Next in my Wordcamp 2013 notes series are my notes for Carrie Dils presentation “Capturing Clients – How Building Good Relationships Will Build Your Business”. Carrie’s presentation left me with a page & a half of helpful tips which I’ll now share with you.
- Know Your Ideal Client. Understand what is valuable to them & where they hang out. (i.e. Linked In or a Chamber of Commerce meeting)
- Be Visible. Participate in events your clients participate in, make yourself available & have a network.
- Have Confidence. Know the value you provide, value your time & position yourself as someone of service.
- Offer Value. Share information & your network. Answer questions. No matter what stage you are in your career you have valuable information to share.
- Setting the Stage. Communicate, invite communication, insist on a response & acknowledge any form of communication you receive.
- Set Expectations. Give them a road map – a breakdown of what to expect, a timeline – when to expect it, & the costs associated with the various services you are providing.
- Set Your Client At Ease. Be in control, invite questions, drop knowledge or don’t (based on the client’s interest), be excited for your client (their success is yours), get your client excited & keep momentum.
- Create a Love Fest. Send them an end of project appreciation, send yearly hand-written notes to clients – this can be around the holidays (this often attracts repeat business), give referral gifts – can be as small as an e-mail or a $50 fruit basket for a larger job & keep in touch with clients – share a link, article, etc that is relevant to them.
- Send Service Related News. “Hey, this new plugin could help your site, I can help implement that for you if you would like.”
- Get Half of The Payment Upfront. This puts both sides at risk & motivates each side to do their part.
What to do in Bad Situations?
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
- Own Your Mistake. Give a peace offering. (i.e. $100/month value website maintenance making sure all plug-ins are up to date) Starbucks does this in the form of a Recovery Coupon, learn from their model.
- Define What Constitutes a Successful Website at the Beginning. To know what the customer wants is essential to making them happy.
- Don’t Do Business With Friends. As you progress in your freelance career give up doing business with friends, refer them to another designer. Maybe even work out a deal with another designer that they will send their friends & family to you & you will send yours to them. It just makes everyone’s life easier.
- Beware of Free Clients. Some folks are just trying to get stuff for free & do not really value your work.
What to Do With a Client Who’s Crazy?
- Prevention. Set expectations for the first call’s purpose: “to see if we’re a good fit”
- Provide Reasons. Increase cost & decrease availability or use the old “it’s not you, it’s me” bit.
Tips for Turning Pro Bono Into Paid Work
- Ask For A Referral or Testimony. A good word goes along way & is a nice form of reciprocation for pro bono jobs.
- Give Them A Bill. Treat them as a paid client by giving them a bill that illustrates what the cost of the pro-bono work you provided would be. This helps them realize & appreciate the value of what you’ve done.
Check out Carrie’s awesome write up of Wordcamp 2013, there are links to her own presentation slides as well as, many of the other presenters slides. So check out her post & get inspired.