Freelancing can be a challenging field. While it is a source of income, and a way for you to showcase your talent, it also comes with difficulties.
One major difficulty is our clients.
Not all clients who hire you will be difficult, but to a new freelancer, they can be intimidating. They control your money, the project outcome, and your creativity.
To make them less intimidating, follow these steps at your next client meeting: (and if you have any rebuttals, additions, or questions, I want to hear them in the comments!)
Step One: Ask Questions
Having the right information is crucial to a successful client project. Knowing about their business, their customers, their competitors, and more will help you along the process. Step one to talking with your client is to ask questions.
- How does your business help people?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who are your competitors?
Step Two: Listen
Once you have asked questions about your client’s business and etc., the next step is to listen. Clients hire freelance designers because they want somebody who can listen to their needs and use their knowledge to create something they like. When your client responds to your questions, listen carefully. Jot down specific information in a notepad such as:
- Details about their business
- Information on how their competitors run their business
- Descriptions of their target audience
- Preferences of the client
Step Three: Reiterate
Step three is to reiterate. To a freelancer, it may be annoying to repeat what you heard, but to a client, it makes all the difference. It tells the client you were listening carefully, and will apply this information to the project.
When the client hears this, they will trust you more, and be easier to work with throughout the project. It also prevents misinterpretations and miscommunications of goals/strategies which can severely hinder a project. Reiterate what the client said, and have the right information before going onto the next step.
Step Four: Lead the Way
Lastly, it’s time for you to lead the way. Now that you have asked questions, listened to their response, and reiterated their answers, it’s your turn to tell them what’s next in the project.
It’s critical you do this step before ending the meeting because it shows your client your expertise on the subject, and your leadership skills. Tell them the following:
- What you will be doing next
- How they are involved
- Why you are doing the next step
How do you communicate with intimidating design clients?
Do you have any tips to talking with clients? Do you have any client success stories you would like to share? Clients are scary to new freelancers, so insights from experienced freelancers are welcomed in the comments section.