[This article was written by Daniela McVicker.]
Being a freelancer requires so much more than just being good at your job. To have a great freelance career, you need to be able to negotiate new jobs, find new clients, and seal as many deals as possible. This is why your communication skills must be top-notch.
If you’re not sure how great your communication skills are, you should continue reading. We’ve put together a list of 7 proven tips that will help you communicate with your clients better.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Respect Their Time
There’s nothing worse for your relationship with the clients than to disregard their time and treat them with a lack of respect.
The foundation of every great communication is mutual respect and confidence. That means that you have to pay attention to:
- answering your emails in time
- showing up 5 minutes early to that video call
- respecting every deadline, you’ve set
If you fail to do so, your clients will perceive you as unreliable and highly unprofessional. That will deeply damage your communication or even end it completely.
2. Understand Their Needs
Your client is not a professional in your industry, which is why they hired you. That means that they need help from you to figure out what they need.
The first step in this process is for you to listen to what they have to say. Make sure you listen carefully and try and identify their problem.
Let’s say you’re in digital marketing and your client wants to launch a social media campaign for their startup. They need:
- raising brand awareness
- their target audience to follow them on social media
- turning those followers into clients
Your client suggests that you organize a giveaway, but it’s clear to you that you first need a strong followers base. This is why you have to step in and suggest focusing on quality content and appealing visuals primarily.
To put it simply, it’s your job to:
- understand your clients’ needs
- listen to their suggestion
- use your professional skills, knowledge, and experience, to suggest the best possible solution
This is the winning combination and the most productive form of communication you can offer your clients.
3. Hold Video Meetings
While written communication is the most common form of communication between freelancers and their clients, speaking to a client live is always a great idea.
This type of face-to-face communication can be productive and beneficial for both parties, and here’s why:
- you get to know the client better
- you can elaborate on the project to great detail
- you’ll be able to say, ask, or suggest something in a less restricted way
This means that you should hold a video meeting with your client every time you feel there’s a need for it. You can do it at the beginning of your cooperation, or hold it every month to discuss your previous or future projects.
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
4. Report Back on Longer Projects
If you’re dealing with a project that takes longer to be completed, you must continue communicating with your clients regularly.
That means that you should report back on the different stages of any longer project and make sure that you inform your client about:
- the stages you complete
- the decisions that need to be made along the way
- the progress
- respecting the deadline
- unexpected setbacks
Your client needs to know that you’re actively working on their project and that you’re investing your energy into making the best possible results.
5. Write Clearly & Accurately
Written communication between you and your client is of utmost importance. You have to make sure that your writing skills are impeccable and everything you write is written clearly and professionally.
The important thing is that your emails, messages, proposals, and project overviews are:
- properly structured
- concise and to the point
It’s also that you use the type of vocabulary that your clients can understand and not get too formal and technical. Make sure they’re not confused and understand everything you have to say.
6. Set Realistic Expectations
Your client is not the professional here, you are. This is why you need to be the one in charge of setting everyone’s expectations and making sure you stay on the right track.
That means that you need to be careful about:
- setting deadlines and not letting the client suck you into something you can’t achieve
- arranging the terms and conditions of the deal
- promising what you can do
- taking on projects that are too big for you to handle
Stay realistic and don’t work against yourself. Don’t promise something you can’t do in the fear of losing a client.
7. Say No
Finally, one of the most difficult things for so many freelancers is to learn how to say no to a client.
It’s hard to perceive yourself as someone in charge of the situation, but you are. Naturally, you want to make your client happy, but not at the cost of making your own life miserable.
That’s why you need to learn to say no to thing such as:
- clients who don’t respect you
- unreliable clients
- the project you don’t like
- terms and conditions you feel are unfair or wrong
Fight for yourself and don’t let anyone tell you what to do. There will be other clients and you’ll still manage to work your way up the professional ladder.
There’s no secret recipe for maintaining healthy and productive communication with your clients. Instead, there’s a lot of learning on the go and thinking about what’s best for both sides.
Use the proven tips listed above to improve communication with your clients. Start making the necessary changes today and work on achieving a smooth work communication with everyone.
Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. Currently, she contributes to Topwritersreview. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.