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:
- Call them (have a few questions ready)
- Invite them for coffee
- Email a few questions
- Send a client survey (I like SurveyMonkey or Typeform).
- 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!
Nice to Meet You card from Lidia Varesco Design
Being an avid user of social media, I can’t deny the effectiveness of making business connections via Twitter, blogs and the like. However, I believe staying connected with clients and prospects also requires a more personal approach: handwritten communications.
Over the years, I’ve personally experienced how handwritten or personal correspondence can positively impact a small business.
I’ve shared some of my experiences, as well as those of other small business owners, in this article for The Paper Mill Store’s latest newsletter.
Still skeptical about sending handwritten notes?
Watch this recent segment from the CBS Evening News about writing thank you cards. Not only does it make you feel good—but it can change your life.
Anyone else have positive experiences with using handwritten communications? Share them in the comment section!
Want handy tips for using handwritten communications?
Download my small business tipsheet on this topic.
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)