Get More Clients with Better Communication
In this post I’ll share four ways that you can communicate better with potential clients and establish the trust you need to get hired. Let’s get to it!
1. Respond in a timely, consistent manner
I’ve learned in the last decade of communicating with clients that people are more grateful to receive a timely no (negative answer) than a delayed yes (positive answer). Most people just appreciate knowing one way or the other, even if you can’t do what they’re asking.
This has always been a challenge for me personally since I can be deeply focused on design work for hours or days at a time. That’s why I have a full-time employee (Joy) to be the communication point person to help ensure a good client experience at Knapsack.
One strategy that she uses when emailing people is to keep her response time fairly consistent. Instead of varying her response time from minutes to days, Joy does her best to keep a consistent email response time of 1-2 business days so that our clients know what to expect.
There are of course exceptions to this rule, but the idea is to set realistic expectations and meet them consistently.
A word of caution: be sure to keep a healthy work-life balance as you try to respond in a timely manner. If you can't make it a priority during business hours, it should probably wait.
2. Ditch phone calls for video meetings
One thing that can help you immediately stand out from your competition if you work with clients remotely is to meet over video chat. Video meetings help you form deeper connections with your clients than you would with a conference call.
It’s amazing how much is communicated through facial expressions and body language that isn’t conveyed over the phone. Also, meeting this way gives you the opportunity to screenshare visual examples of your work with your client while you talk.
Our favorite video meeting solution right now is talky.io. It doesn’t require a login or special software other than the Google Chrome web browser, which makes it super easy for clients to join. All your clients need is a link.
It’s so much easier to truly understand the goals, motivations, and dreams of your client if you can talk with them face-to-face. You can build more trust with them, and actually getting to know them gives you the opportunity to meet their real needs.
3. Show people that you actually care
Hopefully you’re in not in business only to make money, but also to help your clients be successful. If you are, make sure that your potential clients can tell by your actions and words.
Here are some ways you can show people you care:
Listen carefully to people and repeat what they say to you back in your own words to show that you understand
Make the effort to get to know your clients as people
Start adding value immediately to potential clients and give advice with no strings attached
Tell them what excites you about their business/project
Be up front if you’re not a good fit to work together
Give an unexpected gift
4. Be proactive
Once you’ve met with a potential client, set a reminder to follow up with them by a certain date. You don’t want to annoy them, you just want to make sure that if they get busy with other things that you’re helping drive the project forward and letting them know you’re still interested.
Not only can being proactive help you acquire new clients, it can also help you retain your existing clients and keep you top of mind and get you more referrals.
Try checking in with clients from past projects every 3-6 months (or some other time period depending on your industry and business). This could be via social media, email, or a quick phone call. Once again, be careful not annoy them, but let them know you’re thinking about them and share something valuable with them that you think may help them or their business.
How do you communicate with potential clients?