February 16, 2017

If you don’t ask, you won’t know

Filed under: Client Communication — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 12:21 pm

If you don’t ask, you won’t know

Recently, my 5 year-old was dressing in short-sleeve shirts, even though it was cold outside. Day after day, this kept happening until I finally asked: “Why don’t you put on a long-sleeve shirt?” And he responded: “Because I can’t reach them in my closet.” Problem solved, all because I asked.

When is the last time you asked your clients what’s on their mind? The answers may be simple but powerful. By taking the time to reach out, it shows that you care about what they think. Plus, hearing their thoughts will offer insight into how to make your projects—and working relationship—better.

What should I ask?

I recommend starting with a few simple questions like:

  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • How can I help you?
  • How can we improve our working relationship?
  • What else can I help you with?

Once you start the conversation, more questions (and answers) will inevitably come to the surface. It’s a good idea to keep these notes with your client project files for future reference.

5 ways to ask your clients questions:

  1. Call them (have a few questions ready)
  2. Invite them for coffee
  3. Email a few questions
  4. Send a client survey (I like SurveyMonkey or Typeform).
  5. Check past emails for questions they have asked

I recommend starting a file to keep track of the questions clients often ask of you for easy reference (I use Evernote).

Need some help brainstorming questions to ask your clients? Let’s chat!

 

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April 24, 2015

U is for understanding

Filed under: Client Communication,Mompreneur — lidia @ 8:23 pm

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

U is for understandingU is for understanding

With an active 3-year old, I’ve been reading a lot of books on toddler behavior lately.* The underlying theme seems to be one of understanding where your toddler is coming from: how they are feeling, what is leading them to exhibit certain behaviors (i.e. having a tantrum before going to school) and ultimately, how you can relate to them on their level—not yours.

It got me thinking about how often we don’t take time to understand where someone is coming from in business situations. Where we may take things the wrong way or misunderstand a situation. It’s easy to feel rejection or resentment when you don’t knowing the underlying causes of the other person’s behavior.

Is there a situation or person that you can be more understanding of?

*Moms: I’m happy to share my recommendations and hear yours too!

April 8, 2015

8 ways to show clients (and customers) you care

Filed under: Client Communication — Tags: , , — lidia @ 1:00 pm

8 ways to show clients you care

  1. Do what you say you will do.
  2. Beat their deadline.
  3. Respond to emails promptly.
  4. Make useful suggestions.
  5. Return phone calls.
  6. Send a thank you note.
  7. Forward a useful article or website.
  8. Invite them to coffee.

What else do you do to show clients you care?

 

April 3, 2015

C is for connected

Filed under: Client Communication,Mompreneur — lidia @ 5:04 pm

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

C is for connectedC is for connected

I started out with my “C” word being codependent, but I thought connected summed it up more accurately. As moms, we are instinctively connected to our kids (and sometimes physically, when they wont let you put them down). Sometimes it’s hard to step away even though you know they need their independence.

We are also connected to our clients—both for better (creating long-lasting relationships) and for worse (relying on one client to keep your business afloat). Finding the balance between being connected and “codependent” is the challenge.

How do you stay connected without being “codependent?”

January 7, 2014

Who’s the expert? Your customers.

Filed under: Client Communication,Small Business — lidia @ 10:00 am

Who's the expert? Your customers..

It’s very easy to think that you are the expert on your own product. But in many ways, that’s a myth. The true experts are your customers.

– Jamie Wong, CEO, Vayable

via Fast Company magazine

October 3, 2012

Meeting with a prospective client: before [CFC blog post]

Filed under: Client Communication,Small Business — Tags: , , — lidia @ 9:52 am

I recently received a referral from one of my office neighbors (see my last Creative Freelancer Blog post on my “new mom” networking style). It had been awhile since I met with someone who wasn’t familiar with my work, so I had to some prep work to do.

What to do before your meeting:

  1. Research the client: I can’t emphasize how important this is. Peruse their website, Google them, drive by the office. Not only does it help generate meeting dialogue, but it also gives you insight into what to include in your portfolio (see next tip).
  2. Personalize your portfolio: Bring projects that relate to your prospect’s industry. However, if a project has won an award or was featured in a publication, it’s a good idea to bring it along too.

Read the rest of my tips for preparing for a meeting on the Creative Freelancer Blog.

Part 2, “What to do after your meeting” will be posted tomorrow…

• • •

See all of my small business posts on the Creative Freelancer Blog here.


July 13, 2010

Cleaning house = giving thanks

Filed under: Client Communication — Tags: , — lidia @ 10:00 am

In preparation for an upgrade, I started cleaning house on my Mac. As I filed away (and thought back on) completed design projects, I realized—wow, I have a lot of people to thank!

In this day and age, we are all grateful for the work we have, and especially the faithful clients and vendors we can rely on. But sometimes work gets busy, deadlines must be met and we forget to thank them.

Being a greeing card designer myself, I probably send more cards than the average person. But “cleaning house” sparked me to write some cards. Seeing the printed samples and computer files was the perfect visual cue to thank that print vendor who did an awesome job, or the client who has consistently sent work.

So, have you sent a thank you card lately?

Follow along and add your own “thank you” shoutouts using #ThanksTuesday

September 24, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 16

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

16. Work with great people who are well-connected.

It’s nice to work with nice people. Even better, it’s nice to work with nice people who know other nice people — who need your services. Working with a client who is well-connected or established in their industry can help you grow your business as well. If you do a good job, they can pass along your name or recommend you to colleagues —which can turn into new business or job leads.

(inspired by the Speaker Q&A session)

September 23, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 15

Filed under: Client Communication — Tags: , , — lidia @ 12:26 pm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

15. Be nice. Show you care.

Do what you say you will do. Return phone calls. Respond to emails promptly. Send a thank you note. Forward a useful article or website. Be friendly and helpful.

It’s all so easy (and obvious), but sometimes we get busy and forget. Clients know we are busy, so they notice when we take the time to focus on them (and when we don’t). As someone said: it’s the little things that count.

(inspired by Peleg Top’s comments in the Speaker Q&A session)

September 15, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 11

Filed under: Client Communication,Time Management — lidia @ 2:50 pm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

11. Define scope and client expectations at the beginning of a project

  1. Determine exactly what will be included in the project
  2. Define key contacts/roles in the project
  3. Set dates, milestones, deadlines (for both parties)
  4. Define how and when you will communicate between milestones, i.e. weekly status reports, weekly phone check-ins, etc.

Yes, we’ve all been here… the “simple” project that snowballs out of control, resulting in sleepless nights and working weekends. This advice, inspired by Michelle Goodman’s session, Dealing with Nightmare Clients, can help avoid that from happening.