand-picked selection of high-gravity Belgian beers to the same client after another referral. I stalk them on Instagram and Facebook and find out what they like. Pinterest is a goldmine for gift ideas.
Your clients probably do too. Courting clients is the email equivalent of a cold call except that you get in touch for the purpose of giving away valuable ideas for free. You create an opportunity to help. For example, you do a free website audit in advance. Instead, end your email like this: That being said, I would welcome an opportunity to get to know you better. Are you available for a minute chat next Tuesday at 1: Kind regards, Austin Most people will be shocked that you took the time to write and to offer in-depth recommendations for free.
Most people will want to get to know you better. Schedule a video chat on Skype and let the relationship develop organically from there.
You can read more here. Do an application-only giveaway. Every time I give away something, I get additional prospects.
Generally, the larger the prize, the more attention the giveaway will get.
The Ultimate Guide to Building Client Relationships
You can have a ton of fun giving something away, help someone in need, create awareness for your business and generate leads by virtue of being generous. My friend Jon and I are gearing up to do a business tune-up giveaway called Design Hope: We decided to introduce a twist: They can only nominate another business they admire. Everybody who makes a nomination also gets entered to win a separate giveaway for consulting. You can create value by making introductions.
During lunch, a new friend tells you that her video editing guy flaked out on her. Can you find her a replacement? Help her solve her problem. Rack your brain and try to remember videographers and filmmakers you know. In terms of what you say in the email, you want to be very clear on several counts: Even if both individuals have your vote of confidence, they may not work well together.
The wrong introduction can hurt more than it helps, which is why 4 above is a critical piece of the introduction.
Host parties and events. My friend Paul hosts cocktail parties and cigar nights. He assembles people he likes in one place then introduces them to one another over the course of the fun evening.
He creates value for his business contacts by sharing his network with them. I like to host SPACE Retreats for entrepreneurs and executives, Mastermind dinners for interesting people, and workshops for freelancers. I do not pitch Wunderbar. No, the point is good food and good conversation in good company. Business opportunities naturally emerge from these meaningful experiences.
You could host a free meetup or paid workshop. You could throw a client appreciation party. Your top clients have access to lots of other top clients just like them. Make a Top 20 list. With whom would you like to work?
What companies and brands do you admire? Figure out who the decision makers are for your Top 20 prospects. Do some Internet stalking, and check out the things that interest these people.
What articles have they shared on Twitter? Write a flagship post that is in the same vein. Interview the clients you really want. A man I admire taught me this: If you ask for help, you get advice. But if you ask for advice, you might get help. Reach out to someone who works at one of the companies on your Top 20 list. Make it clear in advance that you are happy to pay for his or her time. The goal of the interview is to find out what types of services, products, or outcomes interest the company and how the company forms relationships.
How do they hire people who do what you do? Have they had positive or negative experiences in the past? Is what you do currently a part of their mix? Why or why not? Offer to help as a small token of your gratitude. You may make a friend, and more business opportunities will come from that friendship than from a pitch inserted at the end of the call.
Now that new ideas are running through your mind, pick three. Chances are, excellent new clients are already within reach. Maybe you need to pick up the phone and call a past client.
Maybe you need to invite an acquaintance to lunch. Maybe the simplest advice is what you need to take action: Acknowledge Your Client as an Individual While your relationship with your client is of a professional nature, acknowledging that you see them as a person—more than a paycheck—can go a long way.
If you know your client is a parent, you may simply ask how their children are doing. If you have a closer relationship with your client, something more personal such as emailing them a news article about their favorite musician might be appropriate and appreciated. This is your opportunity to share information that will help the client understand what you do, which will build trust and confidence in the process.
Explaining to the client what you did, why you did it, and how you came to your decisions will help them feel knowledgeable and in-the-loop.
Be Open In order to build a strong and lasting relationship with clients, they must be able to trust and rely on you as an expert. It can be tempting to want to appear agreeable and avoid uncomfortable confrontation by telling a client what you think they want to hear or withholding your true opinion about their project. However, these practices are not only counterproductive, but can also damage your reputation with the client, decreasing your chances of a lasting relationship.
By confidently expressing your honest opinions, clients will respect your initiative and desire for excellence. Exceed Expectations One of the best ways to help build a strong relationship with a client is to develop a reputation as an independent consultant who delivers exceptional results.
By setting reasonable expectationsyou give yourself the opportunity to completely impress the client with the final project and position yourself as someone they would like to continue to work with.
Consider your client and determine what would be valuable to them. It could be as simple as delivering the project in an aesthetically pleasing format, hand-delivering the materials and giving an in-depth walkthrough or demonstration, or including a small value-adding feature that enhances the finished results.