In this age of instant messaging and texting, usage of proper English (or whatever language you’re communicating in) has become a rarity.
It’s not uncommon to receive a text from your spouse that might say “k gtg ill b l8 2nite” or send an email to your friends that ends with “Later yo!”
However, if you rely on slang terms and a cryptic mishmash of letters and numbers in your professional communications, you might be scaring your clients away!
Turning potential clients into paying clients
Before prospective clients become paying clients, you generally must convince them that you’ve got the perfect blend of skills and experience to complete their project within a specified budget and in a timely fashion.
Oh, and it’s got to wow them, too. Most often you’ve also got to show them why you, and not your competitors, deserve the job. What may separate you (or your competition) from the herd may very well be your communication skills.
Why, you ask?
Professional communication establishes your credibility as a serious designer, not some flake in a bathrobe in your mom’s basement. Clients want to know they can trust you because often they’ve got to justify you not only to their boss(es), but also in their checkbooks.
Stand out through professional communication
So, how do you win them over through professional communication?
In emails, design briefs, quotes, etc:
- Use proper sentence case.
- Use proper grammar and punctuation.
- Proofread your work.
- Understand the difference between:
Then and than
Affect and effect
Insure and ensure
On phone calls, over Skype (and the like), and in meetings and interviews:
- Practice your pitch.
- Speak clearly.
- Avoid using “fillers” such as er, um, ah, etc.
Professional communication doesn’t mean you have to be stodgy or stuffy, though. Be positive, friendly, quirky, enthusiastic, or frank – but be yourself, and put your best foot forward.
Express yourself with confidence and in a manner that reflects how you intend to communicate throughout the rest of your (hopefully long and successful!) designer-client relationship. And always, always, show gratitude for their time and consideration.
Use these tips in your client correspondences to communicate that you’re serious about your work and you’re serious about their project. If all goes well, they won’t be embarrassed to refer you to their business partners, friends, and associates.
How do you communicate with your clients?
Have you ever won/lost clients due to your communication skills or lack thereof? Share your stories, tips, and thoughts in the comments on this post.