21 min read
Can clients actually fall in love with you?
Isn’t that ... a little too far fetched?
Sure, it may be.
But think of it this way.
When you start working with a client, you both enter a relationship. A professional at that, but a relationship nonetheless.
So what happens when you make that first contact?
You probably enter the initial stage of the relationship expecting certain things from each other and having a specific goal in mind.
For you, that may be growing your clientele and adding another project to your portfolio. For your client, that could be finding someone they can entrust their vision and project to, in order to launch a product or service.
But it’s when the client actually starts to feel warm and fuzzy inside that magic starts to happen.
If you can impress your client so much that they can’t imagine what it was like before you came their way, you’ve won them. Big time.
That’s when they start falling in love with you.
Do you think they’re going to start looking for someone else if they’ve connected with you and are blown away by how their project turned out with your work?
Of course not!
Why would they abandon this connection for the uncertainty of another (potentially) successful, new connection?
Looking for the right freelancer is just as exhausting for them as it is for you, the freelancer, when you’re looking for your ideal clients. It takes a lot of time and effort.
And that’s exactly where this professional romance comes into place.
When you’re able to sweep your client off their feet and wow them with your professionalism and your amazing work, it’s a win for them and it’s certainly a huge win for you.
Happy clients are great. But that doesn’t always guarantee that they’ll come back.
Impressed clients, however, are much more likely to become repeat clients. And being their go-to person is who you want to be.
It saves you time you’d otherwise spend on promoting your services and looking for new clients, and it helps forge long-lasting relationships with your clients.
So how can you ensure that you wow them from the very first moment and become their favorite freelancer to work with?
How do you delight your clients and make them feel special every time they work with you?
These are the questions we’ll be dealing with in this post along with some specific ways you can win and wow your clients.
Have a Brand That Emits Seriousness and Reflects Your Values
If your budget allows for it, hire a professional to design your visual identity. A brand that clearly reflects your values as a freelance professional and positions you as someone who has the necessary knowledge and expertise clients are looking for, can make all the difference.
When you use consistent branding across all your materials (contracts, proposals, social media templates etc.), you show that you care for how your present yourself to your clients. It’s also a sign that their overall experience with you and your services genuinely matters to you.
Now, if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to hire a designer, don’t despair. You can still DIY and end up with a gorgeous brand that you can show off and be proud about. You just need to make sure that the brand you create represents who you are and communicates professionalism to your clients.
Brush up on your branding knowledge and avoid common mistakes when designing your visual identity. If you’re not sure about your designs, ask for feedback in your favorite Facebook Group. You can get some great feedback before you commit to anything final.
As an alternative, you can also grab a logo creator kit to save yourself some time and ensure a great visual look for your brand. If you choose to use two fonts, double-check that they’re a good match and make educated choices about your brand colors.
Whichever option you go for, pro or DIY, you want your online presence to be more than mediocre. A lot of people underestimate the importance of having a visually appealing website or brand, arguing that it’s not important to clients when, in fact, it can make all the difference, especially in an online world full of freelancers trying to get clients.
No one expects you to be a pro at design (unless you ARE a designer), but with a little research and some basic guidelines, why not go from average to amazing?
Make It All About THEM
The best way you can glue your client to your website is to make it an experience that is 100% focused on them, their needs, and what you can do to solve the biggest problem they’re facing.
Forget about naming all your fancy skills, listing your diplomas, and telling them what an adorable personality you have. Just stop. They didn’t come for that.
Instead, take your clients on a journey they’d be happy to join you. A journey that’s all about them and all the wonderful places they can go with you as their guide.
A touch too romantic?
But that’s the whole point!
Clients are so used to getting emails from ego-centric freelancers that when you surprise them in a way they don’t expect, by making it all about THEM, something in their mind shifts. And at that moment, they know you’re different from the rest.
Remember that you have another human being in front of you and that they’re most interested in knowing what you can do for them. Sure, not everyone wants to be the center of the universe, but in a client-freelancer situation, your client needs to FEEL like they are the universe.
So, take the time to find out more about them and show them you understand their needs and can get to the core of their problems. Tell them what you can do for them and how that’s going to help them solve their biggest pain point.
Not only will they be more willing to listen to your suggestions, but they’ll be happy to have found someone who truly listens to them for a change, too.
Speak Your Clients' Language
Besides making it clear that your clients are the focus of your attention, they also need to see that you’re speaking their language.
Nobody wants to deal with a bunch of flashy words that are leaning toward the high end of the jargon-o-meter. And there won’t be a prize for the one who crafts the longest sentence, either.
Every client wants to be spoken to like a normal human being. All they want to see when they land on your website and read your copy is that YOU GET THEM.
And that can be done without the excess mess.
When you put together the copy of your website, think about who you’re trying to attract, who your ideal client is. Any copy you create, any text you write and put up on your site, needs to attract only that person.
It’s okay if your design services won’t appeal to tech companies and florists. It’s also okay if you don’t offer pet portraits and nature photography, or that you’re not interested in landing any ghostwriting gigs.
As long as you know who you want to attract, everyone else who’s not your ideal client persona simply doesn’t matter.
What matters most, is that you speak your ideal client’s language. That you’re well prepared and have made it your job to know their challenges, their competition, and the pain points you need to help them solve.
Even if you can’t possibly know every new client’s exact pain point before you have that first chat with them, you can still draw from your past experiences, and get closer to the kind of language they expect (and want) to see on your website.
Do your homework about them and research their competitors, so you can immediately tune in when they start to describe their challenges. Showing them that you’re on the same page, being prepared and showing genuine interest in their problems will only impress them that much more.
Automate Your Workflow to Save Them Some Time
Every client has a million items on their to-do lists. Sending that first email to a freelancer, asking for a quote and describing the project at hand may just be a few of the things that come with the process of hiring someone.
In other words, they’re super busy. So why not take part of the process and make it a little easier for them and for yourself?
Sending emails back and forth or having awkward skype calls when you’re not absolutely sure what the project entails can be a huge waste of time. I mean, think about how much time it takes you to write down all the questions you want to ask before you agree to a new brief. Ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, and almost half an hour has gone by, doing what?
I’m sure you’ll agree that’s not the most productive ways to start off your day, is it?
Instead of going back and forth with emails asking about their project, create a brief questionnaire you can send them when they request more information regarding your pricing. You can use Typeform to create one and make the process of asking these preliminary questions a little more enjoyable for them, too.
Alternatively, you can also create a form on your website and include sections they’d need to fill out before they can send you their message. Things like the nature of their project, their budget, and the estimated deadline could be some of the information you typically ask a prospective client. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone will like this process and some prospects may choose to simply email you instead.
The information you collect will then help you put together a more specific proposal, saving you and your client valuable time you’d otherwise spend emailing each other back and forth.
If you choose to go with the online questionnaire option, you can further personalize with your brand’s colors and fonts, so you amplify the feeling they get from your website even further. Help your client feel that there’s still a person behind those questions, so don’t be afraid to inject some personality in there. Just make sure it fits your overall brand.
Ask the Right Questions Without Overdoing It
Before you start any project, you probably have a set of questions you typically want to ask your clients.
Create a list you can draw from when a client gets in touch with you for the first time. To make it easier for yourself, create a Google document you can update and copy paste the questions you need depending on the client.
It’s always best to clarify things beforehand instead of failing to ask something important about the project, which may then result in a mistake on your part. As a professional, the client expects you to take everything into account and deliver, so anything you miss that may negatively impact their project, can actually cost you that client.
That’s why you’ll need to get as much information as you can from the start, so you’re well-equipped to do your part of the job. At the same time, try not to overwhelm your client with too many questions. That can give them the impression that you either have very little experience or that you can’t work independently. If they could give an answer to every detail you ask them, they might as well do the job themselves, right?
Now, some clients may not be used to getting a lot of questions. Others may have worked with freelancers who asked many questions, so they might think that’s how it works. Either way, instead of making assumptions, tell them a little bit about your process and let them know you have prepared a few important questions that will help you grasp the idea behind their project.
When you put it like that, it’s unlikely that they’ll see this as something negative. In fact, by sharing your reasoning and explaining how this enables you to approach their project better informed and more prepared, they’ll instantly respect you more and admire your professionalism.
Craft a Proposal They’ll Want to Read
Out of all of the freelancers out there, why should they want to work with you?
That’s a powerful question you need to keep asking yourself whenever you start losing sight of your end-goal or when your confidence seems to slip away.
As a freelancer, reminding yourself how much you’re worth is sometimes necessary to bring in some of that confidence you’ll need to keep going. You’re not made out of steel and not all days are smooth sailing and without a hint of a cloud in the sky.
But when you send your client a proposal, all of your insecurities need to be sealed away. Your proposal needs to emit confidence in your skills, your knowledge, and your expertise, and to make your client see exactly why they need to bring you aboard.
It needs to be compelling and leave no room for second-guessing. From the wording to the layout and design, your proposal’s only purpose is to win you that client. It’s also a way to provide them with a short guide to familiarize themselves with your working process and clarify what they can expect from you.
So, make it interesting and engaging, and go that extra mile to stand out from everyone else who sends a list of fees and money-related estimations. Show them that you know your stuff and add a touch of personality to your proposals. If their first impression from your website was great, your proposal is your chance to make it amazing.
Invest in some tools that can help you put a professional proposal together, or create a template using InDesign or Canva. You can then use it for specific projects and modify it according to your client’s needs and every project’s specific requirements. Either way, the more visually appealing your proposal is, the more likely it is for your client to read it and become interested.
From your very first contact with a new client, everything is about forming a relationship with them. And if you can impress your client by going that extra mile and being outstanding, the likelihood of them hiring you and later on referring you to others will be much higher.
Send Them a Welcome Package
A wonderful way to captivate a new client is to send them a welcome package. This is also called onboarding package, but I feel that a “Welcome Package” sounds a lot warmer and more welcoming to your client, and it keeps the formalities to a minimum.
So why a welcome package and what should you include in it?
Your welcome package is a great opportunity to introduce your brand to your client a little more in depth or enough so they feel more comfortable knowing a little more about you and your services. It should be created with your brand colors, fonts and all of your other brand elements.
When done right, your welcome package will function as an extension of your website, continuing the experience you’ve already created for your client and showing your professionalism. And if you’re relatively new to freelancing, this can be a great way to differentiate yourself from other freelancers in your niche and surprise your clients in a nice way.
Your welcome package will typically include a brief welcome letter and an introduction to your brand and your services. It will also include a brief section about your working process, as well as any frequently asked questions you’ve been asked in the past and you think it’d be useful to include.
You can also include a brief summary of what the client has agreed to, based on the proposal you sent them previously or what you’ve discussed already. You’d also want to include a copy of the contract you drafted so they can review, sign, and email it back to you. Make sure you include your contact details and along with any other necessary information that would be useful to your client during the process of working with you.
This may seem like a lot of work for one client, but it’s something you can add to your workflow and use every time you land a new client. By putting together a welcome package for each client, you impress your clients with your attention to detail and make them feel a little more special. You also manage to stand out from any other freelancers they may have worked with in the past, just because to take that extra time to make it a pleasant experience for them.
Include Them in the Process
When a client hires you for a project, they expect to be part of the process. Or at least to know how things are going and if you have all the information you need.
They certainly don’t expect NOT to hear from you until you’re done and have sent them the project deliverables. Because, that would kind of be ... weird, maybe?
To help them sleep better at night and to ensure you can work without any extra pressure that may slow you down and give you the unproductive vibes you get when you’re stressed over something, try to include your client in the process and keep them posted about your progress.
You client doesn’t want you to suffer from anxiety and experience mild to severe panic attacks because they’re keeping tabs on your every move, after all. But if they feel that you include them more and send them brief updates on what you’re working on and how it’s going, they won’t feel left out and you’ll be able to do a much better job retaining your laser-sharp focus.
If, on the other hand, you’re not used to sending a daily update to your clients, then perhaps that’s one of those things you should include in the welcome package we talked about earlier.
As long as you’ve prepared your clients from the start and they know what your work process is like and you’ve already established how often you’ll be sending them updates, you can do your job without having to worry about that next “just wanted to check in on you” email.
Whatever your approach may be, make sure that you’ve started to build trust with your client from the moment you’ve agreed to work together and try to be more open to sharing how things are progressing on your end. They will appreciate it.
There’s nothing worse than promising your client something and not delivering. It makes you look like a failure, and probably feel like one too.
But that’s not the worst of it. When your client has lost trust in you, even if it’s still at the initial stage of your work together, you’ve probably already lost that client and any other future work they might have sent your way, if you hadn’t let them down.
If you genuinely want your clients to be excited about working with you, you’ll have to do things differently and make it your job to not disappoint.
It’s better to promise them a small step towards a better endurance, rather than to reassure them that you can turn them into a marathon champion within a month.
Can you see where the difference between these two hugely different claims lies?
By promising your client something small you can deliver with absolute certainty, you’ve managed to set their expectations considerably low. And when you deliver on your promise AND add a little extra they can benefit from, you’re surprising them in the most pleasant way. You also prove that you’re willing to go that extra mile and focus on what’s best for your client, even if they hadn’t asked you to.
But imagine if you make a promise to deliver a design or a piece of content when you’re not 100% certain you can do for any A, B or C reason. That’s when you fail to meet the expectations you’ve basically set yourself and you’re betraying the trust of your client. You’ve basically let them down and made a fool out of yourself, too.
That’s why you need to make it a habit to always underpromise, and overdeliver.
Don’t become so confident that you suddenly find yourself making promises to your clients you’re actually not sure you can keep. Especially when it comes to deadlines, don’t try to act high and mighty. Agree on deadlines that give you plenty of time to produce the results you need for your client.
It’s better to promise something that you know for a fact you can accomplish within a specific time frame and be honest about it, rather than letting your enthusiasm and the desire to satisfy your clients get the best of you.
You’ll hardly make them happy that way, and you’re just making it painfully hard for yourself, too. But a freelancer who delivers every time, on the other hand, is someone your clients will not only appreciate, but also want to work with every time.
Be Polite and Remember to Say Thank You
Just as you were attentive enough to send your client a welcome package, it’s a nice touch to send them a thank package when the project is over.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it can even be a simple “thank you” if you feel it’s too much for you. But a little politeness and some gratitude never hurt anybody and can go a long way.
In fact, how you finish a job is just as important as how you start it, if not more important. It’s what will keep the image you’ve created for yourself consistent from beginning to end, and it will encourage clients to come back to you and your services, perhaps with an even bigger and more rewarding project.
Otherwise, if you suddenly have a sudden moment of zero manners when you started off so well, your client may think that you were just trying to impress them like everyone else before you. And that’s not the point.
The whole point of being attentive and paying attention to such details is to create long-lasting relationships with your clients and wow them with how amazing you really are. Not how amazing you *could* be in a parallel universe, because who cares about that anyway?
And if you really want to show your appreciation to a client you definitely would want to work with again, take it a step further and send them a personalized card or small gift to show that you loved working with them. I promise you they will remember your name and appreciate having you on their team.
Want to remember everything we went over in this post? Click the image below to download a nifty freelance etiquette cheat sheet, and use it as reference when you land a new client. It will help you remember all the things you need to make an awesome first impression. Just click on the image or right click and "save as" to download your copy — no opt-in needed!
Produce Amazing Work
Of course, no client is ever going to love working with a freelancer if their work is, to gently put it, mediocre.
Which is why I saved one of the most important ways you can impress your clients for last:
Make sure you produce high-quality work that will blow them away.
Regardless of how many clients you’ve had in the past or if you’re just starting out, you need to treat every client and their project with the attention they deserve, without ever compromising on the quality of the result.
Unless you deliver outstanding results, no matter which strategies you choose to implement to make a good impression on your client, everything else will be insignificant.
A way to ensure you stay on top of your game is to keep learning at every stage of your career. Because you never know when you’ll need to try something different or new to you, you need to be prepared for anything that comes your way. Otherwise, you can be sure that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of freelancers standing in line who will be able to do what you couldn’t.
So, the better prepared you are to face the challenges of a new project, the more confident you will be that you can deliver the results your clients expect from you. And they expect a lot.
All you need is to hit them with your best work so far and to keep getting better and better with every project you take on. Never be satisfied with the level you’re at. Keep pushing, keep growing, and your clients will love you for it.
When you go out of your way to make the experience pleasant, memorable and enjoyable for your client, not only will they want to work again with you, but they’ll also share with others how much you’ve impressed them.
Of course, it’s important to remember that they’ve hired you to produce work for them, but unless you impress them and show them how widely different you are from everyone else and how amazing it is to work with you, they’ll probably leave and never come back.
But when you handle your clients with professionalism and respect, and you show them that you genuinely care for them and the project they’ve entrusted you with, and that’s why you make it your job to overdeliver, you simply make it easy for them to fall in love with you.
Which of these tips have you tried? Have you done anything else that left your client super impressed with you? Leave a comment below to let me know!
Blog post image: RawPixel
Check out the rest of the Awesome Freelancer's Guide to Landing More Clients Series:
Part 1: How 7 Simple Website Tweaks Can Help You Get More Clients
Part 2: How to Be Strategic on Social Media as a Freelancer
Part 3: How to Build Your Authority as a Freelancer (and Never Be Underbooked Again)
Part 5: How to Be Intentional About Your Blog and Land Your Next Client