Forgetting is more of an excuse than a reason for failing to be remembered. As a voice actor, or any freelancer for that matter, what is one of the leading things that make your business grow? Clients who come back for more. But, if you’re not at the top of your client’s mind, you’ll be left wondering what happened when they don’t come back.
Here are 5 tips from business professionals that will increase the odds in your favor.
1. Can They Hear You Now
From MBO Partners, a company providing Business Management Solutions for independent workers suggests to “Focus on Exceptional Communication” as one way to keep connected with clients. From their article, 6 Tips For Building And Maintaining Long Lasting Client Relationships:
Make timely, efficient communication a priority. Of course, communication with a single client should not consistently and unreasonably encroach on your personal time or negatively affect your productivity. However, being available demonstrates that your client’s project and satisfaction are important to you.
This could include following up a few days after delivering your audio files to find out if your client has everything they need. Ah, but you may be thinking that if they need something more, they’ll let you know. Maybe. Give your client an opportunity to ask. Who knows, it may turn in to more work. At the very least, your client feels cared for.
2. Being One with the SME
When I worked in the corporate world, I heard the three letter acronym SME for the first time. It made me giggle. It sounds made up. However, being a SME is nothing to laugh at. It stands for Subject Matter Expert, which means the person with this quality commands knowledge worth knowing. Clients respect SMEs and count on them for guidance.
Alyssa Gregory, Contributing Editor to The Balance, a company with a focus on understanding money and earning more, had this to say about SMEs in How to Strengthen Relationships with Your Clients:
Many times, your clients will welcome and appreciate suggestions on how to do things better or more effectively. Use your past experience and in-depth knowledge of the work you do in your business to help your clients develop solutions that surpass their initial expectations. This can be accomplished by comprehensive consulting, or even more informally, such as by sharing tips, advice and resources that will help your clients in their own businesses.
So when a client contacts you with a voiceover project and is not sure how it should sound, take the opportunity to give input. Or if a script seems a little wonky, take the initiative to ask questions and offer solutions. You’ll be a hero to those clients who’ve never worked with a voice actor. You’ll be their SME.
3. This is Pure Gold
Now, just because you’re s SME, doesn’t give you the license to be all snooty and hoity-toity. Give your clients the respect they deserve. You like to be treated nicely. They want to be treated the same way. In Entrepreneur Guest Writer Allen Duet’s article, 5 Tips for Building Strong Relationships With Clients, his first tip is to treat others the way you want to be treated:
This classic lesson seems like the simplest of tasks: Yet it is often the one forgotten. When engaging in business with a customer, put yourselves in the person’s shoes and provide the same level of service and respect that you would want.
Keep positive and make your clients feel working with you is hassle-free. It’s a pleasure! I always go back to the businesses that treat me well, and I’m sure you do too.
4. The Perfect Stranger
Be the best you that you can be. Coming off as something you aren’t will make you appear robotic. That doesn’t mean being sloppy and careless with work and clients; it means being genuinely human. In the Small Business Trends article, 7 Strategies for Better Managing Client Relationships, Larry Alton writes:
Stop trying to be such a polished version of yourself in front of customers. In an effort to clean yourself up, you’re actually cheapening your image and transforming yourself into someone you aren’t. They don’t want some ideal image of you. They want the real deal.
Mistakes are going to happen and it’s much better to be open about them. This proves that you’re human and, while they may be frustrated at the moment, it ultimately puts them at ease.
Whew, what a relief! That should take a massive weight off your shoulders. You want to be professional but real. There’s no such thing as perfect.
5. Why Can’t We Be Friends?
Working in solitude has a significant drawback. Opportunities to connect on other levels besides professional are almost non-existent. Developing ways to connect socially and getting to know your clients better will help create a stronger business bond.
Product Designer Fabio Muniz wrote in his HOW article, A Freelancer’s Guide to Building Great Client Relationships, being friends with clients is a good thing:
Get to know your clients. Get to know who they really are—what is their story, what they are building for the world, what kind of food they like. Do they have children? Do they like to travel? Put in the hours to learn about them. Show that you care, that you are not just in it for the money, that you want to truly help them.
Now, when you Friend you clients on Facebook or invite them to join your Linkedin network, you’ve got more in common than work.
To recap 5 Tips to Build Solid Client Relationships:
- Keep the communication flowing
- Be the expert your clients can depend on
- Treat clients like you want to be treated
- It’s OK to be human and have flaws
- Becoming friends with clients is a good thing
What are your suggestions for developing client relationships that last? Leave your comments below.
© 2017 J. Christopher Dunn