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How to Keep Clients on Task

Posted: June 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Business | No Comments »

Some of your clients need you to manage them. They don’t just want to hire a designer per se. They want a manager who will take a project, run with it, see it through and deliver results. That’s a value added proposition that can help you dominate your market, if you’re willing to offer it. Part of that entails getting clients to cooperate with you and give you what you need to do your job. That’s not always fun, but there are ways to make it less painful.

Change Your Pay Model

You would think that improving their business or life is enough incentive to get some of your clients to keep up with timelines. But remember, some clients have delayed projects for years, and simply hiring you is not enough to jolt them into finishing what they started. These clients have no issues parking their cash with someone, knowing that someday their project will get done. Most of those clients though are not willing to park 100 percent of the cash for a project. That’s one way to get them to keep things moving along. Instead of only charging 50 percent upfront or anything less than 100 percent with at least some of your clients, charge the full amount when you can. You’d be surprised how quickly attitudes change when they realize that if they don’t follow through, you have all the money you need for the project.

Highlight the Benefits of Finishing on Time

At some point during the sales process, you convinced the client of the benefits to working with you and giving you money for your services. They may just need a reminder from time to time of these same benefits. Some examples include:

  • Boost sales
  • Capture more leads
  • Establish credibility with customers, leaders in the industry and joint venture partners
  • Streamline business systems and processes to free up more time

Ask questions to see whether the benefits that hooked them in the first place are no longer relevant. If that’s true, then emphasize new ones.

Make it Easy for Them

Don’t crowd your clients’ email inboxes with lengthy and numerous emails. Clients won’t read them and as a result, they’ll miss deadlines and brush you off. Make doing business with you so easy that there’s no excuse. For example, add a client area to your website or take advantage of project management software that allows you to share files with clients in a central place. Dropbox is one tool you can use to upload and share files with clients, instead of sending emails and attachments. Rather than running away from your communications, they can feel as if they are in control by checking on milestones and other project goals in an organized way.

You may feel more like a coach than a creative professional when you’re following up with clients and trying to get them to accomplish their goals. Look at it as an opportunity to provide excellent customer service and gain their trust. That’s how you gain repeat customers.

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