As a freelancers or business person, your primary aim has always been delivering quality work and achieving customer satisfaction. However, if you look from a broader perspective enhancing the overall client experience is as necessary. Clients are the most important aspect of any business, and therefore must be satisfied at the end of the day. Even with the best results achieved, the client may not work with you again, if they have had a rough patch with you.
One of the major factors affecting the client’s decision of working with you again is their overall experience. If not focused on all phases while servicing with the client, a bad experience has a higher chance of getting relayed in their social circle than a positive experience. The ratio of 5:1 suggests that five positive impact creating situations fill in for every one bad encounter. Therefore, starting from lead generation to deliverables, you must play your cards right.
Want to enrich the whole client experience? Continue reading this post to know the right things to be done in each phase. If followed correctly, no one can stop you from getting repeated clients and from attracting more clients.
- Lead Exploration
The client experience begins as soon as you start with lead exploration. Each step post this is going to contribute to shaping the client’s opinion. It all starts with finding prospective clients.
Target the niche. Once you find suitable prospects, shortlist a few. Do not forget to match your skills and expertise with their requirements. Just to get started, you do not want to rush into a project and start off on a compromising note. Make your decision after a thorough evaluation. Identify the people you want to work with; with whom you can build a long-term relationship. Make sure you do your homework well. Study the client well in advance; know his/her preferences beforehand and prepare your offerings accordingly. Do a background check also, if necessary.
2. Perfect pitch & Project Proposal
Once you have generated enough leads and decided on who you want to move forward with, the next step is to approach the clients with your proposal and to make a perfect pitch. You know what the client is looking for or what their requirements are, framework pitch around that. Tell them how you are going to help them solve a problem, or go to make a value addition to their work. The key here is acing the research part. Your pitch should be crisp and should reveal how your strategies are going to be worth their money. To avoid any misunderstandings later on, be clear on your offerings, price and timeframe from the beginning itself.
A written communication in the form of a project proposal is often submitted to the client by the service provider before closing the deal. The proposal lays out essential pieces of information about the project including objectives, plan of action, timeline, fee structure, and other terms and conditions. Proofread all the sentences before submitting the proposal. This is your chance to convince your clients that you are a good fit for them. Answer their ‘Why should they hire you?’ question at this stage.
3. Closing the Deal
Now that you have established the foundation with clear communication and know each other’s expectations, go and try to build a connection with your client. Offer them a test service, or start with a small contract to see how you two work together. Try and overdeliver yourself at this point, because you want to create this association for a long term.
As the good rapport is made, talk about your actual offerings and set the projected fees. This is where negotiations take place. Do not compromise too much, ensure that the value received matches the value delivered. To maintain good client relations, always go for a ‘win-win’ situation. Both the parties should benefit from the deal.
Post these discussions, it’s time to seal the deal. Your call to action is getting that contract signed. Recheck the terms, also ensure that the client is aware of all the conditions mentioned in the contract. Maintain a good communication flow. Follow up with your clients frequently.
4. Delivering the project
This is the most important part of your journey with the client and where the actual work starts. Ensure that your goals are aligned with the client’s needs and expectations. With clear and specific goals in mind, you have to give your hundred percent. Start with creating an overall framework of what needs to be covered in due course of time. Start with brainstorming the ideas. Filter out the best ones that you think are feasible and share them with the client. This is to ensure that you begin the work with consent and start the project with a sense of direction.
As soon as you have the idea ready, start working on the draft. While doing so, keep the requirements in the mind. Go with your guts and trust yourself; you know your work. Divide the entire project into phases. After each phase, update the client about the project progress; this helps in maintaining transparency. Ensures that your client is aware about the work getting done. Share the document of your draft with the client. Ask for feedback and any edit requests, this is to know that both the parties are looking in the same direction. It is better to talk about the number of iterations that you are going to give the client in advance.
Once you are satisfied with the work you have crafted and have taken into consideration all the feedback received from the client, you are set to go. Deliver the project and witness the outcome.
At the workplace, mishaps can leave a lasting effect. Therefore, be careful and refrain from committing mistakes. Request for feedback, there is always scope for improvisations. Try to go an extra mile with the client; it can work wonders in maintaining a fruitful and long term relationship. Working with a client is like sailing a boat; from lead exploration to the final delivery one needs to tread carefully and take utmost care to maintain it in the long run.
Out blog on Sales 101 for freelancers is a must read to crack your next lead. Read it here.