How to Make Your Client Love You
Keeping clients happy is a huge part of what makes a good consultant.
As you move from business to business, the chances are that you’ve noticed that some projects run smoother than others because of your relationship with the people you work with.
Here are some of the key things you can focus on to make sure your clients love working with you on every project.
Go Beyond the Brief
When you’re working as a freelance management consultant, take the time to learn the details of your client’s business.
Things will pop up that are not directly relevant to your project and can give you solid information about the broader direction that the business is heading in. By learning about other areas of their business you’ll also benefit from seeing how different departments work. This can help you to plan your work to fit well with different parts of the broader company machine. Being aware of the big picture will help you to do focused work that fits.
Learn to anticipate what your clients will need in the future. As you start freelancing as a management consultant, clients will appreciate the foresight you can bring to their projects. As a specialist who has worked on similar projects with other companies, they’ll look to you when planning for future scenarios.
For some freelance management consultants, integrating with an existing team will be a key part of your role. Focus on empowering the team around you to do their best work. Sometimes you’ll be hired for leadership, other times you’ll be hired for technical execution. Make sure you’re clear on your role in the team at the start of projects to make sure you can do your best work and integrate well with your new team.
You may be surprised to learn that even management consultants can sometimes make mistakes. Accept and acknowledge your mistakes as they come up. Trying to downplay, hide, or ignore errors is best avoided. Your clients will appreciate the honesty and will often be the best people to make sure you get things back on track.
It pays to ask questions and show a genuine interest in the answers that you get to them. It’s amazing how many people get so stuck in their ways of working that instead of listening to what clients are telling them, their mind is already firm on what they are going to do. Don’t fall into this trap, clients love working with consultants who listen, learn, and adapt their work for their specific situation.
It should go without saying, but make sure you do all you can to always deliver your best work. What you did before you started working with a client helped to get you the job, but they only really have eyes for the work you’re delivering for them. Your reputation is at stake with every job that you do. As a freelancer, whether you found your clients on a freelance consulting platform or through a referral, lapses in the quality of your work could have lasting consequences for your freelance career. The best freelance consulting platforms have particularly high standards that you’ll need to maintain to stay active on there.
Be transparent with your clients. As well as making them aware of things that are going well, don’t be afraid to share the details of the challenges you’re facing. Especially if they are issues that they can help resolve. Clients will be grateful to you for sharing appropriate issues as an external perspective can really work to help businesses improve.
Make the scope of your work clear at the very start of your projects. Ensuring you’re on the same page from the beginning will help prevent misunderstandings as the work progresses.
Tell Them How It Is
Don’t be afraid to share bad news, but try your best to deliver it armed with a solution. Freelance management consultants are hired to solve problems, not create them. Clients love consultants who are able to provide solutions at the same moment that they share any problems, but this shouldn’t stop you from highlighting major issues that you can’t fix on your own.
When a client reaches out to you, respond to the message as soon as you can. It can help reassure them that you take the work you do for them seriously. If an answer will take you a long time to figure out, make sure you acknowledge their message to tell them you’re looking into it. Frustration will grow if questions are frequently met with long periods of silence. Your relationship could become damaged over something that is easy to avoid.
When you start working with a new team, go out of your way to slot in with their workflow, and work with the tools that they use. From communication to project management, take the time to get up to speed with their tech and integrate. Even if you’ve been hired to help migrate from one digital tool to another, taking the time to learn how they currently work with their existing systems will pay dividends when helping to design or implement any future solutions.
Always remember you’re at work and that your clients are paying for your time. Try to avoid slipping into the over-familiar or spending too long in casual conversations. This is a key difference when comparing yourself to full-time employees, who are rightly given more slack to chat about their weekends. Of course, there is a balance to be had here and you need to be true to the person you are, but don’t lose sight of your goals and the role you’ve been hired to do.
Establish early into projects how your clients like to be updated. Some will request daily updates while others will be more comfortable catching up weekly. It’s a good move to establish this at the very start of your projects to avoid any confusion or uncertainty as the projects get going.
If you’re working with a client who you connected with on a freelance consulting platform like Consultport, it’s especially important to establish preferences and set up ways of working at the very start of your project. Your reputation and your profile on consulting platforms could be damaged over a simple misunderstanding about client communication preferences.
Say It Clearly
Avoid using jargon and communicate with your clients in a clear and direct way.
Make sure you prepare for your meetings. Turning up empty-handed and running through thoughts off the top of your head is not a professional way to operate and your clients will grow frustrated.
Don’t give them updates full of errors. Double-check any numbers you’re quoting and make sure that you’ve avoided spelling and grammar mistakes.
Their success is also yours
Clients love to work with freelance management consultants who care about what they do. Show them that you’re invested in the success of their project.
Whether you connected with the client on a freelance consulting platform or they’re an old school friend who approached you directly, showing all your clients that you care about the work you’re doing for them is a very good move.
Clients notice when you take pride in the work that you deliver, and it will keep them coming back for more and recommending your services to others.