Trustworthiness.. everyone says that you have to build trust to win clients over. What exactly does that mean? As a freelancer, your mission is to build your client’s trust and the more they trust you, the more projects that will come to you. But this doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the biggest challenge among freelancers isn’t about finding new clients, making that elevator pitch, or showing that stellar portfolio. It’s creating trust that makes or breaks your freelance business. Just how can you make people believe that you can really do the job?
What Makes Client Trust: How to Build Relationships that Count
Trust is a two way road; it works both ways. You have to trust your clients to get quality work and that they’ll pay for it.. and this will be reciprocated in return. Last time, we talked about how your online profile picture can help you connect with prospects and this time, we’ll inspire you to think a few steps ahead in reaching and retaining clients.
The Anatomy of Trust Explained
In the professional world, trust is defined by:
1. Expertise – your authority or level of knowledge/skills in a particular niche
2. Credibility – facts that can back-up your trustworthiness ( ex. testimonials, reviews, certificates )
3. Years in Business – the number of years you are offering your services
4. Popularity – how well people know you on social media channels ( social influence )
5. Geography – your location can be a trust factor for some discerning clients
Know that people can trust for wrong reasons and this is why it is crucial for you to understand what makes them tick. It’s only normal that everyone has a worry about something and instead of focusing on factors that will make you trustworthy, you can fall for the mistake of trying to lower your rate or come up with fancy presentation to gain trust. Every freelancer dreams of having elite clientele and yet, these businesses have impregnable fortresses that only a few can penetrate. Should you give up?
How You Can Win Your Client’s Trust in Five Smarter Ways
We’ve always told you to put this on top of your list so you can get to know what’s important to your clients in a deeper level. You need to understand their past and present experience. Clients are people, so be human when dealing with them. Small talks can help create a warm conversation, sort of an ice breaker.
Think Beyond Your Portfolio
You are busy. Guess what? Everyone is. Spend quality time when communicating with a prospect and make them feel valued. Relationships are dynamic and through continuous cultivation, you can identify opportunities where others failed. So, think more than the money and provide wise counsel. They won’t just thank you for it; they’ll trust you to solve their pains for it!
After having listened and observed, you can now shape your client’s expectations with the road map you plan to follow for their project. Let them know what to expect from you and dedicate yourself to consistently delivering these expectations. Educate your clients on what you do, how you do it and take the risk of telling them about risks – even when they would rather not hear it.
The toughest part of negotiating a freelance project is when you are discussing about fees. It is best practice to be straight forward and comprehensive about what you will do for a certain amount, your fee schedule, so there will be no misunderstandings that can cause distrust.
Keep Your Word
Nothing beats keeping your promise in building that trust. This means knowing that your clients desire value for their hard-earned $$$. If you only talk the talk, the word will spread so fast you start to wonder why the number of your job offers begin to dwindle.
Trust is the very spice that keeps our relationships running smoothly.. It is not just a task you have to do, but it is a covenant you enter based on faith and confidence. It will all come down to moral values and ethics you hold dear, where your competence and humanity will shine through.
Are you worthy of your client’s trust?
More on Building Client-Freelancer Relationship:
How Freelancers Can Increase Customer Loyalty in 10 Ways
The Art of Asking for Referrals Revealed
How to Manage Your Micromanaging Client
Six Reasons Why Your Client Left You for Another Freelancer
How You Can Win Back Clients You’ve Lost
How to Rebuild Relationships With Your Difficult Client