If you want to command a six-figure fee, you need to deliver a six-figure experience.
That means communicating well, communicating often and communicating like the rock star writer you are.
Effective client communication will put you on the right track from the very beginning. It will help you lock down clients, keep momentum going, deliver a great final product, and most importantly, keep that client coming back for more.
Are you communicating like a six-figure pro?
If you are not sure, check out these 7 strategies and see how many you currently do and which ones you may need to implement.
1. Stay in Touch
When clients are paying the big bucks, they want to know their money is being put to good use.
Even if you’re not done with a project yet, keep your clients up-to-date on what’s going on. Send them daily progress reports, let them know what has been completed, and keep them apprised of any upcoming deadlines or milestones you plan to hit. This not only shows them that you’re hard at work on their behalf, but it also gets them excited about the final product.
2. Be Flexible
As introverts, most of us freelance writers prefer to email or Skype chat to discuss projects and contact clients. Unfortunately, not all clients are comfortable with this – especially those who are paying top-dollar for your services.
Many of these clients want a more personal type of communication with their writer, either over the phone, via video chat or, if you’re in the same city, maybe even in person. Though this might not be your ideal form of conversation, try to be as flexible as possible. The more comfortable the client is with you, the more willing they’ll be to work with you again in the future – and that means more money down the line!
3. Keep Their Needs in Mind
You’re there to serve your clients’ needs. Keep that in mind with every client conversation.
When pitching, don’t just talk about your expertise and skills; tell them what you can give them. Show them exactly how you can help their business, improve their brand and make them money.
The same applies as you work further into the project. If you need more information or have questions, make sure the client knows why you need it and how it will help you deliver a better product. Angle your communication so that it’s a benefit to your client – not just another expense or task on their to-do list.
4. Always Respond
Every time your clients contact you – even if it’s just a one-sentence email –take the time to respond.
They may have just sent a simple “Thank you,” “I will check on this for you” or “Have a great day!” but no matter how long or how important the message is, it always warrants a response.
Responding lets clients know that you’re available, that you’re on task, and that you appreciate the time and effort they put into contacting you. You never want to leave a client hanging or wondering where you are. Always show them that their money is at work for them, and that you’re a dedicated, hard-working member of their team – however temporarily.
5. Know Whom to Communicate With
As you work with more clients, you may find yourself working with additional team members such as a project manager, a CEO, a marketing manager or any number of other people.
Know what role each person plays, and keep them in the loop when necessary. Also, be careful not to include every person in every conversation. There’s nothing worse or more frustrating than an endless stream of group emails and CCs that have nothing to do with you. It’s a blurry line at times, but it’s important to communicate with the right people, at the right time.
6. Double-Check Everything
When it comes to your writing skills, your clients expect excellence.
That means no typos, no misspellings and no glaring grammar or punctuation errors. Double-check every message, email and piece of client communication you send out. Run spell-check on your attachments and emails, read through everything at least twice, and when you’re unsure about something, ask a friend or fellow writer for a little help. You never want haphazard communication to impact a client’s impression of you. They may not want to come back in the future!
7. Respond Quickly
Now, I’m not saying you need to check your email every 5 minutes or reply immediately to 4 a.m. Skype messages, but responding quickly and in a timely manner is paramount to client success.
My rule of thumb is to respond to an email or message within a few hours, at the very least. If the message is sent at night time, you have a little more leeway. Sometimes, you might not have the answer the client is looking for or you may need to do a little more digging before you do. That’s okay. Simply tell the client that you received his message, that you’re on top of it, and that you’ll keep him updated as you work to address the concern.
You Can Do it!
Some of these may seem like obvious tips, but you’d be surprised how many writers only focus on their deliverables and not the communications they’re sending to clients.
These messages are just as important – if not more – than the projects you work on. They play a big role in the jobs you land and your overall reputation. If you can communicate like a six-figure writer, you can get paid like one!
Here are some other helpful articles on freelance client management.