(Because That’s What They Expect)
Freelancers, independent contractors and anyone who works in web development, design and content writing understand this all too well: your client expects you to exceed their expectation. They expect work to be completed on time, under budget and with the “wow!” factor they didn’t even know they wanted. In many cases, if you don’t deliver a finished product that isn’t beyond their wildest dreams, it’s “not what they expected.”
As a freelancer, it’s easy to get frustrated when clients are happy with your best, because they simply want more. By anticipating what they want and being prepared to offer them more then they bargained for, you can position yourself for happy clients that will keep coming back to you for work, refer your work to others or best case scenario, both.
Here are a few ways to stay ahead of the curve and deliver your clients the goods:
Finish Before Your Deadline
A simple (read: not always easy) way to impress your clients is to deliver them the finished product before you said you would. They’ll be pleasantly surprised, and you can cross one more thing off your to-do list. Sure, this may mean smelling the grindstone a little more then you’d like, but a happy client is worth it.
Answer emails promptly and keep your client in the loop. That way they feel in control of the situation and more at ease. There is nothing worse then a client banging down your door for answers, so avoid this scenario all together by staying on top of communication throughout the entire project.
Be Awesome and Deliver With Confidence
You were sought out. You were hired. Deliver the fantastic product you promised and do it with confidence. You know what you’re doing, and that’s why you were hired so don’t waste time with doubt. Stand behind your choices (creative or strategic) and deliver your product with gusto.
We can stress ourselves out trying to make our clients happy, but there is a fine line between being everything your client expects (and then some) and becoming a doormat. While trying to impress your clients, remember these “don’ts”:
- Don’t settle for less than you’re worth. Quote the price you want and stick to that price.
- Always use an independent worker’s contract. Without it, you could wind up with an unfinished product or an unpaid invoice.
- Invoice clearly and simply. Invoice on time. If the invoice is unpaid in two weeks, send a reminder. If the invoice remains unpaid, send a reminder once a week until it is paid. Many freelancers charge a percentage for every week an invoice remains unpaid, but this tactic never worked for me. It always made my clients angry and feeling like they were being subpoenaed.
As with everything, find a balance between making your clients happy and exceeding their expectations (which we all know they expect anyway) and bending over backwards for every project that comes through your door.