Keeping Clients  

Keeping clients is a key factor to ensuring a decent and fairly consistent flow of money into your account, and if you manage to maintain a good working relationship, it is very common for clients to keep requesting your work and services. As a freelancer, you are able to pick and choose your clients and associates to build up a professional circle of people you like to work with and who you trust, but keeping these relationships can often be hard work, especially with so much on the line from your side of the deal. Here are some good practices to make habit to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

Communication - It is a frequently used cliche, but communication is key, and it is probably used so frequently because it is true. Keep your clients updated with your progress, about any hurdles you have overcome or any problems you are facing, as well as any victories and positive updated you can provide them with. Keep a friendly conversation ongoing with them, as much as they are comfortable with, as the closer they are to being friends with you, the more they will want to work with you and to help you out as a business person. Always be friendly, nice, professional, and approachable. Maybe even send them an email to wish them a “Merry Christmas” to remind them that they are still in the back of your mind.
Keep your promises - Make sure that you adhere to deadlines, and maybe even provide work a little early to show that you are determined and to exceed their expectations, but not too early that they push you too hard to work to too strict deadlines that you can't keep up with. Schedule lots of checkpoints where you can talk to each other about the progress of the project. Provide all the work requested to the best standard that you can and within their requirements. Become like a reliable employee and put your money where your mouth is. If you can keep within your deadlines, they will be more likely to pay quickly and will trust you to deliver in the future when they need somebody to do some more work for them.
Make them feel like they are your top priority - You may well be balancing numerous projects in your freelance life, but every client will think that they are your number one priority, even though in reality they probably are just as important as everybody else. Always ensure your clients that they are important to you, and make yourself approachable and contactable while you are working on their projects, and also after you have finished them. Your client will likely know that you are working on multiple projects, but make them feel like they are special and that their work is enjoyable for you.
Appear professional - Okay, you are good at what you do, but do you appear like you know what you're talking about? If you have meetings with your clients, always be prepared so that they can put their trust into you. Always present yourself as well organised, reliable and friendly. Have an agenda prepared before the meeting, and ensure that all of their questions are answered and all of their worries are put at ease. Clients want to have a good relationship with you, but they also want to know that you can deliver results and be a professional when you need to be. Which leads us onto the next point.
Creating contracts - This will not only ensure that you should get paid, and if not it gives you a basis for legal backing, but also it ensures that the client and you are both reading from the same page of the same book. While this might seem quite cold and formal, it gives you both something to support yourself with, should there be any disagreements, and you should be able to settle arguments quickly.
Looking after your clients is a very important part of freelancing, and you should structure this into the time that you plan to work on a project. Good relationships will keep them returning for more work and will help you to establish yourself even further in the field.

 

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