Have a Shaky Relationship? How to Build Trust with Clients
Money is great. And we talk a lot about how to make more money as a freelancer. But before the money can come, trust needs to be developed.
Trust is sort of an intangible asset. Kind of like love. It’s hard to measure. It’s something you feel. So if you feel the trust between you and your client could be increased, this post will show you how you how to do just that. If you increase trust, everything will improve for you: communication, understanding if you mess up and of course – more money. Here’s how to build trust with clients:
Stay One Step Ahead
If you have a client – that means they are busy. Obviously. It’s why they’ve hired you. So when you get an assignment and see a potential problem in the future, address it. And never act like your client is unaware of the problem. It’s often a case of them being too busy to get to it and/or them not having spent enough time with the project to know exactly what your problem looks like. Let the client know about a problem before it needs addressed. They will appreciate it and you’ll have an easier time completing the project. No one should address a problem when it should already have been solved.
Never think of yourself as just a freelancer. Think of yourself as a problem solver. Trust will build, paychecks will increase.
Bother Them as Little as Possible (But Ask Questions When Necessary)
As mentioned above, your client is busy. That’s why they’ve hired you.
The first rule of freelancing is to make the clients life as easy as possible. This means you should only bother them as little as possible. Remember that the internet is your friend. If an answer can be found via Google – DO NOT bother your client with it. Do the research on your own. If it’s an in-house issue, make sure you reach out to the right people who can solve the problem. And also work to keep your emails as concise as possible. Explain the problem exactly how it is. And keep from sending multiple emails about the same problem. That can get confusing. List it all out in one email and wait for the client to reply.
Let Them Know You Support the Organization’s Greater Mission
If you work like a robot, you’ll be replaced by a robot. So show some passion! Show that you understand and support the organization’s greater mission. Then you’ll be a go-to person when more responsibilities open up in the organization. Also, the client will inherently like you more. That’s always a good thing.
Always Offer More Than You’re Currently Giving
The fewer freelancers an organization can hire, generally, the better. That’s because onboarding tons of freelancers is a pain compared with just a few stellar ones. So let your client know you’re willing to work hard on projects beyond the scope of your current one(s). And don’t be afraid to overperform on your current projects. As they say, most people need to work eight hours per day just to keep with the herd. If you want to get ahead in life, you’ve got to work more.
I know this isn’t the answer you want to hear. But trust builds with time. It’s the reason why length of credit history is what makes up a large portion of your FICO score.
The longer you work with a client, the more the trust builds. You go through more together. They know what you’re like. They know you respond to emails quickly, solve problems thoroughly and are always hungry for more.
Make Sure Your Current Level of Trust Is No Eroded
Trust can be eroded. Quickly. As Warren Buffett has said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Building trust is a process. But it’s extremely rewarding and necessary if you want to be a successful freelancer.