Why Doesn’t My Client Take Me Seriously?
Posted November 16, 2012 in Managing Clients
Lack of client respect is a huge problem for many freelancers. I hear the complaint often, “my client just doesn’t treat me like a professional.”
A client who doesn’t treat you like a professional can lead to a number of problems:
- Mistakes on the part of the client
- Communication problems
- Lower payment
If you’re working with a client who doesn’t treat you like a professional, don’t despair. In this post, we’ll examine the reasons why some clients don’t take freelancers seriously. We’ll also discuss what you can do to win a client’s respect.
Why Your Client Doesn’t Take You Seriously
Have you ever had a client shoot down your suggestion or change your work? Does your client always try to get you to agree to a lower rate than you feel comfortable with? Do they ignore your emails and calls?
It could be that they don’t take you seriously as a professional. If they don’t, there’s bound to be a reason for that.
If you feel that your client isn’t taking you seriously, there are really only two possible reasons:
- It’s their fault.
- It’s your fault.
What you do to win the client’s respect depends on which reason fits your situation.
When It’s the Client’s Fault
It’s a fact of life that some people are harder to get along with than others. The world is full of difficult people, and freelancing is no exception.
Plus, personalities also play a role in how well people work together.
If someone doesn’t respect your work, it might just be them and not you. Sometimes the best thing you can do when a client doesn’t take you seriously is move on. You deserve better.
When It’s Your Fault
But before you move on, you might want to examine whether the client’s lack of respect is something you can change.
It’s possible that your interactions with the client have sent the wrong message. If that’s the case, then you may able to fix the relationship and get the client to take you more seriously.
Here are some areas of client contact to consider:
- Relationship to client. Was the client a friend or family member before they became a client? Sometimes these folks can be the most difficult to work with. But all is not lost. Stress that this is what you do to earn a living. If you’ve given them a discount, be sure to let them know what your usual rate is and that this discounted rate is a rare exception.
- Communication. Are your communications with the client professional? Do you stick mostly to business, or are your contacts mostly personal with a little business thrown in? Are you consistent in what you tell the client, or do you waffle back and forth?
- Work agreement. First of all, do you have one? A contract lets the client know that you are a professional. Lack of a work agreement shouts that you are not. Make sure to get a work agreement (preferably a contract) from every client before you start work.
- Your Work. Always put forth your best effort. Your work should be top-notch, even if it’s not what you’d ideally want to be doing. Double-check everything you do and make sure there are no mistakes. Also, take deadlines seriously. A missed deadline tells the client you aren’t serious.
- Your website. Both the look and feel of your own website are important when it comes to your professional image. A sloppy or badly designed website tells a client that you aren’t a professional. Poorly written content or overly personal content sends the same message.
- Your social media interactions. Many freelancers forget that their clients have access to their social media accounts. And, depending on your privacy settings and the social media tool, even people who haven’t connected to you on social media may be able to see your statuses.
The key to getting a client to take you seriously is to behave like a professional. You may be able to get away with working at home in a sloppy tee shirt and old pair of sweats from time to time, but your behavior shouldn’t reflect your sloppy attire.
Have you ever had a client treat you as though they don’t take you seriously? How did you deal with it?
Without naming client names, share your story in the comments below.
Image by briannaorg
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