More and more people are becoming self-employed. It’s a wonderful way to make extra money. It can also be a rewarding full-time career. If you’re following your passion and working freelance, you know there’s competition.
You not only compete to find good clients, you also compete to keep them. Paying attention to a few details can make the difference between a full schedule and having to hunt for clients. In short, you need to stand out as a service provider to build and grow your business. The good news is, if you’re dedicated, a few simple strategies can make a huge difference.
#1 Clear, consistent and easy communication
One of the biggest struggles for clients is finding a provider who communicates well. It seems like such an easy task. Yet consistently clear and professional communication can be a challenge for some.
Clear, consistent and easy communication means:
* Responding to your client’s emails or phone calls promptly. Don’t let 24 hours go by without a response.
* Responding professionally. Ego has no place in a client communication. Respect, get to the point, and be courteous and professional.
* Respond clearly. Email communications are easy to misunderstand. If you’re unsure your message is being communicated or received the way you intend, call your client. Or have a second party read your email for clarification.
To stand out, make sure each communication you have with your client is positive. Be enthusiastic about connecting with your clients. They’ll receive that enthusiasm and reciprocate.
As a service provider your clients are looking for a few key features. They want their service to be provided:
* In a timely manner
* Without excuses
* Without additional fees
* To the best of your abilities
It’s not too much to ask for. And the truth is that many service providers manage this just fine. To stand out, go above and beyond what you promise. Give your clients a little extra. This can mean delivering a project early, giving them a little something extra that they didn’t pay for, or offering some useful information or advice.
#3 Get involved
Many service providers simply do the work requested and then sit back. To stand out, you want to get involved in your client’s success. Send them an email once in a while to say hello. Include a link to some information you think they might find valuable. Offer them a promotion. Connect with them on social networking sites.
When you are involved with your clients and in their community, you put yourself ahead of the competition. You create ‘front of mind’ awareness. Clients will think of you first when they have a need.
When you sit down next to review your business, take a look at what you’re doing to stand out as a service provider. Integrate follow-up methods and business strategies. Offer more value. Connect. Show your clients why they want to do business with you again and again.