Being a successful freelancer isn’t all about expert design skills. Sometimes what it really takes is a human touch. No matter at what stage of your freelance career you’re currently in, it can be tough to plan things from a long-term perspective. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when your income and workload are both unstable and fluctuating month-to-month.
However, just like any business must plan strategically to stay competitive, freelancers also need to continuously keep looking forward. The good news? The connections you build on a daily basis are the primary tool for achieving this goal.
Just like marriages and friendships, building solid client relations takes a lot of time and a great deal of work. There will be joyous moments and there will be difficult ones. But like any healthy relationship, it requires work to cultivate trust and open lines of communication. In today’s article, we will share with you 9 essential tips that will help you build effective client relationships throughout your freelance projects.
What does CRM (Client Relationship Management) mean?
Client relationship management is the process through which businesses interact and foster productive partnerships with their customers. Good client relationships often result in consistent income, loyal customers and a good brand reputation.
On the other hand, if you fail to properly manage your relationships with customers, it may have a devastating effect on your expanding plans. Negative feedback may become viral in a hurry, especially because nowadays it’s simpler than ever to post a critical review online.
That’s why client relationship management is so important, especially for small and freelance businesses.
Benefits of CRM
Prioritizing and investing in client relationship management can lead you to experience remarkable benefits throughout your freelance projects. Here are some of the most obvious benefits:
Good Return on Investment (ROI)
Industry professionals assert that increasing your customer retention by just 5% can result in a profit boost from 25% to 95%. It’s always much more effective to sell to an existing customer than to find brand-new ones.
If you take the time to get to know your customers well and build strong personal relationships with them, they will gladly provide you with honest, insightful feedback for you. Then you can improve your service to meet their needs and ultimately see more revenue as a result.
The opinions of friends and family members are recognized to be much more trustworthy than anonymous advertisements. Practicing relationship marketing results in generating happy clients, who then refer their friends and family members and bring in new business opportunities through personal referrals.
If you consistently use every opportunity to delight your customers and build long-term relationships with them, you will increase the chances of receiving positive reviews online too, which is a very important component of today’s digital world. Receiving positive online reviews is one of the great opportunities of attracting new customers.
Now that we have discussed the definition and advantages of client relationship management, let’s take a look at some of the most effective techniques for successfully managing client relationships.
9 essential tips for building effective client relationships
Successful companies and freelancers often follow some of the common best practices in the day-to-day client relationship management process. Here are 9 essential tips that will help you build effective relationships with your current and potential clients.
Tip #1 – Prioritize people over prospects
Freelancers frequently make the mistake of networking with the single goal of winning clients. However, networking is your unique chance to establish human-to-human connections and gain the most interesting insights of the industry. Discover the values that matter to your professional community and cultivate a sincere interest in their personal lives.
Pets, kids and family, traveling, hobbies — there’s almost always at least one shared interest that will facilitate a good connection with your current or potential client. Take time to familiarize yourself with your clients before presenting them with a project proposal. Understanding their preferences and interests can transform a cold lead into a warm acquaintance, ultimately leading to a potential project opportunity.
Tip #2 – Engage your client in the goal-setting process
Your dedication to the client relationship should be demonstrated from the outset of the goal-setting process. Just because a client approaches you for a solution does not imply they desire to give away full control over establishing goals and formulating strategies.
When both parties are fully engaged in the goal-setting process, it usually results in significantly improved outcomes that are genuinely customized to your client’s requirements.
Tip #3 – Communicate with your clients regularly
Effective client relationships are primarily based on proactive communication, and as a freelance professional, you must be the one who takes the initiative.
Clients shouldn’t have to wait for days to receive a response after sending an email. Instead, you should take the lead by proactively updating your clients on your progress. The goal is to keep your clients so well-informed that they don’t need to ask you about updates or information, as you’ve already provided it to them.
Communication tools like Lynxi.io is a great way to stay in touch and manage projects together with your client on a daily basis. Lynxi creates a unique opportunity for you to reach out and manage all the client content in just one place.
Tip #4 – Promise only what you can deliver
Customers always remember the promises you have made to them and promising something you can’t deliver is certain to lead to a big disappointment. In similar cases, they might even spread information that could seriously damage your reputation on the market.
Given these types of results, it is always essential to get a full understanding of your responsibilities at the early stage of the project just to make the right promises you are sure to deliver to your client.
Tip #5 – Address your client’s needs before they arise
No matter what your role is in the process with the customer, you are ultimately responsible for solving their problems and assisting them in achieving their objectives.
Putting yourself in the client’s position and anticipating their needs will go a long way toward building trust and confidence to provide superior service and deliver better results.
Tip #6 – Remember important events with a personalized approach
Today’s digital habits have significantly weakened our personal relationships. It’s simple to post a birthday greeting on a client’s Facebook wall or click “like” on a post highlighting their business accomplishments and consider it a meaningful interaction. But even small, thoughtful gestures can make a big impression in this tap-to-like culture.
Professional freelancers usually keep a calendar of important dates and reach out to current and potential clients when it’s essential.
Tip #7 – Seek feedback
Always try to actively seek customer feedback, whether by asking directly, or using social media (websites, forums, blogs and other networking sites). Receiving positive feedback from your client will make you sure that you both are on the same page and in case you receive some negative remarks, you will understand which parts of the project you could do in a better way and what you need to work on in a more attentive manner.
Tip #8 – Add value
Leverage what you know about your customers to offer advice and recommendations on additional products and services that may be of help either now or in the future.
Tip #9 – Reward loyalty
Offering referral discounts is always a very effective way to show appreciation and reward loyalty — by providing a 10-15% discount on your client’s next invoice for every new customer they refer to you. Show your clients you appreciate them and grow your business at the same time. It’s amazing how this simple approach will trigger your happy clients to spread the word about you. Without spending any money on advertisements, it’s one of the simplest methods to increase customer retention and broaden your market reach.
A lasting relationship always requires significant time and lots of effort. In order to build long-lasting relationships with your customers, it’s important to put them first and invest in creating a smart customer relationship management strategy.
Lynxi.io is a content marketing and AI writing assistant platform that will help you manage client content in one place. Lynxi makes it easy to plan, manage and report on work from anywhere, helping you as a freelancer to be more effective, improve your client relations and at the same time get more things done.
When a freelancer and the client both have clarity about the work getting done, the ultimate success is guaranteed. Try Lynxi and start collaborating today!