As freelancers for hire, our clients’ happiness is topmost on our minds. Happy clients mean returning clients. Happy clients mean more referrals. Therefore, happy clients mean more projects with less marketing effort.
Plus, it simply feels good when clients rave about our work. It boosts our confidence. It makes it much easier for us to raise our rates, charge what we’re really worth, and submit proposals to other prospects with faith in oneself.
I’ve certainly had my own share of unhappy clients. Thankfully, they’ve been rare. However, those rare times taught me how to reduce the likelihood that they’ll happen again.
Here are five ways you can make your client fall in love with your work:
1. Understand What Your Clients Really Want
Most of the time, our clients are unhappy because we totally misunderstood what they wanted.
I avoid this problem by having a template questionnaire for every client to fill out for every copywriting project. Their answers help me find out what their goals are, who their target market is, what messages they want to communicate, and how they want to position their product.
2. Ask All the Questions You Need to Ask
Ask all the questions you need to feel absolutely confident you know what your client is asking for. Sometimes my questionnaire isn’t enough to give me a crystal clear picture of what’s inside my client’s head. In that case, I send as many follow-up questions as I need to have answered, so I can be absolutely confident that I’ve nailed the project requirements.
Don’t be timid about asking your client questions. Don’t worry that it’s taking too much time or effort to read your client’s mind. Adequate preparation will help ensure that you’ll eventually do your work much more easily, and the results will be just what your client wanted.
3. Involve Your Client in the Outcome
The problem with freelancing work like writing and design is there are infinite ways to attack each project. And several of those choices could all be right. In the end, you and your client could disagree about which choice was the best.
For this reason, always keep your client aware of critical choices you’re making about the project. For example, when I’m writing a sales page, this means getting my client’s approval for the main hook and theme of the sales page.
I do this before I write a single word of copy. This hook determines how I will open the sales page, how the rest of the copy will develop, and what types of headlines we can use.
If you’re creating a design, give your client a general idea of the visual approach you have in mind. This way, you’ll get valuable feedback and inputs from your client–before you put in many hours of work into the project.
4. Reflect Your Client’s Voice, Not Yours
Study your client’s style, tone, branding and personality, to make sure your final output reflects these. Keep your ego out of it. You have your own style and personality. However, you’re not being paid to showcase it.
I do this by reading my client’s blog and newsletters. If they have videos, I watch them. I closely read their emails to me, to get a sense of how they communicate verbally. I go over their websites. I even start following them on Twitter.
Again, you may balk at the amount of time and effort all this takes. It does entail extra work; however, it will certainly pay off.
5. Give Your Client a Chance to Make Improvements
You will rarely create something your clients love completely at first glance. That’s ok. If you’ve done the previous steps diligently, your client will probably want very minor tweaks.
I allow up to two revisions on anything I write for my clients. Beyond that, I charge extra. I rarely have to revise twice, and I’ve never had to charge a client additional fees for revisions. Again, all the pre-writing preparation helps ensure that few major changes need to be made to make the client happy.
Don’t fall in love with your work. It’s easy for creative professionals to get attached to their work. You may feel that your writing is a part of you. Your design is an extension of yourself. That’s true.
However, you’re writing and designing (or whatever else) for money and not for the sake of art. Therefore, give your clients what they want.
If you disagree with what your client wants, give your expert opinion–but do not insist on it. By now, you know what outcome they want to achieve. Respectfully offer them options you think will best help them achieve their goals.
But, stay DETACHED from your client’s final decision. As far as your advice is concerned, your clients can take it or leave it.
Is the Customer Always Right?
Of course not. Everybody makes mistakes. However, in a freelancer/client relationship, it’s the client who pays. Therefore, the client’s directions should be followed.
In cases where your client wants to do something illegal, immoral or something you would not want to be associated with, return their money and cut off all ties.
It’s useless to try to change their mind and get them to follow you. However, do make sure you’re protected and your name won’t be associated with what they’re about to do.
It helps for freelancers to have personal projects where you make all the decisions. This gives you an outlet for your personality, for your art. Do something purely for your own pleasure and not anybody else’s.
That way, you’ll be in a better position to serve your clients.
Your Tips Please
What are your tips for pleasing your clients? How do you ensure that your outputs will always delight them? Do share by posting a comment below.
Image by erin MC hammer