Friday, August 17, 2007

Make Your Clients Love You

How do you make your writing clients love you, want to pay you on time, give you more work and offer you more money? That’s easy, be a wonderful writer and give them exactly what they want, and then some.

Here are a few tips to help you keep clients coming back for more:

Give Writing Clients What They Want
Read the brief, follow it and deliver what they ask for without typing errors or grammatical errors. Sounds simple enough, right? A lot of writers don’t follow directions and don’t clarify when they get confused. There are no such things as stupid questions.

Ok, well there are stupid questions but better to ask a stupid question than to have to do a rewrite.

Give Writing Clients More than what they asked for

Deliver it on time or early, even. If they want a $100 article, give them a $150 article if you want them coming back for more. It won’t take double the effort. It takes less effort to write a good article once over writing a bad article once and then having to do a rewrite. It also pays more in your ROI to do a good article rather than a mediocre one. Customers who get what they want will be back and most of them will be anxious to pay you on time because they want your services in future.

Be A Gem of a Writer

Here are the abc’s of being a gem:
Ask if you can help
Be courteous.

If you get on a level with a client that finds you socializing a little and they say they are swamped with work, ask how you can help. If they say they’re having a bad day, commiserate or empathize. A little bit of socializing can help you stand apart in the crowd and feel like a team member to them. You can make some great connections and get work directed at you that never has to go out to bid this way.

Be courteous.
The client should always be treated with professionalism. It’ll help if you need to ask for an extension or for them to pay right away when you need the cash flow and it helps you look like a professional. If you look like a pro, everyone will want to hire you time and again because they will feel like they’re getting value from you.

Communicate early if you’re going to be late, if you’re confused or if you have a question. Again, better to stop and ask rather than have to do a rewrite. Communication is also important for getting paid on time. Set and understand expectations up front. Communication is also essential if you want to get more work. If a buyer promises to write soon for more work and doesn’t, send a quick email. Don’t stalk them but let them know you’re around to help. It’ll often be appreciated. Send a:

“I loved working with you and hope to work with you again soon. Thanks for paying my invoice on time and if there’s anything else I can help you with, please let me know!”

I know a writer that writes well but is always late or forgets assignments. This writer doesn’t get a lot of repeat business. They laugh it off but I suspect their well shall run dry sooner than later. I am not perfect but take my work and my deadlines seriously. As a result, one example that paid off was that I had a client that I terminated for poor treatment of me with respect to communication and accounting who came back, treats me better than ever and voluntarily raised my rates because they want me to want to write for them.

In essence, think about the best customer service you get in your day to day life and try to give that to your clients.


Sharon Hurley Hall said...

Great advice as always, Dana. Building strong client relationships is a good way to make them last. I've had a similar experience with a client who paid poorly, who has just come back to me promising to do better.

Lillie Ammann said...

Dana, this are excellent tips. Another aspect of giving the client more than expected is to help with other problems besides writing. Many of my editing clients are not as computer-literate as they would like. They know they can always call me for quick advice over the phone on how to attach a file to e-mail or how to perform basic tasks in Word.