The Freelancer’s Guide To Dealing With Non-Savvy Clients

Dealing With Non Savvy ClientsAs freelancers, we know that there are different types of clients, all with unique needs and requests. It’s quite obvious because clients are human beings after all and they ought to have different tastes and perspectives. One of such clients some of us usually consider being the freelancer’s nightmare, is the non-savvy client.

I’m not just talking about the non tech-savvy clients, but about all of those who have no idea how this web-working thing works, ask tons of questions and seem to do everything they can to pester you.

So, how do you handle such clients? Do you get frustrated and call it quits? Well, if you dread such clients like anything then here are some things that should help you deal with them. Let’s all help each other out, that’s what the comment section is for! Please share your own tips and tricks with the rest of us!

Be Upfront

It’s easy to spot a non-savvy client, you just need 15 minutes on the phone. Once you find out, you need to make sure that you give him the details about the entire process, the time you will take to complete certain tasks and for the whole project and when you expect to get paid.

It’s important to be very candid and tell him what he should and shouldn’t expect from you. If you feel that he might bombard you with emails or phone calls then tell him that you will email him twice a week and keep him informed on how everything is going. Of course letting him know you’re available if he has any questions. Basically let him know you are available for him, but make sure he knows you’re working and trying to get as much done as possible.

Being upfront during the first conversation can help set expectations with the client and avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Communicate

It’s important to listen actively to such clients and understand their expectations. You should not be the only one talking. Remember, communication is a two way street. Once you realize that the guy on the other side doesn’t know much, don’t dominate the conversation, ask questions instead, let the client talk and give you as much information as you need. Always ask to clarify if you’re not sure.

Remember that each of us have our own skill sets and it’s the same thing for our clients. For example, the guy may be new to to web-design, but maybe he’s a branding expert. You client may have experience in something the project can benefit from. You should never sound condescending while talking to him and always be humble and patient.

Avoid The Technical Jargon

This is an important thing to keep in mind and it’ll help you a great deal in making the communication process with your client smooth and effective. Avoid using terms that are technical and limited to your field of expertise. Try and explain things in layman’s terms using examples.

Using simple language will serve two purposes:

  1. The client will be satisfied with your explanations – You look good
  2. He/she won’t start bombarding you with emails asking tons of questions you already answered – You both save time

Go The Extra Mile

I used to work in the customer service department of a multinational firm. During our training we were taught that the customers who seem irritated or annoying initially tend to be the most appreciative ones in the end, provided you resolve their problem and go that extra mile to help them out.

This is true with your clients too. The only thing a client asks for is attention (especially true for non-savvy clients). If you go that extra mile and help them out or probably teach them about a thing or two, then these clients could turn out to be your best contacts bringing in more work your way. I always see a non-savvy client as an opportunity, not as an obstacle or a nightmare and go that extra mile to help.

Your Turn Now

So what’s your take on this? What are your experiences in dealing with these clients? Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments below! :)

Cheers,
Abhijeet Mukherjee

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About the author: Abhijeet Mukherjee is a blogger and freelance writer. He is a regular contributer for many blogs notably including DumbLittleMan.com and MakeUseOf.com. He also maintains his own blog about tech tips, productivity hacks and blogging tips – Jeet Blog