If you’ve never gotten an email from a dissatisfied client…well…you want to keep things that way.
Freelancers with positive, productive, payful (that’s going to be a word, at least for this post) relationships with their clients didn’t get that way by accident.
Some of us are just naturals when it comes to keep clients happy, but others (myself included), might lean a little more toward the perspective that our work should speak for itself (it doesn’t always), or that waiting for a client to tell us something is wrong is perfectly fine (it’s not).
The uncomfortable truth is that like any relationship, your relationships with your clients can simply deteriorate and fade away because of poor communication and misaligned expectations. That’s why I put together this short framework for a client profile.
It’s something you’ll build out gradually between the interview process and little bits of information you learn working with them, but once you have it complete, you’ll have a powerful picture of the value you bring each other, and the beginning of amazing client relationships that are profitable for everybody involved.
It’s pretty straightforward and you can customize these points to make sure they work for you, but to get started just add them to a spreadsheet or even a document, and fill each point out for each client you have. (And if you don’t have clients, take some time to review our resources on getting new clients.)
- Their Big Goals: This is what they want their business, department, or even their individual self to accomplish over a certain period of time. This may or may not be directly connected to your work.
- Their Goals With You: They have something going on that your work is supposed to help them with…is it a magazine launch, an employee fitness program, winning over a new software client? This is something you’ll want to keep top of mind at all times.
- Preferred/Most Effective Method Of Communication: Always take their lead on this. It might mean stepping out of (or into) your inbox more than you feel comfortable, but trying to force a client into your communication style generally ends in frustration for everybody.
- Value Per Year: This is a rough estimation of how much money they bring in for you each year. Knowing this will help you prioritize the well-being of the clients who do the most to keep you afloat.
- Products/Services Purchased: You’ve probably got this laid out in a contract somewhere, but putting it in one place can give you a clearer picture of what type of work and interaction your relationship centers around (as well as what type of work is buoying your bottom line).
- How You Communicate Value: Sometimes the value you provide isn’t clear. Sometimes clients just get used to you being around. This is where monthly reports and overviews, or even just an occasional question to see how your work is helping them comes in. Don’t count on your invoices to do this for you.
- Personal Details: I have one client with a terminally ill parent (who we’ve talked extensively about) and another who loves innovation in coffee. I’ve made small notes about both of them on their profiles. This may seem a bit cheesy, but even small details about individual contacts’ lives can go a long way in you becoming a pleasant part of their work life…which is exactly where you want to be.
As soon as you’re ready to start taking your client value seriously, come join us for support and input moving toward your independent work goals.