I am the co-moderator of The Freelance Writers Connection on LinkedIn, and this month we are discussing “Dealing With Clients.” I posted an email to the group about this and am adding some other thoughts here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Dealing with clients really comes down to three things:
- Getting clients
- Keeping those clients
- Getting more clients
Everything you do—and don’t do—will affect those three things. There are, of course, many things to consider to keep those three things going.
In her article, 5 Reasons Clients Won’t Work with Freelancers (And How to Fix Them) Raubi Marie Pirelli, owner of Simply Stated Media, outlines some common mistakes and how to avoid them to increase your roster of clients.
So, once you have the work, what then? How do you keep those clients and keep them happy? You need to remember the 80/20 rule. That’s an old adage of business: that 80 percent of your work will likely come from 20 percent of your clients. The odds may not be quite that cut and dried, but you will get a lot of work from repeat clients and new clients referred to you by your satisfied clients. So keep them happy.
Do a little extra If you are writing an article, offer to source images. This will especially impress editors who may not have an extra budget for photographs, but you may be able to negotiate a little extra if you’re taking the photos. Travel writer and editor James Durston tells you in this article from his new blog, Travel Write Earn why editors really appreciate you sourcing your own images.
Don’t be a clock watcher If you quote your client a fee based on your hourly rate, keep track of your time, but don’t count every minute. It may take you an hour and 15 minutes to complete a task. Let them know it took a bit longer, but don’t charge for those extra minutes. Your client will recognize that you are willing to do a bit more, and that will keep them as clients. Happy clients bring you more work.
Stick to your schedule Complete the project on time or even slightly ahead of deadline. Filing your story or handing in your project on time will keep you top of mind for future projects.
Respect your client’s process You may not like that it’s “pay on publication” or “pay after 60 days”, but if that’s your client’s process, then you have to accept it. If you can’t, find other clients.
Keep in touch Keeping in touch with a client, just to say “hi” once in a while, without pitching a specific idea will help keep you in your client’s mind. Arrange a coffee or lunch meeting, (which you offer to pay for) will let you know the client as a person, not just a client, and, more importantly, let them know you as a person, not just a writer/supplier.
There is a lot more than could be said here, but you get the gist. Find your clients, keep them happy, and they’ll keep coming back to you for more work.
What’s your “go to” tactic for getting clients and keeping them happy? Join the conversation and come back next week for dealing with rejection—it happens to the best of us.