Freelancing is a great way to recognize yourself and become your own innovator. Yet, with the freedom and joy that come with being a free agent, also come challenges. Freelancing is all about connections, with your client first of all, and then with the globe via your client. Establishing good rapport with a client to ensure future business is a MUST if you have to deal with customers directly. Here are some principles to achieve this.
Master Your 3 Communication Channels
- Face-to-Face (in person or via online videoconference): This is the best channel to establish an immediate connection with your customer. You will need to leverage your body language, your tone of voice and if possible, add humor to create a relaxed environment and gain confidence from your client.
- Telephone: When using this channel, you must be brief and organized. You achieve this by using an agenda and sticking to it!
- Written: This is THE channel to clarify and leave in writing what all the parties have agreed on. Spelling and good grammar era your best friends here. Don’t understimate them. Poor grammar and bad spelling can create a perception that your quality is not top notch.
Listen to Your Customer!
You’ve heard this many a times. Yet, it is one of the hardest skills to learn and keep as a habit. You listen to your customer by asking them valuable questions and letting them answer in their own words. You need to make sure your client answers these questions:
Why are you doing this new website?
This is a critical question and you MUST listen to the answer because the customer will judge your deliverables based on this answer.
- …my current site is too old. I want a fresher look
- …I don’t have a site and want to open up a new slaes channel
- …we need to strengthen our brand attributes with this site
- …the company needs to capture new sales leads
What are your business goals?
The answer to this question will give you the scope of work. You ask this question after your client has told you why he doing this project. If the answer is to “…develop a new sales channel”, then you need to probe for more details until you identify measurable goals. For example, “I need to increase my revenues through more sales.” You need to nail down the business goals as follows:
- … I need to be able to display products a.k.a. think of an e-commerce structure that allows to showcase product categories and individual products within a category
- …I need to sell products online a.k.a. think of including a shopping cart
- …I need to provide discounts & promotion codes a.k.a. think of a an area to showcase sales on the site
- …I want to know what my customesr think about my products a.k.a. think of customer reviews functionality
Eventually, the customer will be able to measure the site's success based on the revenues to come in. Utlimately, the increase in revenue will be one of the ways the customer will measure your deliverable. So, you must ensure you deliver a site that will sincerely help him achieve the desired goal.
Who are the target audiences for this site?
- …we want to reach out to photographers (professional, amateur, commercial, etc.) as we sell cameras and related photography equipment.
- …young adults looking for hip X-treme sports gear
- …women who love to cook… this is a site to share recipees and ideas for innovative cooking
- …members of our neighborhood’s association…
Depending on the target audience and the business goals outlined previously, you can make the critical decision on the best route to build the site.
Crucial Decision: How to Build the Site?
There are only two routes:
- Build it from scratch (you do all the coding)
- Using a pre-designed template (ideally a Joomla template from Joomlashack!)
If you decide to go with a pre-dsigned template, then the next step for you is to share with the customer some of the options available in the market. For example, you may tell them to visit Joomlashack! And check some of our Joomla templates.
- If a customer wants a site to display photography equipment, you may guide him/her to check on these templates: Showtime, Memo, Scenica or Parallax
- If your customer is going to create a blog for cooking recipees, you may want to share Salt & Pepper, Vintage or N6
- If the target audience are young adults for X-treme sports gear, check Active or Mondrian
- And, if your customer wants to showcase sell her creative skills, she may love Imago
Don't forget that communication is the only task a leader cannot delegate. Never understimate the importance of listening to your customers. This requires dedication and commitment.