Most writers enjoy their own company; you spend enough time alone in a room typing on a keyboard, and you adjust to it. That being said, building and maintaining lasting client relationships can be challenging. If you’re an introverted writer, like many of us, there are hacks to improving your relationship skills.
What is the Benefit of Client Relationships?
A freelance copywriter’s living depends on them having a good reputation. You don’t have to be best friends with your clients, but maintaining a good relationship is critical to being professional. There are many ways you can benefit from building client relationships.
Clients that like you are more likely to hire you again in the future. Not only that, but clients might recommend you to their contacts if they’ve enjoyed working with you. Freelance copywriters often get repeat work and rolling contracts from a select few clients they like and respect. Building positive relationships can help you develop a roster of reliable work, ensuring your livelihood.
You produce better work when you thoroughly understand your client’s wants and needs. It’s easier to bring their vision to life when you take the time to develop a deeper understanding with your clients. You can create an excellent recurring cycle where your clients like you more, you produce better work for them, they like you even more, etc.
We all know what it’s like to work with someone we don’t especially like. It can negatively affect your mental state and make it more challenging to enjoy your work. One of the biggest advantages of being a freelance worker is that you can choose your colleagues. Developing positive relationships makes your work more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Positive relationships with your clients can actually lead to higher-paying work as a freelance copywriter. Your clients are more likely to come to you for your input and advice if they trust and like you. When you have a strong client relationship, you can become their preferred copywriter. You can show off your skills and let clients see your value, leading to bigger, more complicated projects with higher budgets.
So, we know there are heaps of advantages to having strong client relationships, but how do we get them? It’s easier said than done for some of us, but there are actionable ways you can develop great relationships with your clients that benefit both of you.
How to Develop Client Relationships (With 6 Actionable Steps)
Just like with any other relationship, it takes a conscious effort to develop and sustain positive client relationships. Thankfully, there are many actionable steps you can take to ensure your clients respect and value you. Let’s talk about six ways you can build strong client relationships.
1. Welcome Them
When you start a new project with new clients, send them some information about yourself and your hopes for the future of your partnership. Using an onboarding process like this is an excellent opportunity to ensure you both have access to any documents/folders/software you need for the smoothest start to your work relationship.
Invite them to book a meeting with you via video call or in person if possible. You can have an initial conversation about their plans and your mutual expectations for the relationship/contract. It’s also an excellent way to get to know them more personally; working with people you like is much nicer.
2. Gather Data
You want to gather hard and soft data about your client and their business. When you first start working together, ask them a series of questions to understand more about them and their perspective. Collaborative working can be challenging, especially with remote teams like freelance copywriters and their clients.
Having a thorough comprehension of your client and their work is one way to avoid mishaps and miscommunications in the process. Ask questions about what they want to achieve from the project, how they prefer to communicate, and how they define success. Getting into their headspace helps you produce the work they want the most.
3. Keep Track
It’s crucial to remember the details you learn about your clients. People like to be remembered, so track details like names, upcoming events, and weekend plans. You might want to keep a diary of the information you learn to make it easier to keep track when you’re catching up with your clients.
Keeping track is essential for business and personal information; being professional and being likeable are two different things. You should be able to recall details your clients have told you and share personal information about yourself. Hobbies, pets, and holidays are all valid topics of conversation but steer clear of topics like romantic relationships, interpersonal arguments, and personal beliefs to maintain professionalism.
4. Communicate Openly
Communication is the number one contributor to working together successfully. With onboarding and data gathering out of the way, there are more ways you can communicate with your clients effectively. When sending a brief to your clients, be thorough and transparent. Explain what you’ll do, why you think it’s the best choice for your client, and the results you expect to achieve with your work.
Clients appreciate someone who can demystify the copywriting process and make it easier to get what they want. Your clients are your business partners, so balance being personable and professional. Don’t leave room for misunderstandings.
5. Be Proactive
Being proactive is part of being an excellent freelance copywriter. Don’t wait for something to become a problem if you can contact your client to resolve it sooner. The same goes for ideas and suggestions. Don’t wait to be asked for your input or advice on something.
Reaching out to your clients shows them you’re thinking of them, prioritising their needs, and are willing to go above and beyond to help them reach their goals. Proactivity can lead you to valuable client relationships.
Some clients are more challenging to manage, but you’re more likely to develop mutual respect and understanding if you approach issues from their angle. Try to see things from your client’s perspective when you’re communicating. This also makes it easier to figure out how to resolve the problem and establish if you can work forward from it.
One effective way to empathise and improve client relations is by being an active listener. Active listeners focus on what the speaker is saying rather than what they should say next. Keep reading to learn how to be an active listener for your clients.
How to be an Active Listener
The difference between listening and actively listening is about more than just paying attention. Active listeners try to understand the meaning behind another person’s words rather than just taking them in at face value. Try these techniques to improve your active listening skills.
Don’t think about your response before the other person has finished speaking
Don’t judge what the speaker says or offer advice without a prompt
Don’t interrupt while the other person is speaking
Stay mentally present in the conversation to take in what’s said
Condense what the speaker says and repeat it back to them to ensure you’ve understood
Ask open questions to encourage your client to expand on their point
You’ll notice that you and your clients understand each other better using these techniques. When you paraphrase and repeat what your clients say, it shows them that you’re engaged in conversation. The person you’re talking to feels valued when you actively listen to them and do the work to understand what they mean.
TIP: If you’re not sure you understand your client, ensure you ask straightforward, open questions to get the most thorough explanation possible. Try these questions.
Can you tell me what you mean by that?
Can you explain that in more detail?
What does that mean for you and your business?
How do you want to achieve that?
Asking questions like these make it easier for your client to explain themselves without feeling like they are repeating themselves. Instead, they can expand on their initial ideas and go more in-depth about what they’re looking for in a writer.
Client relationships are essential for anyone who wants to establish themselves as a professional copywriter. Having clients who like you is the key to securing more, better work that advances your career.
You can build and maintain positive client relationships in many ways, but active listening is far and away the most effective method. Keep practising your active listening skills to improve your people skills and, in turn, your work’s success. If you have any more questions about working as a professional copywriter, check out our blog for all the information you need.
Check out our responses to some frequent questions about client relationships.
What are the 5 Ways to Build Better Customer Relationships?
The five best ways to build better relationships with your copywriting clients are: communicating effectively, maintaining honesty, asking questions, being proactive, and developing trust. Clients want to feel validated and understood, so talking to them openly, being honest about when you need more information, and coming forward with your own thoughts and suggestions helps them to trust you. These features all together create strong customer relationships.
How Do You Effectively Manage Client Relationships?
Regular communication is an effective way to manage client relationships. You can keep a secure spreadsheet to document your interactions and any relevant information about your clients. Weekly contact and monthly/semi-monthly digital meetings can help you keep up with your client’s needs and expectations.
How Do You Deepen Relationships with Customers?
One effective way to deepen your relationships with customers and clients is to share personal conversations with them as well as professional ones. Stay away from topics that are too personal, like interpersonal disputes or religious beliefs. Regularly checking in with them and consistently providing excellent work that delivers what they need will strengthen and deepen your relationships with your clients.