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In this article, I’ll cover how to nurture your relationship so you become so invaluable to your client, he can’t live without you and wants to keep giving you work.
From the outset, you need to deeply understanding your client’s mindset and needs. When a client goes searching for a freelance writer, they’re not doing it because the idea spontaneously popped into their head. They’re doing it to address a very specific need. When you talk to your clients, you are selling your ability to understand those needs, deliver the solution and remove the problems.
Lets trace an example of a customer’s thought process:
“I need to hire a writer because I need more engaging content for my cat grooming site because I need to attract more visitors because I need to attract more sales because I want more revenue.”
You need to make sure you package your service and message to your client by addressing every stage in that thought process from the “I need to hire a writer” back to the “I want more revenue” stage.
The Best and Worst Ways to Respond to Your Client
Your client has just asked you, “Can you write me an article on top 10 cat foods?” How do you respond?
Image Credit (CC)
The Worst Response
“I can try but I don’t know much about it, can we do dog food instead?” or “I don’t know much about the topic but will give it a go. It might take me longer than usual.”
You client has said, “I want to pay you for some work.” In the first example you’ve said “No”, and in the second example you’ve said, “I’ll deliver a poor result and overcharge you for it.” Never ever do this! Your client is paying you to address his needs, not to shut him down or to churn out content in areas you already know about. The answer should be “Yes, absolutely.” Get on Google, do the research, check out a few related articles and get going! Seriously though, don’t make your clients sigh every time they interact with you.
A Bad Response
“Yes, sure, what topics do you want to include and how long should it be?”
Your client has said, “Can you take this off my plate?” and you’ve said, “Sure, can you spoon feed me anything that would require me to think, so I can just pad out the content?”
You need to do the research on some topics, look at other sites with similar articles to get an idea of expected length, and check out the client’s own site to understand the format of his existing articles. You give the topics and length suggestions and let the client approve or reject your ideas.
Of course, this should be factored into your charging structure either hourly or through a higher
An Average Response
“Sure, I’ll get it done by Wednesday evening.”
OK – it’s a positive response and gives a definitive time scale. Definitely getting closer!
A Good Response
“Absolutely, I was thinking we could go for about 1200 words, split it up into 3 seconds – Top 10 cat foods, Nutrients your cat needs, and Dangerous cat food additives to watch out for. I can get it done by Thursday. Would that work for you?”
This is definitely going to get your client excited about working with you. You’ve said yes, you’ve given a brief breakdown and word count, and told the client when he’s going to get it. The kicker here is that you’ve finished with a simple question. You’ve taken the thinking and effort by just asking for a simple YES or NO.
The Best Response
“Sure, let’s go for a really detailed 2100 words and cover, Top 10 cat foods, Nutrients your cat needs and Dangerous cat food additives to watch out for. I’ve just done something similar in the dog niche at www….. and it brought in 350 shares and 1.4k pageviews. I can have it up by Friday, is that OK? I’m available on Skype any time you need.”
Up top, we were talking about understanding a client’s needs at every level. Here, you’re doing the thinking work for your client, explaining how your suggestions will meet his root needs (increased site traffic and engagement), showing that you’ve done it before, giving your timeframe and asking for a yes or no in response. Unless there’s something drastically wrong with your topic suggestions, the client can’t help but say yes. Not only that, but come away from the interaction feeling pumped.
Notice how you’ve also given yourself a ton more paid work than if you’d just said “Yeah sure” and churned out 600 words of bog standard content on the subject.
If you consistently interact with your clients by being super helpful, taking the thinking and heavy lifting off their hands, and of course delivering on your promises, your client won’t be able to live without you. They will look forward to speaking to you and happily pay you the best rates.