Endless revisions, missed deadlines, and failure to deliver on the client’s expectations are some problems that affect a freelancer’s career.
Almost all these issues could be attributed to a lack of communication and inadequate collaboration between the freelancer and the client. This could be due to time zones, misguided assumptions and incomplete or incomprehensible project briefs.
To ensure seamless collaboration with your client, you and your client need to be clear and strategic about your collaboration process.
The following are tips on how freelancers can successfully collaborate with clients and convert a one-time task into an ongoing project.
Communicate Your Plan Clearly
Clients often complain about being left in the dark, especially when it’s a big project, and when pre-approvals are needed every step of the way. Understanding what, when, and how to communicate with the client and integrating their expectations and ideas can get messy sometimes.
This is where you need a streamlined process to remain on top of the entire project without creating confusion. A concept map maker is a tool that helps you clearly outline the ideas you need to act on, delineate the project scope, and systematically lay out client approvals.
With the help of a concept map maker, you can easily create connections between different project ideas and your client’s expectations. This way, you and your client will be on the same page, and you can convert them into a returning client.
Set Clear Collaboration Goals From The Start
Many clients don’t know what they want or have difficulty articulating their requirements. This is why it’s important to let your clients know how and when they can reach out to you. This not only nips all the collaboration issues in the bud, but it also keeps you organized and helps you deliver projects on time.
At the start, you must maintain complete transparency with your client. Communicate how you will manage the project by offering clarity on the entire scope and asking for feedback. You can also personalize your collaboration process through vocal communication for more genuine conversations to learn about the client’s expectations.
This establishes a foundation of seamless collaboration between you and your client so that you can put your entire focus on delivering a high-quality project.
Pitch Your Ideas Effectively
Before you start the project, understand what your client is expecting from you as the outcome. Even if, as a specialist, you think that your ideas are more important for the project, that’s hardly ever the case.
It’s important to strike a balance and to learn how to express your ideas, while also respecting the client’s expectations.
You can pitch your ideas as potent alternatives and explain them by creating mockups to illustrate your ideas to the client. Unless your client is an expert on this project, they will understand your knowledge and appreciate your guidance.
Use Written Communication For Follow-Ups
Freelancing, especially in the digital age, gives you more options when it comes to the channels you and your clients can use to collaborate. However, for more serious matters such as project scope, client approvals and ideas, you need to leverage the power of written communication if you want your collaboration to run smoothly.
Even though oral communication is quicker, it leaves a large margin for error and miscommuniction. This is why it’s important to confirm the outcome of any communication by sending a debrief via email.
This serves as proof of communication on a particular topic and helps you keep your client updated on the project's status.
Ask All The Right Questions
As compared to the in-house team, freelancers are not in tune with the ins and outs of their client’s business. Thus it is important to get as much information about your client’s business as you can.
If you are not confident with the client brief, it is important to ask questions rather than assume what your client's wants.
Asking all the right questions about the project will show that you are highly invested in the project and desire to foster a positive relationship with the client.
Effective communication, efficiency and transparency are some of the highly coveted skills successful freelancers possess. But there are certain times when the project scope can be confusing, and you cannot understand your client’s requirements.
This is where you need to ensure seamless collaboration to improve your reputation as a freelancer and thus, gain more clients. It also enhances your relationships with your existing customers and keeps them coming back for more.