[This article was written by Gabriel Cabot.]
As any professional or young entrepreneur can attest to, communication is key when it comes to working with clients. They need to be shown that you have their best interests in mind, especially when working as a freelancer taking on work from various clients, all with their own specific requirements. Strong and effective communication is built with time and experience, however, it’s never too early to begin learning and implementing tools that can make the process happen much faster for yourself and those seeking your services. This article will outline a few simple techniques freelancers can use to improve their communication with current clients and create a strong work ethic for any clients their partner with in the future.
Share And Store Relevant Information Securely
They most important aspect to better communication with your freelance clients is the amount of access and input they have in the work you are producing with them. They should be able to have as much say in the process as necessary to produce the best result through easy contribution and awareness. Virtual data room providers offer a platform that is built to facilitate this communication and collaboration seamlessly and whenever necessary. With a VDR you can store all relevant information and allow any invited users to view what you have uploaded and provide their own feedback. Your clients will have all the access and information they deem necessary and can view it from wherever, whenever they need to without the fear that it can be easily hacked or leaked before the work is completed.
Inform Your Clients Of Your Methods
Before you begin working with your client, after establishing that your skills and portfolio match what they are looking for, you need to establish your methods of producing the work and results they want. Everyone works differently, so they may be expecting an outline from you that may be completely different than how you like to approach certain projects. Be clear and forthcoming about what they can expect in the upcoming weeks, provide a detailed explanation of what your services will look like and what you expect from them in return. Without their full cooperation and understanding you cannot comfortably be sure of how they will accept your methods and how they will receive your completed work.
Don’t Expect Clients To Read Your Mind
This point ties in with the one above because informing your clients of your methods is on the same level as not expecting your clients to read your mind when it comes to beginning a new project. Every plan you have should be laid out on the table for them before you start so that there are no surprises and no wasted time on both parts. This means that you should be asking your clients any and all questions that seem pertinent to the success of the project and fulfilling all their desires. What you may think to be successful might not be what they want for the money they are investing in your services. In the same breath, they shouldn’t be expected to leave you to your own devices without any creative say in the matter – both should work in tandem to make the processes as easy as possible.
Prepare What You Want To Ask Your Clients
When you are embarking on a client assignment and want them to be on the same page as you, it’s important to prepare beforehand the kinds of questions you will ask them so that your work is aligned with their desires. Know exactly the direction you want to take the work and ask your client if this fits their vision and what they want for the money they are putting in. You won’t always be able to do things exactly your way, so taking some time to outline everything you think you can compromise on and asking your clients their opinion is key in producing quality work. This Q&A can also be facilitated within a virtual data room so that all information stays in the same place and there is no confusion as a project progresses.
Use The Right Online Tools
Additionally, to using a VDR to store and share your documents, there are a plethora of other online tools that can help your communication with clients. Skype is a great tool for staying in contact if you work from a different country than the clients that have hired you or, on the other hand, if your clients are constantly on the move. Also sharing a calendar with all the tasks and meetings you will have with each other can help keep a specific schedule for the project and ensure that all areas of communication and collaboration are met on both ends. The advantage to working digitally is that there are endless amounts of apps that can help push a project forward and they should be used to their full extent.
Your mind should always be thinking about the next step to a project so that there are no surprises for yourself or your clients down the line. If you feel like you might need more time, let them know sooner rather than later. If you are running out of resources, share that as soon as you feel like you might be stretched a bit thin. Honesty will always be appreciated and communication about any issues is the best way to ensure that your client stays happy throughout a time-consuming process.
Gabriel Cabot: Freelance consultant in Central London with almost 10 years of experience working as an Startup incubator in London and Sydney for companies such as TripAdvisor and Digital Marketing Agencies.